The Menocht Loop

The Menocht Loop

by caerulex
Editor: sontagisme

Ian Dunai thought he was powerless.

He’s not alone: only a small percent of the population have high enough affinities to perform magic. But in the eyes of his father’s gifted family, Ian’s impotence is a disgrace—and the stain of his mother’s common blood.

But on one fateful day, Ian awakens not in his college dorm but in the middle of the ocean on an old dinghy. Reaching land is the least of his problems as he encounters risen skeletons, tortured captives, and a shoreside city in the throes of contagion.

Ian doesn’t last very long without magic. But death isn’t the end: Ian wakes back up on the dinghy and relives the day again...and again...and again.

As Ian investigates the purpose of the loop and a way to escape, he begins to realize that he might be more powerful than anyone—especially himself—ever imagined.


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)

Book 3, The Eldemari's Wrath, is complete at ~145k words (chapters 84-143)

Book 4, The Samsara Crucible, is ongoing (chapters 144 and on).

Constructive criticism welcome.


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View the wiki.

Cover art by the very talented Jeff Brown. (Higher res version here; 3840 x 2400 ultra high res wallpaper version here)

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caerulex

caerulex

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Map of the World and Overview ago
1. Yet Again ago
2. Menocht Bay ago
3. The Flower District ago
4. World Shift ago
5. Getting Away ago
6. Confiding ago
7. Potentioreader ago
8. Death Affinity I ago
9. Wyrm ago
10. Invitation ago
11. Formal ago
12. Sylvestri ago
13. Return ago
14. The Prophet ago
15. Rinse and Repeat ago
16. Forward ago
17. Corona ago
18. Jupiter ago
19. Hollow Vengeance ago
20. Sword ago
21. Day One ago
22. Shade and Lux ago
23. The Palace of Fortitude ago
24. Tangled Fate ago
25. Stakeout ago
26. Bait ago
27. Hor'Well ago
28. Leviathan ago
29. Germaine on a Train ago
30. Winery ago
31. Julia Verina Dunai ago
32. A Forced Hand ago
33. A Plausible Theory ago
34. Soul Swarm ago
35. Vision ago
36. Ritual ago
37. Deconstruction ago
38. Flower District, Again ago
39. Remorse ago
40. The Wedding ago
41. Into The Black ago
[The False Ascendant] 42. Awakening ago
43. Reunion ago
44. Deliberation ago
45. The Bay of Ramsay ago
46. Landfall ago
47. Zukal’iss ago
48. Regret I ago
49. Regret II ago
50. Guardian Druni ago
51. Teatime ago
52. Oath-breaking ago
53. Aunt Maria ago
54. The Last Layer ago
55. The Primes ago
56. Royal Retainer ago
57. Restaurant Redo ago
58. The Demonstration ago
59. Skai’aren ago
60. Arrival ago
61. Practice ago
62. Ascendants ago
63. Appraisal ago
64. Interlude - Cunabulus ago
65. Memory ago
66. The Inevitable ago
67. Pain ago
68. Weaponized End ago
69. The Fassari Summit ago
70. Impulse ago
71. Interlude - Zilverna ago
72. Viable Strategies ago
73. Suran Rindo ago
74. Achemiss ago
75. Resolve ago
76. Gift ago
77. Gala I ago
78. Gala II ago
79. Life Versus Death ago
80. Rematch ago
81. Confrontation ago
82. Unplayed Ace ago
83. Finale ago
[The Eldemari's Wrath] 84. Alternative Routes ago
85. Auburn ago
86. Nightmare ago
87. Return ago
88. No Return ago
89. War Council ago
90. No Way Out ago
91. First Strike ago
92. Future Sight ago
93. Bluebird ago
94. Restless Repetition ago
95. The Meaning of Despair ago
96. Deathseed ago
97. Scouting ago
98. Wasps ago
99. Venom ago
100. Opening Fire ago
101. Reluctant Return ago
102. War ago
103. Respite ago
104. The Armada ago
105. Siege ago
106. Departure ago
107. Lighthouse ago
108. Feather ago
109. Demetrius ago
110. Gnoste ago
111. Morinapol ago
112. The Morinapol Loop ago
113. Going Off-Track ago
114. Yurusi Canyon ago
115. Soul Sight ago
116. Assessment ago
117. The Essence of the Soul ago
118. Interlude – Endgame ago
119. Convenient Distractions ago
120. Ethereal Touch ago
121. Vote of Confidence ago
122. Terms of Surrender ago
123. The Crowned Prime ago
124. The Second Gift ago
125. Desert Escape ago
126. Life and Death ago
127. Into the Depths ago
128. Nethereal Rift ago
129. End and Death ago
130. This Isn’t a Scenario ago
131. Promise of Change ago
132. Path of Blood ago
133. Reality or Nightmare ago
134. Beginning of the End ago
135. Armed to the Teeth ago
136. The Thread ago
137. Descendant ago
138. Weeping Willow ago
139. The Sezakuin’s Cradle ago
140. The Cuna ago
141. The Final Act ago
142. Wrath I ago
143. Wrath II ago
[The Samsara Crucible] 144. The Long Hall ago
145. Vizier’s Crown ago
146. Eternity ago
147. A Means of Return ago
148. Soul Oath ago
149. Ascendant Awakening ago
150. The End of Everything ago
151. The Fragrant Vale ago
152. Messeras ago
153. Intruder ago
154. Contingencies ago
155. Insurmountable ago
156. Escape ago
157. The Misty Plane ago
158. Crystal ago
159. Metamorphosis ago
160. New Territory ago
161. Assembling the Gang ago
162. Onward ago
163. Settling In ago
164. Samsara ago
165. Interlude – The Crowned Executor ago
166. Here Be Dragons ago
167. Vracoola’s Heirs ago
168. A Brief Vacation ago
169. Nuremvark ago
170. Interlude — Karanos ago
171. Motivations Are Messy ago
172. No Shortcuts to Power ago
173. Without Regrets ago
174. To the Edge ago
175. The City of Souls ago
176. Interlude — One Hate to Sate Another ago
177. Interlude — Anchors and Burdens ago
178. Time to Die ago
179. The Oculus ago
180. Transcending Resurrection ago
181. Soul Forging ago
182. Unbalanced Time ago
183. Test Drive ago
184. Loyalty and Dependence ago
185. A Means to Victory ago
186. The Root of Ruin ago
187. Soul Insight ago
188. The Hangar Garden ago
189. Floria ago
190. Nervous Energy ago
191. Shared Sight ago
192. Time’s Up ago
193. Impudence ago
194. Blood Oath ago
195. Return Beacon ago
196. Taboo ago
197. Chose to Be a Monster ago
198. The Price You Pay ago
199. Interlude — Only the Broken Ones Ascend ago
200. Unturning the Key ago
201. Truce ago
202. None of Us Are Okay ago
203. Counter-Offer ago
204. Planar Crane ago
205. The Perennial Palace ago
206. The Celebration of Mirrors ago
207. This Is Why People Never Visit ago
208. Going Down ago
209. Do You Believe in Paradise ago

