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.


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.


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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Word Count (16)
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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A long-time favorite.

I have been a follower of this novel for years. I was lucky enough to run into it when I first started reading web novels, and have periodically checked back and read updated chapters about once a month. This novel excels on a plethora of fronts. The author uses impeccable grammar and structure that makes reading easy and pleasing, and it is rare to find a spelling mistake or word oversight.

Pacing as well is accomplished phenomenally, with both character personality and power growth occuring at an onverall consistent rate with small breakthroughs at well-placed and natural intervals that are just enough to keep them moving forward without overreaching.

When I have the time I will come back and do a more in-depth review, because this story is one that deserves to have it's virtues extolled at length, but for now I will just say this: Mother of Learning is a fantastic story that consistently ranks itself among my favorite three web novels, often holding first place. It has been the story that I have returned to most often over the years, and I have never once been disappointed with it. If you want a good read, you'll find it here.



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First off, go read this story if you haven't. It's really, really good. Now for the review.

Mother of Learning is a story revolving around a bitter and resentful teen named Zorian Kavinski. Through insane circumstances, he ends up in a time loop, repeating the same month over and over again. Throughout each rendition, he retains his memories, builds his skills, and becomes a force to reckon with. There's many foes he has to overcome however, most of them far more powerful then him. Zorian must scrap together every bit of his resourcefullness if he is to win, otherwise his entire world will collapse around him.

So I'll be rating the review on three of my own catagories. Characters, Plot, and World-building. These elements, when used well, integrate into a seamless story that takes you away. Mother of Learning does this in spades.

Characters: This is one of the novels greatest strengths. The characters are varied, different, and have a variety of motivations behind their actions. There are genuine conflicts that arise as well, and watching the sheer depth of their mental battles is something to behold. None of the characters are cliches either. They have a genuine presence that's hard to ignore, and they each act independently of the others.

I couldn't praise the main character Zorian enough, in fact. He is mediocre in many respects. The few talents he does have are far exceeded by his older brother Damien. Despite not being gifted with a spring of talent, Zorian was gifted with ingenuity and genuine intelligence. He uses tricks, clever plots, and plans that caught me off guard on numerous occasions with how well thought out they are. He has flaws, such as his immaturity and resentment of those who are better of him. At the time, this only enhances his likeability and relatableness.

Other characters share that trait. They all have flaws, and each of them makes simple mistakes. It's not done in a plot-hole kind of way either. 

Now that isn't to say my praise is endless. Quite a few times while reading, the 'voices' of the character's dialogue bleed together. This is because the author enjoys unloading tremendous amounts of relevant information about his world to the reader. At the same time, it doesn't make sense that nearly every character that describes something to Zorian does so in a complete, holistic pattern that covers everything interesting about a topic.

This isn't a crippling problem, and it adds to many aspects of the novel. At the same time, I felt it was worth noting.

Plot: The plot of the novel is airtight. It's so devoid of plot-holes that it's incredible to behold, especially for a story as fantastical and long as this. It's so hard to do that, especially as the concepts and stakes of the novel rise up higher and higher. The author accomplishes this through the use of his detailed world-building and historical integration. Allow me to explain.

The detailed world-building is so thorough and encompassing, that you're left with very few questions. Every curiosity about various in word mechanics are satisfied to the utmost, giving a near flawless understanding of the world at hand. This adds amazing depth to the plot and characters since it gives so much context to their actions and motivations. Indeed, this is one of the biggest reasons the characters are so well developed. 

This is where historical integration comes in. By weaving the history of the world into the bckground of the characters, we get added depth to them. For example, there was an event known as the weeping. It was a plague that swept across the nation several years ago, and the author ties several characters backstories to this event. That's great use of his narrative tools.

These elements create iron-clad motivations for all the characters and events of the story. This foundation is what everything is propped up on, and it's more solid than stone.

World-Building: By and large, this is the biggest draw of this novel. I've never read a novel so utterly fullproof from a world standpoint. Hell, at times I felt I understand this fantasy world better than the real world with how excellent the descriptions are. The author obviously understands many subjects in real life, and he uses those to flesh out many of the more airy concepts in this novel.

What feels hollow in most novels becomes something reliable and understandable here. For example, there's soul magic done in this novel. Soul magic is notorious for injecting total bullshit into a story and offering dues ex machinas in plots. Not in this story. It's a reliable mechanic I felt the entire story could have revolved around. That applies to at least a dozen other fields of magic.

The history of the world, as mentioned earlier, is also bulletproof. The author must have plotted out at least a thousand+ years of history in order to scope out the events of this novel. Every piece of it is relevant to the plot, and that is so damn hard to do in any novel, let alone one with so much backstory to draw from.

Overall: This story's amazing. It's breathtakingly professional, and it's just something you should support on Patreon. I know I do.

Qualms: As you may imagine, I have few problems with this story, but there exists a few elements that I felt could be done better. For starters, the action scenes in this story are told like a recap of the actual fight. This is a real shame, because the fights themselves are vibrant displays of the author's creativity. It just lacks a real punch in a lot of scenarios because it feels distant due to how the events are 'told' rather than 'shown.'

