Ian Dunai is trapped in the only maze an arch-decemancer can't escape.
Only 1% of the population is blessed with magic affinity at birth. Fewer still have high enough affinities to rule. Ian’s decemancy eclipses all, granting him ultimate control over Death. He conquers cities with a thought and turns them into ruins with a gesture. But overwhelming power isn’t enough to escape the time loop or reveal its purpose.
When Ian discovers a critical clue that he missed years ago, escape is finally at his fingertips.
Little does he know, it's only the first realm.
Release schedule: 2 chapters/week (Mon/Fri at 11:30 AM EST).
Book 1, The Menocht Loop, is complete at ~100k words (~370 pages; chapters 1-41).
Book 2, The False Ascendant, is complete at ~110k words (chapters 42-83)
After being on Royal Road for nearly 20 months, Book 1 came down from Royal Road on Nov 17th, 2021, and Book 2 came down on Feb 8th 2022. Please consider buying the books on Amazon. The first 10% of book 1 and book 2, respectively, are still available to read on Royal Road so you can try before you buy. DM me if you want to read the books but do not have the financial means to purchase them.
Book 3, The Eldemari's Wrath, is complete at ~145k words (chapters 84-143)
Book 4, The Samsara Crucible, is complete at ~165k words (chapters 144-211).
Book 5, The Blade of Revelation, is complete at ~122k words (chapters 212-260).
Book 6, The Seed of Chaos, is ongoing (chapters 261 and on).
Constructive criticism welcome.
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The first arc, inside the time loop, was quite good.
Once the first book is over, though, the quality drops hard. The biggest problem is the pacing; if the first fourty chapters had a plot development every five chapters, the second fourty has half that or less. The rest of it is filler, info-dumps, and interludes.
Secondly, the style changes; if the first arc is action /mystery, the second is character melodrama. Once the puzzle solving in the first arc is done, the second arc is mostly spent sitting around whining. I got fed up and dropped out part way into the fighting tournament. Yes, there's a fighting tournament. Yes, it's full of filler, with the MC curbstomping throwaway cardboard-cutout characters then sitting around whining about how awful everything is in-between.
I dunno. I don't think leaving the loop ruined the story or anything like that, but it does seem like the author was doing a lot better writing within the constraints of the loop. If the pacing didn't tank, maybe the character development would happen at a reasonable pace, and it would feel less like the MC is sitting around angsting for no good reason.
The first arc is good. But the story fundamentally changes after, and I don't think the author handles it well.
I enjoyed the loop and the mcs interactions within the loop, but after it ended I had a really hard time staying interested in what was going on. Maybe it was just me but the world didn't feel compelling at all and the new characters introduced after the time loop (actually almost every character) felt unininspired to me. Dropping at chapter 61.
A series that painfully disolves before your very eyes. Each successive arc is a jarring departure and decline from the previous in terms of characters, story, world, and quality.
The time loop is spectacular. The escape and tournament are good. The war is mediocre with good parts. You may enjoy it if you are invested in the characters and the world.
The 4th arc is where almost everything and everyone interesting is thrown out the window and forgotten. Replaced with something new that I absolutely did not enjoy. Remembering how much I enjoyed the time loop arc turned this from unenjoyment to insulting.
I recommend future readers enjoy the story as long as they are able, drop it without worry any arc after the first because it's a bumpy ride downward in quality.
For the author: This is just my opinion. Capture the lightning in the bottle that was the first arc or two and repelicate that in future works. Avoid creating a story that drastically changes almost everything inbetween arcs as it alienated me from what I enjoyed originally.
This story is on the better side of average, that is for sure. It isn't bad, but it isn't nearly as good as "Mother of Learning." Instead of getting sucked into this novel, I found myself becoming less invested the more I learned.
So the question I had to ask myself was, why?
The answer is that I don't like the main character, Ian, very much. Actually, I don't like any of the characters very much. I don't hate them, but they all disapoint.
While I love the author's style with the shifting point of view, that glimpse into the minds of the supporting characters fails to make them likable or interesting. In fact, it serves to make me wonder, "why are you such an idiot?"
This doesn't matter much in the time loop, because obviously the main character can't form meaningful relationships when the world resets every so often. But outside of the time loop, characters baffle me with their idiocy and their casual, unneccesary, cruelty. I mean, the Crowned Prince (a ruler of a country) risks war and spends billions to aquire Ian's services when he emerges from the time loop with incredible power.
But he has nothing for him to do!
Worse still, Ian isn't willing to do much either. He has no goal, no point, and that wouldn't matter if anyone else had a plan, but no one does! All he wants is to never be bound by an oath, but why though?
Did he never realise that contracts - whether mundane or magical - are simply a part of normal employment? Can he not see the obvious problems with having a walking nuke not have some kind of agreement with the government? Does he think that he is unique or does Ian realise that every single powerful practioner is in the same kind of situation?
Why is his mom such a consistent asshole? And his Aunt too, for that matter.
Why is the Crowned Prince such a complete idiot? How can he justify spending billions, altering his international policies, and making certain that in the future there will be a war with a larger and more powerful country, all for someone who refuses to do much beyond laze around his palace!?
It has become more and more distracting as the story has gone on, and I can only hope it improves in the future.
