This story is dropped. I'm sorry.
In short: Weak to strong, but there's always someone stronger. Wholesome twins try to navigate a cruel and selfish world.
When a mystic has reached the peak of their world’s growth, they are able to ascend, leaving it behind in favor of a higher, more potent plane. Since the dawn of existence, ambitious prodigies have pushed the boundary of what seems possible, ascending beyond countless worlds in search of the peak.
Hong Tang Kiro… is not one of those geniuses. However, his twin sister just might be. Secluded on a border world and selected for their talent in fire mana, the siblings are unknowing participants of a centuries-long experiment, hosted by a powerful eccentric on the verge of immortality. Follow the twins as they learn of and attempt to escape their predicament, before venturing out into the wider world(s).
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So, true story, I haven't actually read any cultivation stories before this one. And wow! It's great for a first-timer to cut their teeth on the trappings of the genre.
The worldbuilding is lovely and detailed, while the characters are eager and raw. Wholesome doesn't even begin to describe the bond between the main siblings. Even sixty-some pages in, the Saint stands above everyone as a unique figure - likely one with connotations that a genre-savvy reader would better understand and appreciate.
The grammar is excellent and the dialogue conveys the scenes so naturally! Epistolary interjections - or, to be less pretentious, when the author chooses to have characters exchange notes - keep the reader entertained while delivering a ton of information.
I'm hooked, and I cannot wait to learn more about the genre through this fantastic story.
Overall: the story's setting seems to fit the narrative and the characters interact very believably. Aside from some minor pacing issues at the start, I thoroughly enjoyed the progress the plot was making each chapter.
Style: Third person omniscient narration fits the novel well. It let's you really get into the thoughts and feelings of the charcters
So far seems like a pretty page-turning start to a great xuanhuan. The plot seems to always be progressing forward at a believable pace, which makes it a pleasurable read.
Grammar: nothing too noticeable so I'd say its good grammar!
Character: The characterization is very well done, bravo author. I look forward to the twins' relationship developing more!
Among the giants is a fun cultivation story with likable main cast.
Style - 4.5/5,
The story moves forward at a great pace, you never get stuck in one place for too long.
There are plenty of descriptions and very vivid fight scenes, my only other complaint is the short chapter length, though it's not a big issue.
Gramma - 5/5,
Everything is written every nicely.
Story - 5/5,
Like previously stated the story moves pretty quickly, it follows a cast ranging from under dogs to big important people of high rank.
Character - 5/5,
The characters are great, without going into spoiler territory, I have to say my favourite character is a certain saint ;)
The characters feel real and relatable.
Overall, while I'm not really a big fan of cultivation stories I became really invested with this on,
It took me maybe ten chapters to click the follow button and I reccomend you consider doing the same because this story deserves more attention for sure.
Albeit still in its early days, The Precipice of Power is to date a wonderful read to ease newcomers to the genre (such as myself) into the wonderful world of xianxia.
The first thing I noticed going in to Precipice was its light, easy and engaging reading style. I had no problems following what was happening, the prose flowed easily, and the pacing was just right. The near-flawless grammar - not to be sniffed at! - also contributed to a genuinely fun and relaxing reading experience. So I had an inkling I was going to be in for a good read.
The story didn't prove me wrong. It starts off with a fairly standard fantasy plot with a few familiar tropes bolstered by quality world-building. I've somehow gotten this far in life without having read many stories with Chinese cultural influences, so I greatly enjoyed this aspect of the story and its integration into a wholly original fantasy universe.
At the heart of this story is its world's cultivation-obsessed society and entrenched class inequality. We follow Kiro, a budding alchemist and lowly Sun, struggling to survive the daily injustices inflicted on this most unfortunate echelon of society. By contrast, his sister Seira has won the lottery, born into the supposedly privileged life of a high-ranking Brave. The story follows their combined struggles and attempts to navigate the demanding roles they were born into by chance.
So, a well-executed if not entirely original concept. Perfectly decent.
Except that then this seemingly innocuous plot gets clever.
You'll know it when you see it. Not going to lie, I didn't see it coming and was impressed. This is the kind of story which lulls you into a false sense of security only to pull the rug out from under you, and does it in such a way as to make perfect sense. And in just fifteen chapters! No spoilers here, but the story gets an easy five stars from me.
It's not all perfect: the weakest part of Precipice so far for me is its characters, in particular the antagonists. Our protagonists are well-realised and sympathetic, and the supporting characters are about as fleshed out as you'd expect for fifteen chapters in, but the minor antagonists have definitely all attended the same villain school. And while there are obvious setting and story-related reasons behind these portrayals, it nevertheless results in certain actions and events coming across a little flimsy at times.