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Reviews
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Not_A_Hat
Overall

I wanted to like this...

Reviewed at: 70. Impulse

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.

Drewfenschmirtz
Overall

Interesting loop but my interest waned after

Reviewed at: 61. Practice

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.

Joostin
Overall

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.

evlon
Overall

A sharp decline

Reviewed at: 164. Samsara

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.

vladerag
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A loop is only as good as its protagonist

Reviewed at: 77. Gala I

*minor spoilers*

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.

Scarlust
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Overated fiction but quality character study

Reviewed at: 33. A Plausible Theory

At it's core, 'The Menocht Loop' is a character study.

Recommended for readers who like:

  • Character development
  • Stories exploring psychology
  • Time loops
  • Mystery
  • Overpowered Protagonist (Note: Very little action though)

Not recommened for:

  • Levelling up
  • Battle Junkies
  • Worldbuilding (Note: Interesting world but not explored well)
  • Intrigue
  • Refined writing

 

It's protagonist has been trapped in a time loop for years, all the while learning the darker arts concerning the dead to grow stronger out of necessesity in order to escape. After finally managed to break free of the loop only to discover that it was just the first of multiple layers.
 
The writing is an interesting look into the character and how being trapped within the time loop has effected them personally. There are many interesting philosophical questions that the author, Caerulex, allows the character and story bring to our attention. The protagonist's development as a character is subtle but it is golden. In this respect it is truly a brilliant piece of character 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.