The beginning of the story begins in a time loop and soon leaves it after a couple dozen chapters to explore the world beyond the loop and I like it. The characters are awesome and the magic system is interesting but not always explained until later. The story is high stakes at times and while serialized it doesn't feel like chapters are filler. The editing and grammar is all good and it is a great read
At it's core, 'The Menocht Loop' is a character study.
Recommended for readers who like:
- Character development
- Stories exploring psychology
- Time loops
- Overpowered Protagonist (Note: Very little action though)
Not recommened for:
- Levelling up
- Battle Junkies
- Worldbuilding (Note: Interesting world but not explored well)
- Refined writing
On the other hand, whilst it is a good fiction on the whole, reviewers from Caerulex's other fiction Apex Predator, and readers from the recently finished Mother of Learning who are looking for more time loops have drastically overhyped this story. Whilst it is has been Good enough to keep me reading, I would be hesistant to suggest that it is Great and I feel as though people looking for advice in the reviews should be aware of that going in to avoid betrayed feelings.
We as an audience are given too much information of what is happening outside of the Time Loop which largely ruins much suspense of the main characters situation. There are not too many but all but one of them could be considered if/when the protagonist escapes the loop.
When these do occur, they are hamfisted into a chapter with seemingly little regard for placement. There is a chapter where the first quarter is in the protagonists perspective and the you get the rest of the chapter as the alternate perspective. This kind of poor written arrangement happens often and its one of the reasons I binged the series. It is hard to follow sometimes. Not because of any complex time mechanics; because of very few points of closure.
(If this was intentionally designed to put us in the mindset of someone who can't get a break from the loop, it could be considered great, but it is almost definitely not as it comes at the cost of the quality of the work.)
The story does a decent job at doing this naturally but there are certain glaring things missing. I have no real idea of the technological level or appearance of the surroundings until particular scenes later on. It appears as though the setting could be similar to modern Earth but on a different planet but there is no solid confirmation. The modern aspects seem to have things related to magic but theres no real confirmation and we have very few views into how society functions.
Additionally if you do choose to read, Jupiter is not the planet. It is the name of a city. And should have definitely have been made much clearer.
Despite my earlier acclaim for the character writing, there are definitely times when the protagonist's character is inconsistent. Which makes me believe that some good parts of it are unintentional and might be from me reading too much into things.
The protagonist does tend to retract into themselves quite a bit and block off outward emotion. This combined with how other characters are portrayed due to the time loop leads to a bit of a disconnect towards the beginning but little tidbits from the beginning have made the characters incredibly interesting and rich as the story has progressed.
This is another area where I felt the outside exposition has detracted from the story as it introduced characters in a way that, whilst thought provoking, wasn't necessary.
- Intrigue & Mystery
Final point is on intrigue. As I stated in the beginning, at its core, this is a character study. You won't find the same kinds of intrigue that you would have read in Mother of Learning in this time loop novel. There is a level of mystery that struggles to survive admists all the extra information given by the expositional perspectives but that is most of what you will be getting in this story. The intrigue is largely situational and short-lived.
It is the bane of writing a character who is overpowered. There are limitations on the protagonists ability which help create more challenges but solutions to them are largely handed to them and there is little capable of causing resistance in the challenges the protagonist faces due to their situation.
What little exists though is written well, it is a shame this aspect wasn't given more room to shine. I think its reduced place in the story could be considered a boon though as it places focus on the character development without as many distractions a intrigue heavy plot would provide.
As a final note:
Do not read the comments on chapters because the author has put so many spoilers about future plot. Like I'm up to the most recent chapter and I already have parts spoiled for me. No joy is to be gained from reading them.
A general review of everything so far (mid-book-five).
Great worldbuilding! A unique magic system, with pretty well thought out (and shown) consequences for society, as well as interesting concepts interacting (time loop, ascension).
My only (minor) criticism is that pacing is a little uneven; sometimes set up is very fast, sometimes it drags out a little bit. Series switches between ... not-quite slice of life to not-totally action, and those transitions are a touch jarring. However, this is true for nearly all episodic writing (including Charles Dickens), and the author here does a reasonable job.
A very enjoyable read!
At this point of time i am dropping the story. Which does not happen often for me.
The Synopsis for this story is very misleading. This story tries to get extra readers by saying its a timeloop progression story, but it is anything but. The timeloop and location "Menocht Bay" is essentially a footnote in the overall story. Your introduced at the end of the first part of the loop where the MC is at peak power. After he finally gets through the first part he just brute forces his way through the remainder of the loop and escapes, and then the story begins for real
Dialogue and Character Growth - Non-existent. The MC moves from plot to plot with almost no thought, disccussion, goal or interest. New characters and viewpoints are brought up and never appear again. Dialogue is practically non-existent between himself and anyone other than two people.
I came over to RR after reading the first book on Amazon (so the author was correct, it does indeed get more readers). I've been reading avidly ever since and have now caught up to the present (Chapter 226 at the moment). I'm a happy reader and will continue to follow along!
The story is pretty great during the loop. The story is amazing for a while after the loop. Then it becomes mediocre and boring. As of Book 5 the stakes are lower than ever and I can't bring myself to read the next chapter because I just find it really hard to care for anything that is going on.