Heart of Cultivation

by jacobk

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy Male Lead Martial Arts Supernatural Xianxia
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore

Jian was a prodigy, at least until he discovered that his path of cultivation had hit a dead end almost as soon as it began. That was all years ago, though. He has long since resigned himself to his fate and prepared himself for a dull, ordinary, but happy life. Stunted cultivation or no, he's clever enough to carve out his own comfortable niche.

Unfortunately, not all of the matters from his past have been settled. When a reckless mistake threatens to cost him everything, Jian will have to prove that he's desperate enough to rise to the occasion. Or that he's capable of avoiding the consequences.

This is an affectionate reconstruction of the xianxia genre. I will be deploying the tropes from the genre that I enjoy in a framework that I think makes sense. The story updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and sometimes other days.

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jacobk

jacobk

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Veritas97
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Xianxia with potential that gets penalized for not fully reinventing wheel

Reviewed at: 21. Visiting the Foothills (2)

Many familiar tropes are present in the story, but are played with in fresh ways. The setting is also familiar. I appreciate Jacobk having a fresh take and spin on common xianxia tropes rather than trying to completely reinvent the wheel. It actually feels kind of nostalgic. Some attack the story with a two sentence review talking about how generic it seems. In terms, of the pseudo Chinese empire setting, several stories utilize it, and those automatically attacking it should consider that we have only seen two towns so far. BTTH is also not the only story with the engagement trope. Some reviewers are eager to attack the story for not having a completely unique cultivation system, setting, and not completely avoiding tropes. I would invite them to try their hand at writing such a story. Some stories are successfully inventive in that regard, but not every story has to be like that.

GLM
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Solid Foundation, Dry Content.

Reviewed at: 25. The Spoils

This story is good, or more specifically will probably be good, it has the potential for sure.

I will probably change this review at a later date, because at this point in time I find it hard to commend this story on anything but the solid grammar and sentence structure.

The main problem lies in both the Genre and the Pacing. Xianxia is a though crowd, specially when you want to make a non-parody novel on it, one that takes itself seriously to boot. 

This story is taking a lot of shit because its just so goddamn generic, and it is, its like a common stone, polished until its mirror smooth, but its still a stone. And anyone who has any interest in the genre probably has seen this stone tens of times, although with varying degrees of refinement.

Many people can see the gem hidden inside for when this story finnaly takes off, and honesly I can see it too, BUT it doesn't excuse how horribly dull this first arc is, as its not even trying to be different or original, its just the same ol' stone we all seen a thousand times, still really polished, still unoriginal and boring.

Overall I'd say this will probably be a great story in the future as the author clearly shows enough skill for that, but the early parts are just the same old same old xianxia setting and MC we all know by hearth and thus are a bloody chore to read and don't really stand out by themselves.

The pacing is far too slow for something this generic, and it drags too much, the other Xianxia I can compare this to, Forge of Destiny, does a much better job at handling the pacing, mostly giving quick glances at the tropes and cliches while having meaningful characterization and worldbuilding when it does slow down. This one is just slow all around and waaaaaaaaay too lost in the minor stuff for its own good.

pyroxcat
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Its very xianxia genre focused, nothing new

Reviewed at: 22. Great Danger, Great Opportunity

You can skip bunch of chapters and still know whats going to happen and whats happening.. everything is really straightforward and predictable. 

Joary
  • Overall Score

Xianxia, with a dose of realism

Reviewed at: 24. To the Victor (2)

So the setting is a tried and true one, small town in a Chinese Empire, with a mc who is a member of the local ruling clan but he struggles in cultivation, is engaged to a girl who he hasn't seen in years and who comes back to break off the engagement without care for the agreement in the first place.

but this basic setting doesn't define the story. Our mc isn't oppressed by his powerful relatives, bullied by the stronger, or letting himself be limited by his cultivation. He accepts his weakness and looks for alternatives, becoming an artificer and formation artist, looking for ways around his cultivation problem by crafting an artificial heart to do for him what he can't himself. He learns to fight off those a bit stronger than himself and doesn't boast. He doesn't get caught up on defending the honor of his family or himself to strangers, only when it really matters. this world might follow "might makes right," but it also aknowedges that might isn't everything.

Even the explorations into unknown are sensible, rather than hnting for dangerous creatures, they are simply after herbs, and rather than plundering the earth of all the treasures, they leave enough to replenish

TJMTG
  • Overall Score

Well written mediocrity

Reviewed at: 10. Jian's Ambition!

The title says it all. While well written, the story relies on cliche after  cliche to move itself along, even if the details are a little more novel then most.

What set it apart from other stories in the genre was the protagonists attitude and chosen profession- crafting artefacts. Attitude wise, the protagonist seemed to be level-headed, if somewhat brooding, and reasonable. The crafting process for his job was described in an interesting and detailed way from a logical prospective. However, that aspect of the story was quickly dropped.

Now, the protagonist HAS to do this and that because, face, making it a dime a dozen.

Zethuron
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A Solid Xianxia story, just what i was looking for!

Reviewed at: 13. Journey to Linshi Town (3)

I have been pleasantly surprised by this Xianxia, got interested because of all the high ratings surrounding this, which is rather rare for a standard Xianxia story, so gave it a look and i can say it was worth my time reading it.


