This is a story about two sisters, Jun Arai and Jun Sana, and their friends, Juni, Ling and Shu who make their living as members of the Hunter Bureau, an organisation dedicated to dealing with the terrifying flora and fauna endemic to their home Great World. When they get dragged into a grand scheme to unpick the ancient secrets entombed within one its foremost forbidden zones in their world, the Yin Eclipse Mountains, they must all try to survive the dark machinations, eldritch undercurrents and the echoes of a terrible conflict trying re-emerge into an unsuspecting cosmos that had rather hoped it was done with that kind of thing a few eras hence.
So please come join Arai, Sana, Juni, Ling, Shu and the rest of my cast as they journey through strange lands, meet all kinds of unusual beings and unravel some of the power and glory of a land time tried very hard to forget.
I promise terrifying mushrooms, angry snakes, confused gods, even more confused cultivators and much, much more!
Update schedule: As chapters are done (1-2 chapters per week)
The new prologue has landed, it is currently the 'latest' release, and does not, yet, synch completely with the extant chapters in book 1.
Progress: currently up to chapter 10 of (provisionally) 11 or 12). Follow on edits to be done.
Genre-wise, this is a bit hard to pin down. It's technically a Xianxia (because cultivators!), but it also veers towards Xuanhuan and has more traditional High Fantasy elements and a bit of Gods and Monsters and All Myths Are (on some levels) Valid. It also has a fairly large, ensemble cast, so if multiple point's of view are not your thing I am sorry. It won't ever really be considered 'grimdark' by any real measure of that definition but it does go to some complicated and fairly places dark occasionally, which I will note in author pre-chapter notes when expedient!.
About the Author
I mainly write fiction for my own hobby, it makes a nice change from academic scribbling! I started writing this quite a number of years ago. It has grown somewhat organically out of a bunch of different interests in all kinds of Mythology, World Building, Drawing Maps, Archaeology, Anthropology, History and Epic Fantasy fiction into what it is today.
So I hope you enjoy the story and thanks for reading!
The cover is made by the author, using photos taken by the author.
There is a Discord Server- Please come and chat, but beware of spoilers.
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TLDR: great story, think mystery + xianxia + dungeon dive + Cthuhlu
This Xianxia stands out by asking the question: what is life like in a world where the powers at the top can literally control the strings of fate and actively, ruthlessly abuse it for their own personal gain? All too often Xianxia are simple power fantasies full of OP reincarnators, face-slapping powerhouses, and world-defying beauties. Now don't get me wrong this story has them, actually a fair amount to be honest. It's just that none of the main characters are one; no the MCs are intelligent, gutsy, and skilled but at the end of the day just normal people trying to survive a disaster as all the uber-powers wreck shit and old monsters out maneuver each other to twist fate to their own desired outcome. Seeing how the 5 friends and teammates surpass unfair nobles, encounter unfathomable Eldritch beings, and cope with the trama collected along the way, is engrossing. The author reveals an expansive, rich mystery through the smaller struggles of the MCs and makes us hope that the heavens aren't blind and that karma always comes due.
Half point off b/c story has typos, some problem sentences, and odd word choice here and there. Really needs a dedicated editor/reviewer to polish the minor rough edges.
This cultivation story, in addition to having highly detailed characters and plot, pulls off the feeling of grandeur that these stories always promise but never deliver.
Cultivation is always talking about exponential growth but in practice that ends up just being the same story repeated over and over at each new "realm". Memories of the Fall on the other hand does a brilliant job of describing in visceral detail how the different power levels operate and maintains that sense of awe and magic that the best of these stories delivers.
The plot at a meta level mirrors the basic character development cycle of these stories as well. What starts out as a small event slowly escalates and builds in both scope and stakes over time. The cast of characters expands along with the plot so you get a wider and wider view of the overall world(s) as the story continues.
Finally the characters, both protagonists and antagonists, have a wide range of motivations and backgrounds. You get everything from the entitled young master to all powerful deities who just want to make some spicy soup and don’t mind breaking a hole in reality to do so.
If you like cultivation stories I can unreservedly recommend this one and if you are not familiar with them this is an excellent story to start with.
I'm not a person who often reviews novels and in fact I'm someone who prefers to frequent this site without an account. However, I felt the need to log in and provide a review here.