That said, other than the potential for just a touch more overall polish, that's really my only criticism to be had here. Precipice of Power is not only a well-written, compelling and enjoyable read, but one whose plot surprised and delighted me and sets me up with high expectations for the xianxia genre. I have no hesitation in saying I'm excited to continue on.
Awesome, but the Satire tag should be replaced with Tragedy and Grimdark.
Those with anger management problems should avoid reading it, as I nearly strangled my imaginary cat on a few occasions.
The Precipice of Power does a great job of getting the reader invested from the very first chapter. It's a cultivation story blended with some more Western elements, and it works quite well in giving the story its own unique flavor. The author also does a good job maintaining the balance of worldbuilding/establishing mechanics of the world with action and plot.
The weak, abused protagonist is a pretty common trope, but while the story does make sure to establish how rough the main characters have had it, it doesn't dwell on the angst that often comes with the territory, which is something I found quite refreshing. The time skip after the first chapter is a welcome shift away from the two main characters as completely helpless children to them as young adults who are still struggling but are able to strive to actually improve their situation. That's not to say the main characters are unfazed by their predicaments, just that their outlooks don't become hateful and vengeful, but rather focus on self-improvement. They seek power so they can protect each other, rather than wanting to be strong enough to destroy those who wronged them.
As for the side cast, I really enjoyed the introduction of Aer, a whimsical deity who plans to mentor one of the protagonists, and I look forward to seeing how she shakes things up in the story. One issue I did have is that, with the introduction of so many characters and perspectives, some of the side characters (particularly Rynn and Mai) don't get as much characterization as I feel they should, although since it's early in the story there's still time for them to be more fleshed out.
I didn't notice any issues with grammar, and the writing style and pacing makes for a smooth read.
Overall, this has been a very enjoyable read so far!
What we have here is a very intriguing start to a cultivation story that seems tailor-made to present some kind of societal shakeup in the typical "spirit-world caste-divided" world.
Now here's the thing, I hate cultivation stories. I don't think they're ever done properly and it descends into "OP MC WAAAGH."
Nameless doesn't do that. He's setting up a group of five people, all of whom want something to change in their lives due to a rather strict and quite relatable caste system imposed on them. They all want a better lot in life, a mentor, to use their talents, to pursue love, and in the case of this mysterious Saint that seems to be observing the other four, she seems to want to shake things up. I would talk more about the characters but it's pretty early on in the story but I don't want to spoil them. Suffice to say, they're quite fleshed out given what I have to read.
I'd say perhaps the best part of The Precipice of Power is how it characterizes the caste system it has set up its characters in. It's unjust, very easy to hate, and it hurts all of the characters no matter their power levels. I love it. It's a good reflection of modern/contemporary inequality in class systems and their flaws.
All in all, I'd certainly say this story is one to keep an eye on.
The tension rattles me.
There's a buildup toward something big here, some sort of world-encompassing plot bound to end in a satisfying, climactic battle. We're only at the beginning of the characters' journeys to inevitable godhood, but I can't wait for its conclusion. In a good way, of course.
Let's first outline our characters. This will help us during the remainder of the review as well.
The MC is a talented alchemist with no magic. His goal? Use the former to obtain the latter. He's not too fleshed out just yet, but the story so far has shown him to be passionate, driven, and somewhat daring.
- MC's sister
MC's sister's mother hates MC for his lack of magic and obsesses over MC's sister due to her talent for it. It's a classic dynamic, and her character is strengthened by her consistent rejection of the rift her mother tries to place between her and her brother. Her excited, aloof personality does add quite a bit to every section he's in.
- MC's sister's brother's mother
MC's sister's brother's father's father-in-law's daughter is a hell of a character. She revels in the pain she brings upon the MC and his sister and does all in her power to make both suffer. Whether it's her rampant perfectionism or prejudice toward non-mystics, she's in for a hell of a curb-stomp as soon as the MC and/or his sister ascend.
- Spirit Woman
A wounded cultivator who's cultivated a little further beyond. Classic xianxia stuff, but also compassionate to a fault. Gets MC's Sister on board as an apprentice.
- Random Couple
A mystic and non-mystic who want to bang but can't due to classism. The non-mystic man consults/is consulted by Spirit Woman to gain enough strength to take down the mystic woman's father. They're both neat and they do add a decent amount to Spirit Woman's character.
All in all, the characters don't make a massive effort to steer clear of tropes. But, reading through the interactions of these characters was quite enjoyable - considering that composed the majority of the story so far, I'd say that's pretty good.
