Though the Heavens Should Fall
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(this review is outdated, things have changed, and im not sure if it was in a good way.)
This turned out to be quite the surprise, when i found out that ClearMadness is writing this new story.
Normally i avoid reading stories of the Xianxia genre, unless they are well written, considering the huge amounts of cliches, badly used tropes, terrible throwaway characters and sheer unrealism in many Xianxia stories. Even this early, this story proves that it is so much more than being a normal Xianxia, and it is being written by ClearMadness, a author proven to be a very capable writer with Iron Teeth. If the author can keep what made Iron Teeth great, and add that to this Xianxia story, it could be a truly great story.
As expected from a author as skilled as ClearMadness, the grammar in this story is near flawless with barely any mistakes to be spotted.
The writing style of this story is like the other story by this author, Iron Teeth. It feels very realistic, the writing is thoroughly descriptive yet not excessively so, the story grips you in and keeps you reading until the latest chapter.
Anyone that has read Iron Teeth: A Goblin's Tale will feel at home with the writing style used for this story.
I will be fair that the story so far has a slow start, but a good one, this story is surely set to kick off soon in pacing, and then the fun part can begin.
The one main flaw of this story, is that there is not enough to read and most likely never will be!
There should be no doubt at all, that this will be one of the best written Xianxia stories on royalroad if not the very best, one that goes on a different path from the usual Xianxia stories and avoids their mistakes, while also being on the quality of a professionally written story. I have seriously high expecations for this story and i know i most certainly wont be disappointed by this story, ClearMadness is just that good as a author.
Review edited on 23 July, original review on 23 June.
I am totally hooked to this, and i recommend others to come read this story, you will be not disappointed by the quality.
For any who's read ClearMadness's previous work, "The Iron Teeth", will know that it's high quality work. Something you would expect to see displayed infront of a bookstore. Luckily for us their work is here for us to read online.
While I wasn't a fan of "The Iron Teeth", that was merely because of how well ClearMadness wrote their characters and my prefences for something more light hearted. I highly recommened reading that whenever you are free though.
Even with only a few chapters out, "Though the Heavens Should Fall" shows the care and effort ClearMadness put's into writing. With great world building and a compelling plot, this new adventure in a world full of Ki is one to look forward to reading.
The story so far amounts to nearly 50 some chapters of introduction as the MC goes through his initial arc to find a way out of ending up as an average foot soldier. Ironically I would've preferred reading that perspective over what we get here, which appears to be the average Xianxia concept except without all of the initial wild ups and downs that typically define the genre. The problem is that nothing of substance has been inserted as a suitable replacement.
As a reader of the genre it's normal to find a character's origin story and initial hurdles condensed into a few chapters at most. Then the miracle happens and he discovers his spirit grandpa or some treasure that solves most of his problems. I'm usually not a fan of this setup but for good or ill this almost always happens but not in this story. Instead of the usual quick change in circumstances, here we get a plodding narrative focused on this character's road toward the same outcome as the aforementioned grandpa/treasure scenario.
He limps along trying one thing after another (using the same method) to discover his ki attunement while receiving some very limp wristed pressure from his peers by Xianxia standards. If he leaves them alone then they'll follow suit but he has to challenge them to duels in order to win spirit stones to continue his ki testing, thus the conflict. It's a fairly mundane problem that only has importance because the MC doesn't want to join the army. This desire to not be average is what consumes and defines him along with his surface politeness and resentment toward the nobility. As such there isn't much meat to him and the longer the first phase of the story drags on the more obvious this becomes.
As a result of this and the lack of an interesting supporting cast the story becomes quite dull as the arc drags on. Truly it would've benefited greatly from some more dynamic perspectives to break up the tedium. Instead we're trapped inside the main character's skull as he faces mostly minor, optional hardships in the pursuit of... the next arc of the story. That's what it felt like to read; it was as if the author wanted to make things more difficult for the MC than the usual quick acquisition of power but he didn't know how to go about making it interesting or compelling.
Hopefully somewhere down the line, 100 chapters from now, the story will have developed some legs but as it stands I can't recommend reading this in serial format.
One of the biggest strength of The Iron Teeth was its main character. Blacknail's unique perspective was funny and interesting to follow. I read 30 chapters at this point and the main character of this story seems very ordinary. His point of view isn't interesting enough (compared to Blacknails). This might change in the future but I hope the author would try to incorporate multiple viewpoints to spice things up a little. I am unsure how to rate this at the moment, I hope I will get pleasantly surprised how this story will turn out.
Clearmadness is an experienced author and reading his take on xianxia genre piqued my interest. However, I'm just going to drop. The writing is on point as expected and the story is coherent and doesn't have any major flaws. Except for this one, it's boring.
It of course starts with the MC. He has no particular interest. He just wants to live an ascetic life and cultivate. That's nice and all but not really interesting. Everything that happened until now is mostly just small nuisances on his path of cultivation. There has been only one powerful event but even then it didn't really feel like it had any impact in the story. We just continued on afterwards.
Powerful event is the death of his best friend
Now you could say it's just how xianxia are but it's just false. None of the grandiose we see typically in those novels is present here. Plus main characters care about stuff and they fight and struggle for them with a large dose of plot armor but still. They are also more entertaining whereas Verus is just boring.