Another slight I have with the story involves the 'voice' of the characters at times. I touched on this point earlier, but sometimes characters offer up explanations that don't flow well in a conversation. They'll over elaborate to an extreme at times, and this can be somewhat jarring. It's also worth noting that while the characters themselves are exceptionally well made, some of the characters just fell short of my expectations.

Spoiler: Spoiler

There yah have it. From one author to another, I must say this is damn fine work that you should be proud of. Publish this please, and go become a professional author. With talent like this, it would be a crying shame if you didn't finish some of the other novels you might have an idea for.

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Not gonna talk too much about it, but for anyone who hasn't heard about MoL or read it, just know that it's a classic among web novels. I'd highly recommend it if you love some time travel fantasy magical shenanigans 

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Mother of Learning is easily one of the best novels I have read, ever.


The main character makes sense, is rational and smart, the world is thought out and realistic, the plot is amazing and interesting. There is always something interesting happening and going on, and I always want to see what happens next


read this novel.

  • Overall Score

one of my favorites

if you hadn't discovered this story yet, it is your loss.

follow the journey of discovery of young mage Zorian. there's very little romance, unless you are into ancient liches.

don't waste your time reading reviews, just go ahead and dig into the fabulous story.

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It's good but gets boring

Right, I read through a lot of this story elsewhere before I dropped it, and sure enough it was good, for about the first 80 chapters (if memory serves... it might not, it was a chapter or 2 his first serious attempt to close the time loop) I just recall I had read something like 70% of published chapters, by that point the cause of the time loop was figured out, as well as how it is supposed to be stopped, and a couple of other things surrounding it which I won't spoil.

The problem is that by that time the loop itself, as far as storytelling goes, has lost it's purpose, and yet after skipping to the end of all written content just to check if he got out (at the time...) he was still stuck in the loop, very, very far beyond the point where it seemed to have lost meaning. Now I may possibly have jumped the gun a little bit on this... Considering that I was already getting bored as he was trying to figure out how to close the loop by this point.

But the climax point of stories such as this is quite usually the point where the loop ends, and I didn't want to read through over a thousand pages worth of content just waiting for him to get the fuck out of there. There was a very limited number of things he could learn more about within the alotted timeframe too.

It was very clearly a ripe time to get out of the loop a few chapters from the point where I stopped, but this did not happen, I don't know why this did not happen but I suspect that the writer got complacent, and wanted to squeeze every second he could out of the loop before moving on to a point where the stakes in the story would be real.

To it's credit though, the story is well written (exceptionally so for a webnovel) and of high quality, high quality enough even to deserve this #1 spot it's currently holding (sure is a hell of a lot better than 2,3,4 and 5 in my opinion, to such an extent that the others can't even compete)

The story was good enough that even if it's been at least half a year (maybe more) since i read it, I still remember it's most important points, I am confident that I could pick it up where I left it off and keep reading, so the story is quite memorable, especially considering that a lot of the stories I read around here I forget about within a week.

This story is good, maybe even great. But it's not without flaws, and one of these flaws is that certain things get drawn out way beyond their expiration date, but this problem won't become serious until much later in the story.

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Good novel but has its own issues

This story can basically be summed up as extremely well written, but ridden with plotholes. For instance there are times when he talks about remaining hidden and not exposing his relation with the spiders, but then blabs about them to other people who the rats can easily pluck information from. Furthermore, he seems a bit unwilling to use his time loop to its max ability for example ritual sacrifice to learn soul magic. After all after the reset the people will be back, but his magic won't disappear.

Overall, while it's one of the best written novrls out there the plotholes are rather infuriating

JcW Swe
  • Overall Score

This is my first review on this site, and its a fun post to do for me, as this is actually the first ever webnovel i read.

I have read alot of novels over the years and the last year or two I have started using goodreads to find more. Somehow I ended up in Andrew rowe's author page and in a reply he did to a question suggested to read mother of learning and linking it. I absolutely loved it! The story felt fresh, had the whole young person learns magic in a school setting vibe that I especially like, and characters and story are spot on. The author does an amazing job so far, and I always look forward to the next chapter. 

I have since I started reading this novel, read ALOT of webnovels. So I just had to write this and say thank you for opening my eyes to webnovels and making me find this site and others like it! And now this webnovel got here too. :) 

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One of the greatest fantasy web fictions of all time finally completed

Reviewed at: Afterword

This story is by far the best implemantation of "time loop" mechanisms in any story and probably one of the few to actually explore this mechanism without ever becoming stale. Instead it manages to keep things new and unique such that every repetition brings about new information new character and or world interactions and unexpected surprises. Moreover it is a fully rational fiction where characters act intelegently based on what they know. As a whole the story is a wild ride all the way to the end demonstrating exceptional quality worldbuilding due to its origins as a project intended to help flesh out the world.

Really what is not to love about this story for fans of fantasy?

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And in the end, it was all worth it

Reviewed at: Afterword

Today a legend was completed. An epic tale spanning almost a decade. Imperfect? Yes, but goddamn if it wasn't an interesting, engaging and fun story, and the internet is a bit more rich for it. So yeah, thank you, take a rest and I hope to see your future works.

To those who are reading this? My sincere recommendation is that you give it a try. Have a nice day