River of Fate. Book 2: Sunset Knight
Welcome to the Purple Sky World and 20,000 years of history in the Starfall Empire!
Verse's memories have been unified. He does not know why he has been reborn in this world, but the future is his to shape. He has to increase his strength as an Imperial Squire and achieve the full title of Imperial Knight, defend his city against the encroaching forces of darkness, and unravel the mysteries of the Kin, the ancient race that came before human settlement in this world.
Will he grow strong enough to save his city and his friends from destruction?
*In this story, you can expect Xianxia-style cultivation, a focus on jade and sunset magic, powerful techniques and skills, lots of fighting, ancient races, deep history, and a hero who is evolving and changing to become more than he was before.
Book I and Book II are now complete. Book II is out on Amazon KU as of July 5th. I can only leave up 10% of it here, so I'll use this space to keep up the latest four chapters for folks who were reading it at the release pace. Once each one has been up for a week, it'll disappear.
Chapters will be released MWF until we finish the last part of the book.
Sunrise Alchemist (Book 3) will continue here soon. I'm currently pushing hard on a LITRPG novel called Battlefield Reclaimer. You can find it on Royalroad.
*Each chapter is 3-4k words, generally, or about 10-15 pages.
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In this story an old soldier dies from heart failure and on his way to whatever fate awaits his soul he's diverted by a divine order of reincarnation. This order is so strong it scrambles his soul and somehow revives memories from past lives. Including one where he has a cultivator in a powerful sect, giving him access to a supreme cultivation method.
He steps on the path of cultivation by joining the sect trials. Then things don't go quite as planned. Plotwise this is a pretty standard cultivation story with a few pecularities.
Firstly the protagonist is prone to getting backstabbed a lot and seems to cling to the first asshole he rescued for some reason. Second I find the transmigration/reincarnation rather unique, but I think there could be done more with it instead of just being a way for the protag to be special.
Overall I think it's following the genre convention too closely. The pacing is as horribly slow as a chinese original, though the prose is better than you'd expect from a translation. A good story to lovers of the genre, but the pacing might be too slow for the average reader.
It is a hard thing to see the border between the expectation we place and the actual intention of the author.
That said, the story starts as well as can be expected from a reincarnation start. avoiding most of the pitfalls inherent to this subplot. no lengthy pre-death sequence, no children saved at the last moment and the hated truck - absent.
We do get several plot hooks for the future, an angry protagonist with a faulty memory, determined to make a better life this time around,
plus some ambiguous characters.
During Book 1 all those "bumps" get smoothed over, making the characters and plot weaker. In a radical change of pacing our angry and faulty protagonist transforms into a paragon of good, whose aim in life is to fight injustice due to a plot device the feels more than a little forced.
Being good is not a character trait, even the borderline psychotic murder hobos of Chinese xianxia believe themself to be good and righteous.
we are left with a cloying hero who fights caricatures of a villain, with classical xianxia power-ups that sap tension from the plot.
Was this the intention from the start? I don't know, but I believe the author can do better and did for a while.
I enjoyed the story. Truly. Just caught up to the most recent chapter, and found it an entertaining read. There are some problems though.
First, too much philosophy. Lots of repetitive philosophical filler, as the MC debates and considers various cultivation issues. Most of which while adding depth, don't serve any point in the overarching story. They also tend to make the story drag.
Another problem I have is a minor spoiler. When the MC is trapped in a cave, he senses fresh air coming from a certain direction, which leads him months later, back above ground. I simply cannot image fresh air coming into a cave, being sensed from hundreds of miles away. It beggars belief.
Final problem I have, is how flowery and descriptive some things are. I understand the reason for it, and I even agree with it from a character standpoint. But as a reader, I felt the flowery description at the climactic point of the story arc was unnecessary.
As I said, minor issues. The story is sound, graamar is great. Very rare mistakes. Overall, a good story. Very much recommend it despite it's minor warts.