My conclusion is don't bother unless you like xianxia, the author and are not bothered by things going very slow. After all later, it might become a lot more interesting. As of now though, it's stale.
I really enjoyed The Iron Teeth and so I gave this story a shot.
The writing is still very good, it's easy to understand what's going on and imagine the world. No serious problems with grammer or anything.
The problem I have is with the plot. It's just not interesting to me. It's like a well written story about your trip to the grocery store. This can actually be done I am sure, but it takes some serious writing and prose to make it work.
The story had a somewhat interesting introduction, but still really failed to grab my attention. If some more exciting elements were added to the beginning of the story it might allow more readers to push past the more dull backstory. If I was completely unfamiliar with the writers work I would not have been able to even read as far as I did, and I admit I did not read very far as it is. It was putting me to sleep.
The author is definitely good at writing, but I hope for his next work he focuses on a more unique idea for the story, with a bit more action or creative characteristics. We need some emotion or more interesting things to peak our interest in the beginning at least.
This story is well written, the MC iis intelligent and works hard to hone his skills, they don't fall into his lap with minimal effort on his behalt.
The worldbuilding is engaging, there haven't been any info dumps that i've noticed to fill out the world.
So as of chapter 17 its shaping up great, hope it will continue to be so, but judging as the author produced the excellent Iron Teeth series I reckon this story will work out well.
Xianxia can either be fantastic stories built around hard work and overcoming difficult obstacles or trope ridden power fantasies pulled along by smirking protagonists. For anyone familiar with Iron Teeth, it shouldn't be surprising that the author has thus far avoided the pitfalls common to the genre. While the story starts slowly and with the implication of large shadowy forces, the worldbuilding is subtle and comprehensive and further reinforced with competent characters. There are some lucky breaks that set the MC up as unique, but, there isn't anything as of yet that gives him a direct power advantage. Whether their progression stays this way remains to be seen but for the time being, the MC continues to grow through hard work and skill rather than plot-delivered power.
The one warning that I have regards the slow start. It's not painfully slow, but be prepared for a decent chunk of the beginning to be spent in a somewhat stagnant space. Things begin to progress a much quicker pace once he gains his attunement, but there is a noticeable stretch where it seems like he isn't improving and that there isn't anything he can do to improve. Whether intentional or not, seeing other characters advancing while the MC doesn't seem to grow in any way sets up a period where I was just waiting for him to get to the next step. Afterward though, things start moving rapidly and I can't wait for the upcoming chapters.
The main character is well-written (if not as unique as a bloodthirsty hobgoblin) and doesn't harbor an MC complex. His personality is consistent, he's generally polite, even if others are rude, and conveys the sense of a normal sheltered monk attempting to navigate the competitive waters of a prestigious sect. I look forward to seeing him work through the inevitable conflict that his future holds.
Overall, this is a significant departure from the author's previous works, but a worthwhile entry in the Xianxia genre.
As my title says, and I want to emphasise the point, let me begin by saying that the other reviews or comments about this being a "slow" story is fair. Do I think that detracts from the story? No.
Now on to the review.
The story has a somewhat standard start for it's kind but it surprisingly has absolutely no focus on the main characters background, history, life, etc. Nothing. You're given the basic premise (he's an orphan adopted into a small branch sect) and then the story gets rolling.
70 chapters later and he's progressed from orphan 'temple ward' (lowest of the low) to in "inner disciple" aka > like 1000 other cultivators. So, is it slow? Well yes and no. Depends on perspective. Some xianxia pump the MC from 'trash' to godlike-superstar in a matter of chapters, others seem to almost revel in punishing their MC by either making progress irritatingly slow, or constantly getting them trounced by some new super baddy like yet another Bleach Boss. I personally find this incredibily uninspired. This stories MC actually seems to progress in an almost natural way while still having a decent balance of the elements of "talent" and "MC powa's"
I quite enjoyed how he spent a few chapters building a friendship, sparring, and struggling against his own worthlessness as he works to find his "element".
This story is not afraid to progress at it's own pace and that's usually a good and healthy thing. Often the only thing a reader needs to get invested in a character is time.
Is this the highest quality authorship? No, definitely not. Are the characters sparkling with genius and character? Nah not really. Is it an enjoyable read that has good progression and takes a lot of time to set up the MC's personality and personal struggles without being wimpy, whiny or edgy? Yes.
So if you are looking for a Xianxia but something a bit less... repetitive then I'd give this a shot, or go try Forge of Destiny, that's pretty good too, but also equally "slow". If you're looking for a "BEAT THE BADDY WITH MAH UNDESERVED SUPPA POWERS" go look elsewhere.
ClearMadess, the author of The Iron Teeth, has started a new story!
Find his old story here - Iron Teeth:
This novel is CM's take on cultivation (an eastern style gimmick). Luckily his ability to develop novel and fresh ways of looking at stories is still running at 100%.
I'd say that this on a par with Forge of Destiny () in its depth and character development. Which is a bold statement seeing as FoD is a huge favourite here RR.
tl;dr This novel examines the cultivation journey from a different perspective and is a fresh take on an old and washed up trope.
Give it a go, its great :)