The author definitely knows what he is writing about, that Xianxia is an hard genre to write a good story in, let alone one that does not fall to the usual pitfalls of Xianxia such as repetive plot, ridiculous powerscaling, plot armour for the MC, and other such tropes that are rife in Xianxia stories, not here, atleast so far.

What we have instead is a well constructed and thought out story, with actual characterization beyond the MC being just 'smart', a prodigy or lucky as one would expect from a Xianxia story.

 

Jian is a person who does not give up easily, even faced with the prospect of being destined to never progress in his cultivation due to his body, instead he searches for a way to escape that situation, with the resources he can get on his own, while also having to live in disgrace, as he was once a prodigy who seemingly had it all, and to fall from such a high place, is never gentle, especially not in the world of Cultivators.

Heck, i really liked that while of course there is the usual snobbery and disdain from those in higher positions, as one would expect from a Xianxia story, it is actually done rather more normally in this story, without the usual exaggeration in behavior, it is actually done in more realistic way. I especially like the family being supportive, even if he has been disgraced multiple times, his father is a great example of this, guiding him through those times, while still taking his role in the clan seriously.

 

Basically the setting is a standard Xianxia one, without much extra twists really, atleast so far not any have appeared beyond the 'Heart'.

The plot so far is rather a fresh take on the classic plot of the MC having fallen from grace, being ridiculed by his fellow cultivators, and thus having to live with it all for years until his childhood friend announced to cancel their marriage, but in this story there is no lucky encounter or something which gives the MC an advantage, no, here he plans his way back into the cultivation world on his own without waiting for some heavenly treasure or ancient mentor to help him (though the MC is shown wanting such to happen, even if its unrealistic) honestly this is just so great, being different in such a way from other Xianxia, with the MC being actually intelligent for a change. This story can become something great if the author can keep this up for the long term.

 

An extra that i like, is the map at the start, i just love the style used, it just fits so well for the setting and adds to the story, though i dont expect the author to go that far as to commision a map of the world or something in that style, but if he does.... it wil be epic.

 

So far i have read, grammar is just flawless, absolutely no complains there.

 

The writing flows well, reads smooth for the most part, though granted, with this being a cultivation story, i had to adjust myself a couple times, to get used to the names, also it starts quite slow, spending time to build up the world and the characters instead of heading straight into the action. Overall the writing is solid in my opinion, and faaar better than what i have seen from most Cultivation stories, bar a couple.

 

The author definitely is skilled and knows what he is doing, having earlier experience at writing with his popular fanfiction on spacebattles, i wonder what the upload schedule will be like though, given the author has this story, the fanfiction and one other story, i hope that he doenst burn out from writing so much. I really hope the author succeeds with writing this story, good lengthy Xianxia is just so rare, with Forge of Destiny being the only example i know of among English webnovels, so i hope this can be a new one.

I really recommed this story if you are interested in cultivation novels, it avoids the pitfalls that plague the genre and is an interesting read with good characters and a nice spin on the usual Xianxia plot, it can be something great, so come read this story!

nanidafaq
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I've seen a lot of reviews saying that this story is generic/predictable, but I have to disagree. The novel is slow-paced, and doesn't follow the trend of the protagonist having some bs treasure dropped on his lap with no explanation, possibly the most frustrating aspect of xianxia stories. In this story, we can see the protagonist actually having to use his brains to accomplish his goals and the dangers that are present. Hopefully, the coming chapters will reflect this trend.

Ibskib
  • Overall Score

The author can do better than something this generic

Reviewed at: 12. Journey to Linshi Town (2)

I honestly can't decide whether this story is just running headlong into the same cliches that have made me dislike almost every cultivation story I've come across, or if the author is intentionally and in a misguided fashion, trying to honor the tropes of the genre, I say misguided, since they actively make such stories worse.
The writing feel stilted, like all those awkwardly translated stories (or those written by non-native English speakers) tend to. Of course this story is a lot more polished and technically proficient than most, but it's still what I think off when reading this.

A shame since his prose tend to flow nicely in the fanfics he's written.

It could be excused if the characterisation or worldbuilding was interesting, but it isn't, what little of it there is.
Everything just feels awfully generic and superficial. Also something that seemed better in his fanfics, maybe he's gotten too used to have an established setting to lean up against.

I simply can't make myself care about either the setting or the characters, and I struggle to actually picture how anything or anyone looks, so maybe a lack of descriptive text in places to engages the senses, hurts the immersion, especially describing how things and people actually look.

Maybe I'm a bit too harsh, but I've seen the author do better than this.

Abnormalindian
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This story takes a more nuanced look at the xianxia genre and the hero's journey that is typically portrayed in web novels. The story grabs you with a familiar but interesting hook that lures the reader in and leaves you wanting for more. The style and quality of the story are comparable to published works as the author really takes their time in building up the world surrounding the characters.

The characterization is where this story truly shines however as the motivations of each character are well established and the author has done their research on the cultural background of the tropes that are intrinsic to xianxia. When they give the reasoning behind the character actions that might seem nonsensical to a western reader but is actually common in eastern writing, it becomes clear that this story is a gem in the rough.

mano77
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well written xianxia story.  enjoying the mc personality and adventures.  

i'm not sure how the heart of cultivation is supposed to work.  guess i'll find out later!

huh not 200 words.  there's good worldbuilding, family, business, marriage complications!