Mother of Learning

by nobody103

Original COMPLETED Adventure Fantasy Mystery Magic

Zorian is a teenage mage of humble birth and slightly above-average skill, attending his third year of education at Cyoria's magical academy. He is a driven and irritable young man, consumed by a desire to ensure his own future and free himself of the influence of his family, whom he resents for favoring his brothers over him. Consequently, he has no time for pointless distractions or paying attention to other people's problems. As it happens, time is something he is about to get plenty of. On the eve of the Cyoria's annual summer festival, he is killed and brought back to the beginning of the month, just before he was about to take a train to Cyoria. Suddenly trapped in a time loop with no clear end or exit, Zorian will have to look both within and without to unravel the mystery before him. And he does have to unravel it, for the time loop hadn't been made for his sake and dangers lurk everywhere... Repetition is the mother of learning, but Zorian will have to first make sure he survives to try again - in a world of magic, even a time traveler isn't safe from those who wish him ill.

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If anyone is interested, I have a story-related worldbuilding site that can be found here. I don't update it as often as I should, but there is a fair amount of content there already. It also contains a page with all the fanart, fan translations, audio books and the like - you can reach it directly by clicking this link.

I have a patreon account for those kind people that want to give me money. It also contains info for those who want to donate via paypal.

The story was originally posted on fictionpress, back in 2011. When I reached chapter 91, I started uploading the story to RoyalRoad, one chapter per day. The story will continue to be updated on fictionpress as well as here, and can be reached by clicking on this link if somebody is interested, though at this point there is nothing there that isn't also on RoyalRoad.

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The cover you see on the side has been made by a fellow RoyalRoad user Sydorow. Thank you for your time and art skills.

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nobody103

nobody103

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
1. Good Morning Brother ago
2. Life’s Little Problems ago
3. The Bitter Truth ago
4. Stars Fell ago
5. Start Over ago
6. Concentrate and Try Again ago
7. Of Gaps And Pretending ago
8. Perspective ago
9. Cheaters ago
10. Overlooked Details ago
11. Limiters ago
12. Soul Web ago
13. Any Second Now ago
14. The Sister Effect ago
15. Busy Friday ago
16. We Need To Talk ago
17. Sympathy for the Spider ago
18. The Pact is Sealed ago
19. Tangled Webs ago
20. A Matter of Faith ago
21. Wheel of Fortune ago
22. Complications ago
23. Lighting the Fuse ago
24. Smoke and Mirrors ago
25. The Unexpected ago
26. Soulkill ago
27. Cast Adrift ago
28. Cauldron ago
29. The Hunters and the Hunted ago
30. A Game of Shops ago
31. Marked ago
32. Alternatives ago
33. Gateways ago
34. Unreasonable Things ago
35. Mistakes Have Been Made ago
36. A Battle of Minds ago
37. Slow Burn ago
38. Return to Cyoria ago
39. Suspicious Coincidences ago
40. Shifting Tracks ago
41. Myriad Clashing Motives ago
42. Sum of its Parts ago
43. Overwhelmed ago
44. A Show of Trust ago
45. Fine Structures ago
46. The Other Side ago
47. Politics ago
48. Well of Souls ago
49. Substitution ago
50. Containment ago
51. Out of Control ago
52. Things Fall Apart ago
53. Phantoms ago
54. The Gate Is Barred ago
55. Threshold ago
56. Obscure ago
57. Unwanted ago
58. Questions and Answers ago
59. One Step Forward ago
60. Into the Abyss ago
61. Anthills ago
62. Improperly Used ago
63. The March of Days ago
64. Distance ago
65. Dangerous Ground ago
66. Marred Perfection ago
67. Convergence ago
68. Green Hell ago
69. Ruin ago
70. Carried Away ago
71. Shadows of the Past ago
72. Crossroads ago
73. Plodding Ahead ago
74. The Return ago
75. Soul Stealer ago
76. Critical Blunder ago
77. Testing ago
78. Grinding Stone ago
79. Crime and Evading Punishment ago
80. Enemies ago
81. A Civil Conversation ago
82. Ancient Circles ago
83. Scorpion ago
84. Powerless ago
85. Critical Mass ago
86. A New World ago
87. Agents of the Crown ago
88. Mysterious Ways ago
89. Victory ago
90. Change of Plans ago
91. A Path Paid in Blood ago
92. The Scramble ago
93. Shelter in the Storm ago
94. Ghosts ago
95. Betrayer ago
96. Contract ago
97. Illusory ago
98. Beneath the Surface ago
99. Powderkeg ago
100. Sacrifice ago
101. The Switch ago
102. Giants ago
103. Window of Opportunity ago
104. I Win (I) ago
105. I Win (II) ago
106. I Win (III) ago
Epilogue ago
Afterword ago

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Wisteria-Wyvern
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

To be fair, this is both my first book read and review here on Royal Road, but I'd like to give some input anyway.