This was exactly the kind of cultivation novel I was looking to read!
I don't know if every other author is Chinese or what, but it's my opinion that if the story is going to place in another world, then let it take place in another world and not China 2.0. To be fair, I don't know if you can write a Xianxia without at least a hint of Eastern influence, but every character doesn't have to be named Xing or Huang. The author here combines Western and Eastern themes to create the world we see here. It's not totally one or the other which makes the blend perfect.
The plot line seems to be a bit slow, but the character's cultivation seems really fast. There's a small timeskip or two, but it still seems the development is overly quick. The main character is 16 years old and starts at rank 5, even with the timeskip I still believe the main character is 16, but he still ends up rank 7. There's 3 other characters with the main character who also manage to rank up along side him during the timeskip of a few weeks to months (not really entirely sure how long it has been), but considering everyone else has been training their entire lives, ranking up seems to be kind of effortless from the main character's point of view. He does have a serious advantage I'll give him that, but it shouldn't necessarily be the case with those around him who only have a small advatage. I think it's the discrepancy of the slow plot and fast cultivation that makes it seem a bit awkward. Maybe dial it back a little bit? It's okay if he grows while in his rank, he doesn't have to rank up every time he needs a power-up.
The fight scenes are great and feel realistic. No overpowered kamehameha; instead the main character focuses on using skill to overpower his enemies. Sure he has some overpowered abilities, but so does his opponents. His skill is what sets him apart, at least early on. Even when he comes into unique abilities later on, you'll find that they aren't all powerful and it's up to the main character to use those abilities in the correct situations.
I'm enjoying the characters for the most part, except for one, maybe two exceptions. There's a cultist character in the story that the main character feels some sympathy towards and wants to try and make him a better person, but whenever I read about him, I just can't help but hope he dies so the main character can just forget about him. There's no realistically feasible way to make the totally insane person a better person anyways. It's not often I hope for active characters in a story to die, but in this case I would gladly welcome it. If it helps any, a comedic death would only add to the story. The other character is set up to act as an advisor to the main character, but he's more of a parasite than anything, at least right now. I hope in the future there's a better solution than keeping the current status-quo, maybe something that benefits both the advisor character and main character; I'm not talking about the two just getting along, but making them seperate entities because right now they can be considered one in the same.
The main character's original life, or at least the one the story started with was a soldier with a lot of pent up anger, but in his new life, he seems to be extremely calm and collected. There's a point in the story where he "harnasses" his old anger to work for him, but that's about it. He was reshaped by the river of fate, but it mentions that his anger is still a part of him in his new life, we just don't see it. It's a little odd that we don't see more of it, but I like the way the character is now. The only thing that I would change would be that I'd hope the main character was a bit more self-serving. He ends up sharing his spoils with quite literally, the enemy without any gain for himself because he feels bad for them. Since he comes out ahead most of the time, he figures "why not?". Also since he felt bad for the cultist who tried to kill him, he took it upon himself to watch over the guy - seriously just kill off the cultist character, please!
The main character doesn't seem to have much in the terms of carnal desires and is avoiding brothels, which is a HUGE plus. Usually we'd see Xianxia characters building up a massive harem, which doesn't seem like it'll happen in this case. It could be he avoids brothels because he doesn't want to get an STD, which is great too, since most other main characters would completely ignore that part of fantasy worlds. There's one or two potenital romance intersets as of now, but they aren't throwing themselves at the main character after first glance. This is how it should be; if there's any romantic development later on that's fine too, just don't have the romantic interest become a mindless drone.
Right now we're still on book 1, but I can see this as something special that has the potential to hit 10-12 arcs. The author has been dedicated enough to put out daily releases thus far, with 3 guaranteed chapters per week which is EXTREMELY appreciated. I'm following about 75 ongoing stories on RR and only 3 of which have regular updates. I'm only hoping that the release pace keeps up and we won't see an extended hiatus for the series like so many others. Since book 1 is set to end this month, I feel like the make it or break it point is what happens between the beginning and end of a book. Really hoping the author continues this series.