Overall 5/5: I have read this novel until Chapter 50 (current release at date of review) and I have to say that so far I love it.
Style 5/5: The style of story we have here is something I've wanted to see for a long time. I'm a big fan of the cultivation genre but I'll be the first to admit that the genre often has a lot of pitfalls and cliché.
This novel possesses those clichés we see in normal cultivation novels but in a way that's akin to a deconstruction of the clichés. The clichés are known in the world of the story and are frequently brought up or mocked and in a way I find to be quite well done.
The world of the novel is arguably the main character as there is so so much depth to it, far more than I've come to expect from all but the best of 'cultivation' novels in the wuxia or xianxia genres.
The cultivation system used in the novel is also extremely deep and interesting. Calling it a 'system' might be a misnomer as there are many competing paths one can take to gain power and all of them are quite interesting to hear about. Luckily as we see the world primarily from the viewpoint of two extremely competent but ultimately relatively inexperienced girls and their friends, we get to learn a lot about the various paths alongside them.
Story 5/5: As with the world itself, the story is extremely deep and there are a large number of competing plots and intrigues going on at any one time. It is done extremely well and so far I've not felt it difficult to follow despite its depth.
I won't mention too much about the story but I will mention some broad strokes. The overall mystery of everything going on and the competing plots surrounding it is incredibly well thought out and very well executed. It feels like everything happening is very real and the way to reader can piece together some of the mysteries and plots (more than any singular character can anyways) but still leave a lot of them in the shadows to be found out later is very well executed as well.
As for the "main" story following our two main protagonists, I really enjoy it. Watching their journey as the try to advance through the extremely messed up situation they're in and try to puzzle their way out is rather enjoyable.
Grammar 4/5: Not much say here. The authors vocabulary is very extensive (or at least their use of a thesaurus is) and it's a nice change of pace from the very simplified language you get in most web fiction. There's nothing wrong with simplified language and it arguably lets you reach a wider audience. I just like the chance of pace and the vocabulary is very fitting as the novel often gets very philosophical with regards to the fictional world's nature.
I do have a few complaints. The author seems to mistake some words for some similar sounding words. An example would be using 'defiantly' instead of 'definitely' on a number of occasions. Additionally, I usually spot a few typos or omitted words per chapter but given that each chapter is something like 40 pages long, there's not that many mistakes in the grand scheme of things and you can almost always understand what was intended to be said.
Character 5/5: I like the Jun sisters a lot. They're the perfect foil to the very cliché young master types we see mocked in your novel. They're extremely competent and cautious when necessary and it's nice to see them put all of their knowledge to use in the ways they do.
I really like all of the secondary POV's as well and I like the nuggets of information we get from each of them that help us piece together bits and pieces of the larger plot.
I hate one of the villain characters, a lot. Luckily they're not featured directly often so their presence doesn't feel overwhelming. I think this is probably a very good place for a villain to be, hated but not there enough to transition into being annoying.
Conclusion: Overall, this novel is extremely solid on all fronts. It's currently one of my favourite novels on the site and I've reviewed in the hopes that more people will pick it up. It's deep and it's shaping up to be super long so I'm sure the commitment will stop some from reading it but I highly recommend those that like the idea of cultivation power systems in interesting worlds matched with very interesting and competent characters without the arrogance or clichés often seen in the protagonists of such novels.
Note: This site doesn't allow me to anything more accurate than half stars so I rounded up or down to the nearest half star on the various sections.
To the author: I wish you good luck with the novel and I hope you get to finish it. If the quality continues as it has, it may be one of my favourite 'cultivation world' novels.
Most of us have read or at least seen the books on first places of best rated list. Some of us even follow trending list closely. But this book has gone largely unnoticed. Thats such a shame.
If you ever wondered how would life in cultivation world look like - Here is the answer. Follow the adventures and misadventures of group herb gatherers stuck in the middle of fight between OP MCs. one-in-century-cultivation-talents, imperial princesses, reincarnators, ancient evils (multiple), ancient cultivators, large mountains, large clans, telepathic trees, and soul-eating-mushrooms. A lot of soul-eating-mushrooms. Be entranced by intrigues, betrayals, inter-dimensional politics, and generally - the best worldbuilding on this site.
This is not another simple cultivation novel. This isn't another face slapping, edgy wish fullfilment fest.
This is LOTR set in cultivation world. Only 50% longer.