Mother of Learning was a really good read. It was totally worth binging in two days, anyway.

The character development and interactions, foreshadowing, mystery, plot twists -- all of them were done really well.

Characters: I mentioned that there's character development. Yes. Don't worry if you're a little annoyed by the MC's attitude in early chapters, it's not permanent. I also especially like the character interactions and that the book goes into depth about how the time loop affects MC's relationships.

Story: Mystery surrounds a lot of the story's premise, the time loop, as well as the antagonist, etc. It's unveiled in plot twists that I didn't see coming too well, great foreshadowing, and seems plausible. That's hard to pull off. The pace also was pretty good, although I'm probably not the best judge of that.

Style: Hmm, probably the only part I could nitpick about this book in general other than "I wish it was longer so I could read more", would be the timeskips, which were somewhat abrupt in some places. But not too disorienting overall, thus the 4.5 star style.

Grammar: Uh, in the course of the entire book, I picked up less than five typos, so that's very well done. Punctuation use and grammar was correct as far as I could tell.

this_sucks
Overall

Groundhog day time loops mixed with magic is such a great idea, and this story pulled it off so well. All the characters feel real and fleshed out. The power curve was done in a tactfull way. Only complaint is that the intro was a bit slow and dry but is such a minor thing in this amazing saga.

Carl Antuar
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A well planned mystery in a richly detailed world

Reviewed at: Afterword

Mother of Learning comes with an intricate plot that just kept surprising me, even though I was avidly following it for years as each chapter was published. Zorian (and Zach) really has to earn his happy ending, through a lot of work. I loved how the mystery was unravelled one tiny piece at a time, like chipping away at a rock face, not just one big reveal. (In fact, usually the big reveals are revealing something unpleasant.)

The author is a fluent, but not native, English speaker, and that shows up in the wording from time to time, but it doesn't create a big problem. Originally there were a fair number of spelling and grammar errors, but he's responsive to reader feedback, so a lot of them have been cleaned up.

The characters weren't always the highlight of the story, but they were a solid support to it. Kirielle is adorably annoying, and Enthusiastic Seeker of Novelty managed to steal the show even though she actually had very little screen time. Kudos on having villains with more depth than just being cacklingly evil, too.

What really sells it for me, though, is the world building. The magic system is well thought out, the world history is reasonable while preserving many unanswered questions, the politics are tangled. It's a really rich setting, and the story showcases a good amount of it without exhausting it.

ThousandOdysseys
Overall

"Morning brother! Morning, morning, morning!!"

I actually read this a while ago, but came back today wishfully thinking that maybe the author might have started a new story. Noticed I hadn't left a review, and berated myself for having forgotten. 

Mother of Learning is undoubtedly my favourite story here on RR. 
I don't mean "one of my favourites", I mean THE favourite. 

It is beautifully well written. All I'll say is, give it untill after the dance. It is slow to get started, taking a number chapters. But once you get to the end of that ball, you'll be off, and you'll never put it down. 

That said, I know it May be tempting to skip the beginning, but DON'T. That beginning it's actually very important, and it lays a lot of ground work that will immediately be very important, and even has a few things in it that become important much later on. 

So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy. 

rObin_:)
Overall

4.5 stars -- I am not a creative reviewer

Reviewed at: 3. The Bitter Truth

One of the first webnovel/webfiction I read, and have since read it twice.

The time travel element is a nice way of ensuring that the character growth does not feel unrealistic.

The naming of the story is very apt, seeing as the MC is a very studious learner.

Very little romance may be a + or - depending on what you like.

The spiders are fantastic x)

With the young age of some characters, their immaturity was at times somewhat grating but nothing that bothered me too much.

