Infinite Realm: Monsters & Legends
by Ivan Kal
- Traumatising content
The world has ended, and those worthy of it have received the chance for a new life in a new reality.
Zach grew in power and thrived in the post-Framework world. He became a respected leader, a shining example of what it meant to be good. But as the world ended, he had only one thought: to punish the monster that had killed the world long before the Framework ended it. Yet not even with his incredible power was he able to stand against the World Ender. His arrival in the new realty, the Infinite Realm, gives him the chance to grow stronger, to find the monster again—and make it pay.
Ryun survived the chaos after the arrival of the Framework by pushing harder than anyone else. He grew in power until he became the most powerful being that had ever walked the planet; but he is hated by the world, called a monster by all others, the World Ender. As the world ends and he steps into a new one, where people stronger than him have lived for centuries, he finds himself lost and without purpose. The only thing that had mattered to him had been lost to him long ago. He truly was the monster that people considered him to be, and he now finds himself wondering if this new reality has a place for someone like him—but he had never been one for lying down and dying without a fight. One world fell to his power, and another might follow.
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A polished and edited version of volume 1 is avaliable on Amazon.
Infinite Realm is a story that will follow two main characters. The story will be told in two different time periods: past and present. Past chapters take place in the past on Earth, and follows the two as they struggle to survive and grow their powers in the world changed by the Framework.
This story is a mix of LitRPG and Xianxia, and it will have Classes as well as Cultivation systems. There are two main characters, and another two that are introduced later.
The MC focus will change from volume to volume, with the first being focused on Ryun, and the second on Zach (we are currently in Volume 3). Other MC will still have chapters dedicated to them, but the focus will be on the main volume MC.
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The main character Ryun has been mostly a pleasure to follow. The story has solid world building and an interesting system of skill development that has been clearly well planned out. We come across interesting insights into the skill systems as the plot develops - this area feels very satisfying.
There are glimpses of political plots, and they generally help the solidity of the worldbuilding.
There are perhaps a bit too many point of view changes to irrelevant characters. They were still interesting chapters, but they distracted the story somewhat when you are reading in blocks rather than individually - and huge character sheets for these very minor characters seems over the top (although people reading single chapters may have a different experience - I was going through 200 chapters at once).
There are logic issues that got on my nerves. One might be explained later, but I have suspicions that it won't be satisfactory. A couple of examples of logic problems:
1. The only two people left in the world as Earth shuts down. We have Ryun going mad killing people on an erratic basis, but his movement speed is limited. He also shuts down every monster spawner in the world somehow, which we are told results in much fewer weaker monsters left. I don't see how this can result in every single person being wiped out. The world is a big place and there would be plenty of small enclaves of powerful people left.
Also - the last thousand people on Earth all decide to sacrifice their lives to potentially get back at a mentally unstable killer. Really? You have a town with the last 1000 people and they all shout 'Kill me!'? It seems to unrealistic that a decent chunk of them didn't prefer to live through to the new world.
2. Character behaviour. Zach is in a dungeon and faced with an acid pit. He decides to immediately try jumping across. Just before he jumps his friend suggests to give him a boost and he scrapes by. This means that if he wasn't stopped by the friend he would have fallen far short and died. There was no time limit - so why was he was jumping to his death without doing a practice jump to see if he would make it or not?
For most of the book, up until the Under, I really disliked all the Zach chapters. The author is clearly trying to push him along to get him up to speed with the other main character, but it felt so forced and artificial. There was no depth to the character and no depth to the plot. When I talked to my son about this book his immediate comment was that he hated the Zach character - and he said that from the comments it was clear everyone disliked him. From the Under (chapter 170 or so) there finally feels a slightly better excuse for his rapid advancement, and I'm starting to dislike the Zach chapters a bit less.
Finally - I would like to suggest some things to the author regarding Kindle version.
Firstly, I didn't realise there was a Kindle version available until I got far into the book - Chapter 180 or so. I was reading Kindle version via transfer system, and of course I would have preferred to use the official version. I suggest the author mentions their Kindle version at the end of the main book description, and perhaps again in the author's notes of the first chapter - you need to inform the new readers not just the existing fans.
Secondly, large Kindle books in the LitRPG/cultivation genre are surely better off being on Kindle Unlimited. The income an author gets from KU is by number of pages read, so the first book of 1000 pages should make a decent income from KU pagereads. Also a large chunk of LitRPG readers are on KU and with such a huge good quality selection available they tend to stick to KU options. I have seen a large number of LitRPG authors switch from paid-only to KU and from the behaviour of which ones stay and which ones switch back to paid, it seems to be financially the best for them to be on KU.
~= Review as of Chapter 40 =~
TL;DR: Great world, systems and story; artfully juxtaposed character development. Perfect english and smooth reading.
The Story is really quite engaging, the combination of class levels and cultivation progression systems and their interplay is handled very well and offers a unique experience. Great world building on both macro and micro scales. Despite there being two main characters, this feels very much like its going to be primarily a story of redemption and healing for Ryun. After all, the truest and most complete way to defeat evil is to turn it to good.