Amazing worldbuilding. Best of the best.
Amazing characters. Best of the best.
Amazing story. Best of the best.
Rare grammatical errors - its 2500+ pages, there are bound to be some.
Confusing and lengthy writing style - its not for faint of heart, some knowledge about xianxia required.
It. Is. Worth. It. Do yourself a favour. Start reading it.
Best epigraphs ever. Don't skip them, they add way more color to the story than you might think.
I've never spent so much time reading and re-reading a story on this site. It's so good. Beautifully written, so many fun easter eggs, and so many storylines that actually connect and make sense. The only downside to so much lovely content is that there's so much of it. Is that a downside? Only for us smooth-brained folks.
The author uses multiple POVs, but each is given so much thought and insight that each one is interesting and actually adds to the story. The epigraphs are hands down the best I've seen on RR, and I've read a looot of content here.
The threads. There are so many, and each one on its own would be an epic. Rith somehow manages to weave them together into a wild tapestry that gives us so much to savor.
It's typical to find a mistake or two in almost any chapter of any story on this site. Same goes for this story. That being said, each chapter in MoTF is about 10-15x longer than the typical weekly release, so it's very impressive that there are such few mistakes in 30k+ word chapters. On top of that, the author regularly checks comments and fixes mistakes, so they're incredible rare here.
Hot damn. There are so many characters, so many personalities, and so many interactions. There are high-intensity moments, there are solo stories, and everything in between. There's even character development! What more could a reader ask for?
EDIT: Disclaimer - I am the editor for Chapter 104+, for the reworked early chapters, and for the currently-ongoing minor review pass of most of Book 1 and 2. However, I was not working on the story in any capacity at the time I wrote this review originally, which was back at Chapter... 102, I think?
Rith's style is unique. It reminds me more of Tolkien than it does of more 'standard' power/progression fantasy. I'd almost call it the literary opposite of a LitRPG in that regard, power is hard to quantify and in many ways very personal.
Things are described very well, or deliberately and effectively left without a complete description in the case of some of the more eldritch horror-esque elements.
Some reviewers complain about the PoV shifts, but while there are more different PoVs than most stories I've read I feel that they are used effectively and appropriately, and that they only have a positive impact on a story being told in the manner of this one.
One thing that sticks out about this story is that everything is important, and even the most obscure details might turn out to be important clues for something later on. On the one hand, that makes re-reading this story the closest thing I've experienced to the literal interpretation of that expanding brain meme format, but on the other hand it means it's really satisfying to suddenly realise that Thing A and Thing B are connected and have an 'ah hah!' moment.
Humour is used appropriately. Rith understands, I think, that if everything everywhere is grim all the time, it loses all meaning. There are some genuinely hilarious moments, and some that are just low-key funny.
Yes. Just... yes. The story is enormous. The immediate, ongoing plot lines are told from multiple perspectives, which is good because they're too complicated for any one character to see and understand everything that's happening.
The pacing is a bit inconsistent sometimes, an issue worsened slightly by the fact that the story is currently running in three separate places in which time is moving at three different rates. However, that inconsistency is mostly deliberate and used to make sections in which little of interest happens pass quickly, so it's fine. It is difficult to keep a coherent mental timeline running for this story, but that's a small price to pay for the sheer quantity of stuff that happens.
The early chapters feel a bit rushed, but they're supposed to get re-written at some point and it settles down reasonably quickly.
EDIT: The early chapters rework is happening – or has happened depending on when you're reading this – and biased I may be but most of the Discord server at least agrees with Rith and I that they're much better.
There is a very, very deep history to the setting which slowly reveals itself as the story progresses and requires either multiple readings or inhuman attention to detail to catch the entirety of. Events referenced in one of the three concurrent timelines provide extra (mostly optional) context for what's happening in another, and that's not even getting started on the incredibly well-utilised 'lore blurbs' that every chapter bar... one, I think, starts with.
The post-release editing is strong with this one. This is easily the weakest aspect of this story, although I'm inclined to believe that is in large part due to the sheer number of words available to make mistakes with. The most recent chapter as of this review is roughly 19k words long, which is a lot. Still, Rith does act on edit suggestions, so nitpick as necessary.
Update: Grammar score changed from 3.5 to 4.5 as of Chapter 100, because Rith has an editor now and, while there's still a fair bit of post-release editing, it's much better than it was.