Here are some comments and critiques of the story so far. Be aware that there are some minor spoilers regarding the content. I have avoided anything story ruining but if you want to avoid them entirely, I advise you skip 1.

Spoiler

 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.

Silentshinigami
Overall

A very well written begining that has instantly hooked me in with an intriuging system of magic that i can't wait to find out about. Hopefully this will be able to develope into a new favourite of mine now that mother of learnings finished. :)

HaruDevil
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Not bad, it's well written and coherent. I think the score really depends on where the story ends up going, but so far it's pretty good. The main character is a little odd, his personality seems to be inconsistent, it's not a big issue really, but the author needs to pick a way to portray him and stick with that. His emotions flip from realistic to unrealistic and it makes it hard to get a grasp on who he is. As for the other characters there isn't too much to write for them yet, they aren't really there.

Quintuscus
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The story is great, but.... <>

It just all feels so jarring.

 The main character's relationships are mega toxic. The conversation between mother and son are like it's between an Army General and a sheep. Ian just does everything, and I mean EVERYTHING his mother tells him to do. He's already in his 20's, has survived countless murdering and being murdered and yet he acts like a total wimp. 

Grammar was spot on, never spotted a single mistake and that is a first. So that was at least very well done about the book.

The style is also very intense sometimes, as the writer uses words completely too convoluted and archiac for my taste. Sometimes things are just things shouldn't be as verbose like a high school art teacher describes paintings a bit too much. There is also the issue of the author effortlessly throwing gore around like  it's flowerpetals. I get it with the 'Decemancy', gore is going to be a bit more pronounced but it was like it didn't even matter to the character. Problem is that it apparently does matter to the character as he later describes being revolted by semi-rotted flesh. I mean, come on.

The story is also a bit on the weak side, as most things gets deus ex machinad to shit with decemancy or beginning/end/remorse/life magic. When it doesn't, and it does happen sometimes, it is amazing and it pieces together wonderfully. So I get where some people take away the bad, but there is, again for my taste, too little of the good to compensate.

Then we get to the characters. I have never read a novel that, whilst held in high regard by others, has such bad characters. It read like nothing I've ever laid my eyes on. I got crazy anime vibes, and not in a good way. The character has the most bitchy attitude while around his mother, but is very happy and decisive around his sister. These things do not a bad book make, but the way the characters have been laid bare in the time loop does. It just doesn't make any sense anymore. It is impossible for me to believe that his mother isn't just a weak loser that say anything to justify being a total and utter bitch/dick/smartass/narcissist. We saw how she reacted to getting her way, and that was becoming catatonic and being a total dick about it. Not really the reaction of a strong minded/empowered anything. If the author shows us that she is actually a total weakling, it feels emotionally wrong for the MC to follow her advice in any way. The MC doesn't pity her after the loop, no that would be way too aggressive, no, he becomes her slave little bitchboy. And all it takes for the MC to forgive being locked in a nightmare loop for years is a single shed tear of his aunt. I mean Come the fuck on.

/rant.

 

 

BardOfPurgatory
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

How is this not illegal?

Reviewed at: 28. Leviathan

Like, really, most addictive substances are illegal, so why isn't this one?! I never was one for time loop stories, but this one had me hooked immediately. On to the review:

 

Style & Grammar Scores

Both the style and grammar of this story are amazing. The author is clearly more than fluent in English, to the point where I'm not bogged down reading the same words or phrases repeated over and over again.

 

Character Score

I'm giving this 4.5 stars instead of 5, not because of any deficiency on the author's part, but rather because the story is still just beginning, in all honesty. If I was just judging the main character, I'd give it a 5. However, since we have recently been introduced to the 2nd MC (and some seemingly important side characters), I plan on waiting a little longer to see how their characters develop before editing the character score further.

 

Story Score

So far the story is absolutely amazing. We know that there is a reason Ian entered the loop, though we still don't know what that reason is. I was tempted to give the story 4.5 stars, but decided against it, for the same reason that I didn't give the character score 5 stars. The story so far is amazing, and has yet to leave me dissapointed. However, if you aren't willing to wait and deal with the suspense of finding out the "why" behind the events of the Menocht Loop (which I imagine occurs is Book 2), then perhaps this story isn't for you.