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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Honudes Gai
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Lets talk about what I didnt like.

Since every reveiw talks about all the best things, I thought I would just mention the problems I had with it.

 

The author has a lot of problems seprating Zorian/Author knowledge from the other characters, it would seem characters suddenly know what they previously did not, just because the author doesnt want to spend time rehashing the scence again. Kind of a problem with a Ground hog story.

 

similar to the above, characters will almost complelty abandon their devloped personiailties to talk and act the same way Zorian does....it will honesly seem like Zorian is just confirming things he already knows with himself, the problem being he is talking to one of the other major characters. Sometimes they arent even aware of the time loop when they are doing their best(unitended) Zorian impression.

 

Both of these problems seem to me like a author trying to rush parts out. Chapters 88-91 just confirm that, feeling like an author who has gotten tired of  his own story.

 

I still compeltly recommend reading it, because you will find few stories as good as this in the online novel genre.

DrJones
Overall

Good story, but lack of tension.

Reviewed at: 81. A Civil Conversation

The story started great, pulled me right in and kept me there. And then... went on... and on... and lost me.

In most stories (95%+) you can tell that the MC survives until the end of the story and, often, also survives said end, simply because it is a story. Yet there is still plenty of tension. Somehow, poooooosssibly related to the very central mechanic, this story has even less tension after the initial chapters.

It just... petters out.

Usually my reading style is: Start - ignore rest of the universe - finish.

It worked for Harry Potter, LoTR, GoT, Malazan, and if you ever needed an example of straining patience with long-winded fluff: Wheel of Time. Among others. All of them and plenty of 'lesser' works (some of them on this site, some of them all over the place: Chinese LN's? Sure, read plenty).

This story though?

Don't get me wrong the start (and what I would have considered the middle, but now looking at the length of the story so far was still the early third) was amazing, but then... less so. Where is the tension? Where is the emotional impact? There are nudges of both, but...

Which in essence describes the story pretty well: "Good, but - dot - dot - dot"

By the time there are the 'great twists' I already stopped caring for most characters. As said before, usually I start a story and if I like it I just steamroll it to the end. There are stories that just turn me off pretty quick, but this one might be one of the very few where I read it a lot at first, then stopped, tried again later, stopped again, tried again a few more times, but simply did not manage to get myself to finish it. Not because it is 'bad', simply because it could not hold my interest anymore.

It turned stale so to speak.

That said, it still is a really good story, simply not quite my cup of tea. Usually not enough of a reason to write a review, and I don't mean to badmouth the story and it also makes me feel a bit bad...

BUT

Does it deserve status on the first page? Probably.

Does it deserve the top spot? Oooooooooh, no, sireee, most definitely not.

 

Why did I bother to write this possibly incoherent review?

A shit-ton of fans are further distorting an already twisted 'Best Rated'.

So in essence, I am writing this out of a heavy dose of pettiness.

 

Early on I would rate this story 8 out 10, while ever so slowly pettering out to a 5 out of 10 (until I stopped reading around Chapter 70 or 80) - or to use RoyalRoads standards: 5 stars to 4 stars.

 

Tl;dr: It is a beautiful story full of wonder and possibilities, that somehow manages to become less.

Lajamerr
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This is an amazingly well-written story.

I've been following this story for a long-time now. After catching up initially, I anxiously waited every month for the next chapter release.

Zorian is a mage who due to (un)fortunate events ends up in a timeloop. At the end of the month during the summer festival he wakes up finding himself in bed a month prior. No matter what he does it seems he can't escape this situation.

The readers will be just as curious as to why this happening, going on a journey discovering clues and hints with Zorian to the secrets of this heaven-defying event. Is it possible to break out of this timeloop? Would you even want to?

Nicholas Obviouslyfakelastnamebecauseprivacy
Overall

A fantastic story with some great twists, an incredible plot, diverse characters, and a nearly flawless execution. It doesn't get repetitive (which is hard for a time loop story) and the characters show some suprising growth. This is by far the best book on here, this should probably be the first thing you read when you join this site.

Leveticus
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Holy mother of...

Reviewed at: Afterword

I read a lot of fiction to pass the time.  This is the best damn book I've read in years.  Better by far compared to many of the commercial books I've read through Kindle Unlimited.  Epic in scope but entertaining and engaging enough that I had to force myself to take breaks.  I can't believe this up for free consumption.  

The author really needs to get his butt in gear, do some light editing, and publish his magnum opus!  I actually want to join a Patreon or Kickstarter to help the author out, because this book deserves a broader audience.  It is better than any of the self published works I've read on Amazon, and I would even put it on the level of several well known authors in the fantasy genre.  What really puts it at the top is that it is finished.  I love the The Kingkiller Chronicle series, but have no faith it will ever be finished.

I Just hope the author picks a better cover and ditches the current art.  It doesn't fit the story, giving the impression the book is a kiddie manga or anime.  My recommendation is for something more abstract, like a spell formula diagram, to better reflect the main character and complexity of the story. 

Jan Alexander
Overall

Highly recommended (Sequel please!)

Reviewed at: Afterword

This novel is fun to read. Its like Groundhog Day but with a month instead of a day. The long chapters is a treat. Hope this novel gets a sequel.

Organic Chicken
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

You've seen the other reviews, I've got nothing new to add. Just take a look at the first 3 chapters and if you don't like it, then the story's not for you. For the rest of you people, or as I like to call it, for those of you that don't have mental disabilities, enjoy the ride! 

Red Yeti
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Great time loop story

Reviewed at: Afterword

Interesting premise, well thought out magic system, and great writing. The title doesn't do the story justice in my mind but definitely worth reading. 

The author avoids being too repetitive despite the story being about a time loop. Time skips are common to explain the rapid advancement in skills during parts of the story. The protagonist goes from slightly above average in the beginning (and even below average in some aspects) to someone who can be considered a continental powerhouse by the end. 

My only major complaint is that I want more! (Sequel anyone?)

PresidentDevil
Overall

If that doesn't sound cool enough, I don't know how else to convince you to read this literary masterpiece.

Sharkbait
Overall

Zorian Kazinski

Reviewed at: Afterword

 

I am Zorian Kazinski. I have traversed far and wide. Through treacherous jungle and scorching desert. I have battled monsters you have only read of in books. From flying abominations to underground dwellers to undead creatures that would terrorize your nightmares. I spent years honing my spellcraft relentlessly. I spent incalculable time in a dimensional box that would have driven any sane person mad. I have thwarted my enemies through cunning and patience. Even sacrifices when I must. I consider myself to be well-learned and persistent. I have accomplished what few has, but have failed so much more. 

I am Zorian Kazinski, the third son of a minor merchant family from Cirin, accidental time traveler, and quite possibly the most powerful human mind mage in all of Altazia…

…and this is my story.