EDIT v2: Uhh... now that I'm the editor and am involved in a pass over most of what was written before I got involved as well, I'm really not sure what to say about this category that doesn't come across as either self-aggrandizing or self-deprecating. We're trying our best?
The characters in this story are both interesting and varied. It is unfortunate that some of the minor supporting cast vary all the way into 'absolute twat' territory, to the point where I fail to see how a society that regularly churns out such entitled morons has managed to reach interstellar dominance. However, the protagonists are believable and entertaining and the majority of the supporting cast are, at the very least, entertaining.
The protagonists are not the typical Xianxia fare, Young Noble types with far too much money, luck and supply of ancient artifacts or cultivation laws. Instead, they are lower-class mooks of the sort that most Xianxia like to pretend don't exist. Not a lot of money, only the regular amount of luck and their choice of either an ancient artifact OR an OP cultivation art.
I jest, of course, but only to illustrate that if you're here for what is apparently the standard of Xianxia protagonists, the closest thing you'll find is a villain written as a deliberate parody of those types of character. I don't read Xianxia, so I don't know for sure, but that's what the discussion I had recently on this story's Discord server leads me to believe.
Eldritch abominations, some cute and some not: check.
Believable characters: mostly check, the ridiculous ones are, I think, written as they are to make a point.
Rich history, deep lore: Yes, this is not, to paraphrase another review, a 'smooth brain' story.
I could say more, but I feel it would be redundant. Just read it, ideally for more than just the first ten or so chapters, and then judge it for yourself. Also, the Discord is a fun place to be, but I'd get up to date on the story first, since a lot of our discussions will be very spoilery for the unwary.
I have read this novel up to 93 chapter and am now re-reading it to get all of the foreshadowing that I missed the first time.
Memories of the Fall is a brilliant story with an excellent storyline with great quality, save for some typos that are very quickly fixed with the help of the community.
The world feels actually lived in, the worldbuilding is deep, so deep actually that at first glance, things seem to be confusing but that impression quickly fades when the real action starts.
It has so much potential that it's incomparable to other stories on RR.
When I read Xianxia stories I pay special attention to the magic system and the spells/techniques - this story excells in this department:
The cultivation scriptures have cool names but also have the substance that usual stories lack.
The spells/techniques have a consistent system to which they adhere and the power progression is fleshed out pretty quickly.
All around great story, very worth the read.
Memories of the Fall is a brilliantly crafted story that exceeds in both quality and scope almost anything on RoyalRoad. For those skimming trending lists, you might see only 69 chapters and choose to wait for more, but these are not your normal RR chapters. With over 3000 pages written and hundreds more going up every week this story is not for a single sitting.
The world is hugely complex, the worldbuilding is deep, with multiple factions. Everything from local city politics, to cosmic scale factions. MotF is closer in scope to Game of Thrones than your average eastern cultivation fantasy. Perspective changes are frequent, especially early, and you might have to reread to keep them straight because you aren't likely to plow through 3000 pages in one sitting.
If the story has one failing it is that for readers who have never been introduced to eastern cultivation stories, this might not be the best introduction. Just like all modern fantasy draws from the shared cultural understanding of Tolkien, MotF requires a certain understanding of eastern fantasy concepts. If you hear the world cultivator and thing of someone who grows crops, MotF is the deep end of the pool. The story takes tropes from the genre and expands them into a believable world that feels more lived-in than almost any cultivation I have seen.
If you are a fan of eastern fantasy, or just of great worldbuilding you won't be disappointed in MotF.
Well written, convincing characters and a world that feels alive.
As of now, I would recommend the story.
The few things that I'm a bit iffy about is that the story feels very ambitious many characters and plot points are introduced quite quickly at the start since most of the authors on RR are hobbyists it's hard to judge if the author can deliver on what looks like a complex story. In addition, the color-coding feels superfluous. There some minor spelling errors like missing letters slipped by, I suggest Grammarly for fixing those errors.
Update Where I aim to add some meat to the review. I still stand by my recommendation and criticism.
May contain some minor spoilers.
The first "book" has a strange structure we are introduced briefly to sisters Jun Sana and Arai, and then we spend most of the time focused on other things - mainly their three friends.