Great story so far. I have just read to chapter 7 and I have to say that the content of the chapters is great. Author takes feedback well and has begun to edit and improve overall story. Looking forward to the rest of the adventures.
Here's the short take: you'll like River of Fate if you like Xianxia/Xanhuan; however, the story doesn't do enough to distance itself from the genre's more annoying aspects.
Let's start with style. The first few chapters contain meandering prose that reads like poetry but lacks any meaningful description of the action taking place. At one point, the MC reincarnates into a body after an extended transmigration scene, but the reader would never know it because the author simply didn't say "he reincarnated into a body". The writing style becomes more direct and clear several chapters in, but the early hiccup was a stumbling block for me to get into the story.
As stated, the MC has little to no memory of his past lives (yes, plural). He, however, has no trouble remembering the minutiae of cultivation techniques. Even worse, these details come to him when he needs them most, like say, in the middle of a battle. Let me repeat: he can't remember any of his past lives, only that he had them, but can remember the details of cultivation techniques only when in danger. Talk about plot armor.
Regarding the MC himself, he feels like a good person trying to do right in an unusual situation. He's not perfect by any means, as he does have a major flaw, his repressed anger, but he's also not unlikable.
That said, I'll continue to read River of Fate as I like Xianxia/Xanhuan, but I may edit my review depending on how it goes. For me, the early prose and plot armor were a noticeable stumbling block, but I think it will improve in time.
This is very, very, well written. It's a regular story with reincarnation, cultivation etc. It's just written with a skill level that will probably make it one of RR's best novels, if the author can keep up with the quality delivered so far. Thanks for the story :)
I will start with my biggest gripe,
Things that happen make no fucking sense. The story starts out slow. And it was a good kind of slow (Not slow progression but slow plot).
Then the personality of one certain side character swang back and forth leading the mc into a parilious state which he barely survives.
After that the story tappers of to a nice rythm of some fight and some cultivation. It was controled. The pace, and all. But as always with Wuxia and Xianxia,
you have the author force something that makes no fucking sense into the story to force to character to grow faster. And it really really worked bad in this case. I could not in good faith continue reading after chapter 11 which felt waaaaaay too forced.
I feel like it was the author throwing the complete plot right out the window just to make it more unexpected for the reader. In retrospect, because how much it happens in normal xianxia, this felt predictable.
The story does not know what it is, one moment it is a calm step by step progression type of story. The next moment some forced shit happens that will throw the previous rythm outside the window to start a new chapter.
I really like the character of the mc. he has a methodical and phylosophical way of doing things.
The grammar is excellend. Story telling style could use some work but I'd still give it a 4.
But the plotline, story itself, is a jumbled mess.
Good luck to author, i really cannot continue reading chapter 12. That is another story and not the one i was reading till chapter 11.
Almost an isekai, almost a reincarnation novel but it doesn't quite go in either direction. Instead it borrows elements from both and forges its own unique path. I highly recommend it. The grammar is almost perfect, the main character is well developed and shows real signs of growth and development. It's a story of a man dealing with the effects of his past. Trying to answer the question of 'how do you recover from a lifetime's worth of mistreatment and the over abundance of rage that has instilled'? Good job author. I binge read it all today. Thanks!
Personal note to royal road admins. There is no way that this story deserves the 1 or 1.5 rankings that the author says that he's received. There needs to be some form of accountability for rankings. It's obviously someone trying to game your system. You should feel guilty at allowing that to occur!
I'm not one for Xianxia stories usually, due to the amount of politics in them, however this story seems so far to take place in a Xianxia world with a focus on magic and the like.
The characters feel natural, the grammer is excellent, the style is in such a way that even when the MC gets stronger, it doesn't seem forced, the story feels like there are things happening outside of the MC's view.
All in all its a great read!