The author's Style is interesting, beginning in medias res at the end of the world (which is quite an amusing phrase to say!) Initially I feared that the "Past" chapters would be focused upon too much, but they become less frequent and showing essentially just the highlight reel as the characters, both their past and present, are established and fleshed out. I came to appreciate this approach and my initial concerns proved to be unfounded. It is there to show how Ryun became the world-ender, butcher of humanity.
The pace feels a little slow. Not a great deal seems to have happened by the 40th chapter - it feels like having read the first third of three books. This is a result of splicing two acts of the same overall story together, with three sepatate plot threads between them. While I enjoy how it has turned out, it has slowed the pace of the story quite a bit in comparison to total words consumed.
The language and Grammar are impeccable. Sentence structure and flow are clean and clear. A+ and a gold sticker for you!
I am enjoying the differences in Character development between Zach and Ryun. Whereas in act 1, the coming of the Framework allowed Ryun to be who he really always was, Zach was forced to grow in ways he hadn't previously considered nor wanted, as he adjusts to his new reality. Act 2, conversely shows Zach as having grown into his responsibility and if not who he wanted to be, then who he needed to be. And Ryun, with Earth behind him, is offered a fresh start without (much) external baggage to drag him back. Ryun can finally begin to heal from whatever deep pain broke him so thoroughly (despite what that one Title says). He's not so much forced but released to learn how to be good again.
The juxtaposition of these character growths at each end of the story being told simultaneously is what really sold this style to me.
I find the story interesting, the writing is good as well.
The bad: the constant switching of perspectives and time lines is annoying and makes the story worse.
Both the past and present times could be intersting, but not mixed.
The constant switching around only makes me favor one character over the other, so I am forced away from that perspective it annoys me considerably.
I like soup and I like steak, but I don't want a spoon of soup and a bite of steak one after another, it's weird.
At start i didnt like it, use [x spell] to do [x thing] with [x buff], but once u get thro those chapters it gets rolling.
Grammar gets better, character interactions more meaningful, system and powers - cultivation is interesting.
I personally prefer Ryun over Zach, and found it best to let chapters accumulate, and bing read thro, fast updates make it a good option.
I will focus on what I feel other reviews do not tell you, or at least not well.
The strong points of this story are its world and litRPG aspects. If you do not find that attractive, then I suggest you look for something else because the rest isn't remarkable.
I'll start with the bad, then move to the good.
And a heads up: I usually find amateurish writing harder to stomach than most on the site. I dig into whatever issues I have with a story, and I tend to rant. So, take my words with a grain of salt and an open mind.
People seem to praise the grammar; I don't know why. This is written quite badly. I don't mean to pick on the author, but I fail to understand how he doesn't write better with all the books under his belt. The story is in a large need of an editor. Both for simple grammar mistakes and for the writing in general. The combat scenes don't flow well at all, descriptions aren't inspiring in most cases. I found myself agonizing over many chapters because of the way the author presented things, their vocabulary isn't impressive. It shows. You will find yourself reading the same word over and over again many times. Pronouns are present in massive overabundance when they could easily be trimmed down. Commas, "and", "but" and "then" are used in places where they aren't needed with, again, overabundance. Some chapters are seriously grating to read, especially because of the ease with which most issues could be fixed. If you look through the first seventy or so chapters, you will find my comments there at the bottom trying to help, but there is not much I can do to rewrite whole sections. I could go on about the many gripes I have with the author's writing, but I think you get the idea.
The characters and plot didn't impress me either. We follow four (really two) protagonists through the usual journey of power-gaining and fantastical battles. Not much adventuring sadly. It's really as simple as that because the only hints we've had for anything greater point towards more of the same. That isn't bad exactly, personally I like reading about people just doing whatever they want. The problem is that what we're presented with isn't written very well (refer to my previous rant) and so what we do get is held up by very thin threads. I'll get to those later. Back to the characters; our main focus is on Ryun and Zach. Ryun is your usual murder-hobo with his "own set of rules", He's okay as far as edgy anti-heroes go. I have a bias toward those, but I think he's interesting enough as a protagonist. He doesn't have a deep personality and no goals beyond "getting stronger", but that's not unusual. It's probably the reason why 80% of the people who read the story do so. Zach, on the other hand, has more to offer. It's funny because the only reason he exists is to balance Ryun, but he ends up becoming much better in a lot of ways. He actually has issues outside of "being weak", he's not always sure and it makes him believable. It also helps that he isn't the strongest being in the world, he struggles. The problem with Zach is that he doesn't present anything different from Ryun outside of his personality. Which leads me again to the plot, the getting stronger part of it, because that's all we have. Both Zach and Ryun have the same goal, in the end, both of them present it the same way. And the same goes for the other two "protagonists": Anrosh and Reyla. Anrosh, sadly enough, doesn't serve a purpose outside of Ryun. He is her world, her thoughts. She is "make Ryun look better" and nothing more. At least, that is the way the author has been using her. She was interesting at the beginning but at this point, I don't know why she gets so many chapters. Reyla on the other hand has had so little time in the story that we know less about her than some side characters. Yet again, she offers nothing unique. This may very well be my own taste showing, but I find the story lacks depth in terms of characterization. The author spreading the chapters so thin with many characters does nothing to help... Okay, the next section will maybe, probably, be less ranty.