This works surprisingly well the three are well written and their adventure suspenseful. We get glimpses of the sisters every so often just to make sure they are alive. This plotline often feels superficial nothing much is happening, most of the time, until it does. This makes for a strange structure the mains are getting little attention while the side characters get the glory.
In the second part (book?) things, get switched around we get a lot of Jun sisters and much less of the unhappy three friends. Around 1/3.
This is perhaps a weak point for the story as the author attempts to fill the blanks left from the fast-paced first part often mired in info dumps, most of the time it's OK but some chapters are just a huge info dump. Rith is aware of the issue and just recently rewrote and restructured a chapter. This is probably the best sign for the story in the long term – the author works to improve (a story that is quite good already).
Another thing I would like to see worked on is Sana and Arai as characters, while the trio that takes center stage at the beginning are challenged for the prizes they stumble upon and grow as characters as a result, the sisters feel much more static.
The colored text still does not add anything; coupled with the ultra-large letters it is often accompanying it becomes a hazard if you read on a phone.
Chapter 100 edit: I mean, I just have to return the .5 stars I docked from the style category because of the handling of the magic system relative to the characters in the narrative. It's just too crazy. This story is just too good.
Original review, where the style score i gave was a 4.5 rather than a 5:
It's a testament to how good I think this is that I feel like I have to explain myself for docking half a star off the style category before I start.
Grammar (because this category only matters when it's bad): Obviously, it's good. I think this is an objective matter. There aren't mistakes that are immediately obvious - I'm sure I could find people pointing them out if i dug through the comments of every chapter or something, but to me if finding errors is decently rare, this has to be scored a 5.
Style: A story like this can't be for everyone - no matter how much I wish everyone would read it. The penalty comes from how carefully it has to be read. Now that in itself cannot be a problem during the actual reading of the story. The issue is one of format - this is published every few days and it's hard to remember the many, many names of, well, everything. I consider myself at least a decently careful reader but (as a real, recent example) confusing Bright Dream and Bright Fortune leads to a lot of confusion when plot lines from many chapters ago start resolving - or at least progressing.
Story/Character: That of course brings me to the story itself. This is a category which is inextricably linked, in my opinion - more so in this story than most. Where do I start, really. There are many characters in this. I'm not talking like epic 5000 pages of western fantasy many. I'm talking like eastern classics many. Myriad, even.
Of the many, there are a few POV characters. By a few, I still actually mean many. But how can there not be - I estimate that around 5 or 6 of the pov characters who aren't the main cast (our set of 2+3 protagonists) would qualify as the sole protagonist of their own story. And those stories would be good too.
This story is excellent in a way that stands out because of how hard it is to not care about certain parts of the story - even though the first inclination of the reader is to pay more attention to the marquee point of view characters, the more intermittent stories are written with so much of that excellence that it feels okay to step away from the "main" story.
I have many very, very nice things to say about pretty much all the pov characters - so I'll actually talk about the villain of the piece instead.
In xianxia it's often the case that the villain to be conquered is the reader's suspension of disbelief about exactly how great the protagonist is. This is the case with many, many xianxia staples - and will continue to be. That's just a foible of the genre (and progression fantasy on a whole). That's why Memories of the Fall is uniquely noteworthy.
It's such a deft answer to the problem of meaningful villains that's genre wide because the story uses this problem - the main antagonist is, by and large, what you'd expect a relatively amoral xianxia protagonist to look like to the world. And this is a beautiful solution because somehow in a genre where people fight over what omnipotence means, there's a satisfying villain who doesn't rank amongst any of the godlike entities that make an appearance.
For someone who might not have read much xianxia hasn't been exposed to the many egregious acts of most xianxia protagonists, it's easy to end up rooting for, well, mostly everyone in the story to succeed at stopping him. There's something so pesky about the things the antagonist does to get out of trouble.
For someone who has read a lot of xianxia, it's even better than that. The annoyance built by the entirety of the genre over every plot hole, every ass pull, every sudden and dramatic non sequitur deus ex machina in everything you've ever read drives your rage towards the antagonist. Reading about the things he's done, you'll realize you've never been so mad.
So, uh, read it. Or don't - it's your loss if you don't. Every time I recommend this to anyone I know, they don't want to read it because of all kinds of stupid reasons. And then when they do, they love it.
I've shilled this story so many times that I thought I owed it a review. There's actually so, so many reasons why I think it's great, so I just picked my favorite one.