I don't really have a problem with this, but I can understand how some might feel that the story feel a bit "on rails" without being too dynamic due to the fact that you know that none of the actions in the story have lasting consequences (with the monthly reset). The majority of the story is focused on the MC learning more about the situation and furthering his magical abilities, less about big dynamic changes that significantly alter the course of the story or the characters. I think that is a given with a monthy reset, however.

PlotEmperor
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Well-crafted Masterpiece

Reviewed at: Afterword

This book will forever have a special place in my heart. 

 

This book has all that I like in a good book:

Interesting characters? Check.

Plot twists? Check.

Villains that are more than just Villains? Check

Amazing world building? Check

Cliches? Nope, not here

There is nothing negative that comes to mine mind, there is a reason this book has a cult.

As for the world building, it is impressive, it is well made, well thought, Mr. Domagoj put a lot of effort in it, and I can say that it is the biggest and strongest part of this book. Everything here makes sense, exist for purpose, there are no useless parts.

Story is inspiring, well defined and while premise is simple, it is used in very original manner. Time loop stories are very difficult to write, there is a reason that there are not that many stories that use it for that it can easily be repetitive, be subjected to common cliches  yet, the writer clearly knew what he was doing, he made a masterpiece and I can’t wait for his next work.

I like style, it is easy to read, not overly complicated yet interesting and not boring. There is not much I can write about it thought, a bit more “show” instead of “tell” could be better but that is about it.

Grammar is nearly flawless, have not seen anything worth mentioning.

Characters are interesting, have a motive and are not there just as a reason for protagonist to become stronger, they have their own goals and are unusually well written. There aren’t many forgotten characters, but there is one character that just disappears after being defeated in one loop and is not mentioned since, the vampire girl that I can’t recall a name, she just kind of disappeared which is the biggest if not the only error in the whole book, perhaps there is a reason for here to disappear, I can think of one but that would be a spoiler so I will omit it for now.

The only thing is I would like to see more of about what happens after the event of the main book. What does characters do after the story ends? What happens to them? How does what they lived through affected their life? Some slice of life after story would be nice. 

I can say with certainty that this book made my life better.

Havoc1021
Overall

Read Immediately, and Reread Often

Reviewed at: Afterword

I really don't have much to say about this story that hasn't already been said. It's one of the best time loops out there for one, and probably my favorite story on the site overall. I've reread it several times, and I only wish I could forget it to read it for the first time again. 

The magic system is basic enough to understand, but nuanced enough that all of the improvements the characters make are interesting. One thing I loved is that not all of them use it the same way, and often these reflect each person's preferences, strengths and weaknesses. 

The action moves along at a decent clip, and every chapter has a point to it. There's very little 'dead air' and even what appears to be filler serves to help flesh out characters or the world more, usually expanding things in interesting ways.

The only negative I can even really consider, and this is really a personal preference, is that the first few chapters can feel on the slow side. This isn't a problem for me, really, but I think some people might find them a little boring. But I wholeheartedly recommend pushing past that, and reading the rest of the story. 

Apsurdista
Overall

The only thing that i dont like is that there arent many psychological elements in this story but it doesnt really matter you will enjoy it anyway i guarantee you.The story,the characters,the mystery its all really good only a few minor typos towards the end though.But what the author did best beside the story is the prosgression the MC goes from weakling to somebody who can handle himself and we know what he did in order to get stronger there wasnt a lame excuse for him to get strong but rather he gradually learns more and more about things that make him stronger.

Flop
Overall

Probably my favorite piece of fiction I've ever read <3

If you are considering reading this, try and make it at least through chapter 5 before passing judgement. My whole attitude towards this story changed then, and I just couldn't peel myself away. I know the story is long but that's the best part, making the events and progress feel earned.

Meridian Knight
Overall

That's basicaly my only complaint with this one. The author has written the web novel equivalent of a tight ten - the story gets going fast and holds you by the throat even when the pacing slows down to explore the world (which is beautifully built). My greatest point of praise is that the author gracefully handles the ending, as well as the leadup to it. That's extraordinarily rare in this medium - almost every other web serial I would be willing to recommend has a stumble when the author transitions to the endgame. No such flaws are present here. Give it a read, look up in two days, wonder what happened and join me in mourning that the ride is already over.