As I've stated at the start of the review, the best parts are the system and world. There isn't much to say without spoiling, but the author managed to craft something that is very enjoyable to read. It scratches that progression itch in many ways, it feels open and (mostly) well-thought-out. Having both cultivation and the usual class system at once doesn't sound very good on, but it works. The trade-off is that the classes feel a bit empty and the cultivation less mystical, but both are unique enough. The world which revolves around said system is fantastical and manages to convey the feeling of "infinite". I think the author could have done a better job with it, there isn't much we know about and things seem to pop up as they are needed for the plot, but I still like it.
I have a lot to say, but I always find it hard to parse through my thoughts and put it into something coherent, so I won't criticize more. I also want to stress that I am very bad at praising. That is why the bad may seem to outweigh the good in my review.
This is a section for the author:
just going to throw in unsorted tips. I won't blame you if you don't take them Have the characters interact more, have more dialogues which aren't just the exchange of information. So far everything we know about anyone is from inner monologues, any information the characters share about themselves we already know and you end up repeating the same thing without any feeling. You need to add more emotion through believable interactions. You can't throw Ryun into a bad situation every time you want to achieve sympathy; it becomes dull. Have Zach focus on things other than killing, it's not suited for his character and doesn't add anything. Many of the latest chapters have been just progression with no impact, it's boring and makes said progression less enjoyable. Simply someone doing X thing and gaining Y amount of Essence. Show don't tell as I've said more than once in my comments. Make your writing more engaging and less dry. Trim down on repeated words so your sentences flow better. Many fights, especially with Zach, are simply "he that and then he that and then...", not very interesting. GET AN EDITOR. Describe powers more than their base stats, they should be more than numbers and words, the character has to feel their power. Tell us more about factions, High Rankers and the world in general. We don't know a lot, and so the world is very "flat".
This author is what brought me to Royal Road. I have been reading a lot of LitRPG / wuxia / isekai over the last year, but this is certainly one of the best pieces of writing in the genre I have read.
The highs - keeping themes and story arcs connected like this while still giving the reader the feeling the author is still definitely going somewhere after nearly 3000 pages is really impressive. The ongoing effort in continuing to develop the characters is really good too. I started reading this two weeks ago, and I must say that after two weeks and 3000 pages I am definitely waiting for more!
The lows - look, in my opinion there is not much to comment on here. Yes, a tidy up of some of the writing would help at times, but its nothing a bit of independent editing wouldn't fix. Better than most in this genre for sure.
Overall - for me, this has me really engaged and I am keen to see more. So keep up the Mon / Wed / Fri schedule, or whatever you need to keep going!
Awesome. The thing with stories like these (Wuxia, cultivator, etc) is that they often have the exact same beginning.
This does not.
Not at all.
It is original and it puts a new spin on an old genre.
The author has a quite brilliant imagination as evidenced by this and his other novels such as the Empire series. Having just discovered this story very recently I’m devastated to have reached the latest chapter as I now have to wait like everyone else for the next installments. Hurry up Ivan! :-)
its really good! the author here is being a bit ambitious with so many viewpoints at the start but by now you can read so much of it that you're finally invested in all the characters. this is a great time to give this a read if you've been putting it off.
I can't remember when I was recommended to read this, probably somewhere on Reddit but I added it to my follow list and told myself I would get to it sometimes.
Man was that a mistake. I should have started it right away. The author has done a fantastic job weaving two main protagonists with past and present storytelling.
The present is the main thrust of the story with just enough past POVs to help illuminate why our characters are the way they are. Two old friends, one who now hates the other, their stories create a wonderful mystery to enjoy. The author does a great job of not making either one seem to be overwhelmingly the "good guy" or the "bad guy" and as the story progresses you get pushed and pulled into rooting for one then the other.
This story has a great system, a combination of classes, cultivation, and skills combined with magical weapons and armor. Each MC chooses to focus on either class or cultivation (although there is overlap and the ability to advance both). There is enough abilities to make combat seem organic without spamming one ability over and over but not so much you lose track of what they can do. By the way, combat descriptions are one area where the author shines.
The story also doesn't repetitiously move through the same beats. There is PvP scenarios, town building, exploration, all without excessive grinding (this may be a function of multiple POVs but even without that I don't find any action to be too repetitious).
If you are a fan of character driven story lines without a clear cut good/bad guy then do yourself a favor and read this story. Honestly I place it in my top 5 on RoyalRoad and top two of character driven stories along with Epilogue.