Suffering is constant in this world. You get to see each character cope with their own kind of suffering and either use it or submit to it.
Humanity is divided into two classes - Suns and Braves. Braves can cultivate, Suns cannot; prejudice permeates the fabric of this society as a result. Vain racists and power-hungry matriarchs don't help this in the least.
Glimpses of hope often shine through this darkness and make this story worthwhile. Prominent examples include MC's Sister, the Spirit Woman, and the Random Couple. They ignore society's trappings, discard its meaningless rules, fight back (occasionally) against its undesirable offspring, and live in accordance with their own values. Their story arcs move forward sometimes independently, and sometimes together. It's really nice to see their interactions, but even better to see them come together.
A three centuries-long saga overarches these character interactions. It's incredible how far the author is willing to break this world down so early in the story and it's all the better for it. Now that those secrets have been peeled back, I've got no choice but to read every chapter until MC's mother's daughter's father's wife's mother's husband's granddaughter's mother's demise.
It's effective. Not perfect, but effective - and that's all that matters.
Dialogue seems to be the main flavor of this work. That's not to say speech saturates its pages; characters' minds and actions contribute to conversations as much as their spoken words. Most quirks, personality traits, and thoughts are simply laid bare.
General character interactions are nicely done as well. I was rarely confused as to what was going on and where, which is a rarity on Royal Road. There's no flowery prose, fancy word choices or long descriptions, but there's no need for them - efficiency is all that's really needs.
The action so far has mostly been descriptions of flexes, so not too much to judge by so far. A major battle with major stakes is yet to come.
Adverbs are scattered through the prose like Soleimani's intestines across Baghdad's National Airport. Passive voice bears over verbs and subjects without mercy or relent. Participial phrases plague paragraphs and wreak havoc on the space-time continuum.
But, I'm exaggerating a little. It rarely detracts from the actual prose at hand or the characters' actions. More of a style thing as well - spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and so forth is near-flawless.
The Precipice of Power is a cultivation novel that's only just getting started. Based on what I've read so far, the story has amazing promise and I'm eager to see where it goes, as it feels like it could go on for a while :D
Nameless (the author) has an excellent narrative voice. The prose is very easy to read while still being clear, and Nameless also uses an appropriate amount of imagery (not too much so as to overwhelm, but well-placed to add a punch and emphasize scenes). Some phrases could be made more concise, though that's hardly worth taking off a star.
I'm excited for the story that's been set up so far. We have a progression fantasy world where there are people who are weak and strong. To be strong is to have the power to do what you want, to stand at the peak and look down on mortals below.
So far, seems like the setup for most other cultivation novels. But there's a twist. What if the characters are rewarded for being decent human beings?
Perhaps this doesn't sound mind blowing. In a way it almost reminds me of reading/watching Naruto, in the sense that Naruto won in the end by believing in the power of friendship and breaking the chains of revenge. Very similar vibes here with Nameless' story, and I promise that I mean that in the best way (I'm in the camp of people who think that Naruto is flawed, but awesome).
Wholesome vibes! Hero-I-wanna-get-behind vibes! Making-the-universe-a-better-place vibes! The story feels very shounen, but also familiar and satisfying, while also fresh. As someone who has seen and read a bunch of shounen, the story felt exciting and well-thought-out, not cookie-cutter.
Nameless has spent time rewriting and revising the book and it shows. Grammar is nearly perfect and the author is very quick to fix anything. Nameless seems to value grammar/phrasing/quality of prose highly and is very open and appreciative of constructive criticism, as seen in the comments section.
The main characters so far are unique from one another and have their own motivations. These motivations and character connections don't feel haphazard, but rather carefully planned.
The motivations of the main villain as of so far are believable while also still being inexcusable: You can understand her while still recognizing that she's firmly in the wrong.
One point worth mentioning is that some of the side characters in the world feel needlessly violent and inflict domestic abuse on their kids without batting an eye. I recognize that there's a theme of zealotry going on, but it seems as though these parents don't love their kids at all. I don't think it's relevant to the plot, but in terms of delivery, it could be good to show a bit more mental anguish on the parent's side. (Perhaps Mai's father?)
Tl;dr The Precipice of Power is a fresh, satisfying progression fantasy adventure channeling classic shounen good vs evil vibes. The author has created a world that is unique and well-thought-out and has demonstrated the ability to both write excellent prose and believable characters.
Excellent world-building, although off-loading the plot and backstory in a 3 chapter exposition was a bit uncomfortable.
The characters are being developed and seem mostly believable and well rounded. At this point, it seems Kiro is the main character. The others being secondary.
I am eagerly awaiting more.