Memories of the Fall

Memories of the Fall

by Rith
Editor: SalvationKing0

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity

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, though you can pick up most story threads from chapter four (old)

Progress: currently up to chapter 14 - follow on edits and merger of later chapters in progress.



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!


Other stuff

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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Rith

Rith

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Book 1: Embers in the Wind, Chapter 1 – Days We Hate ago
Chapter 2 – Perspectives on Origins ago
Chapter 3 – Home and Hearth ago
Chapter 4 – Into the Valleys We Go ago
Chapter 5 – Be Careful What You Break ago
Chapter 6 – What Goes Around? ago
Chapter 7 – Higher and Further ago
Chapter 8 – Acceleration ago
Chapter 9 – Uncertainty ago
Chapter 10 – Flight ago
Chapter 11 – Machination ago
Chapter 12 – Escalation ago
Chapter 13 – Epiphany ago
Chapter 14 – Turmoil ago
Chapter 15 – Into Darkness ago
Chapter 16 – The Final Day ago
Chapter 17 – Crossed Paths ago
Chapter 18 – From Darkness, Descent ago
Chapter 19 – Among Mere Mortals ago
Chapter 20 – What the Heart Seeks? ago
Chapter 21 – Encroaching Darkness ago
Chapter 22 – The Hungry Dark ago
Chapter 23 – The Perilous Realm ago
Chapter 24 – Great Arrivals ago
Chapter 25 – A Day in the Midst of Carnage ago
Chapter 26 – Vestigial Remnants ago
Chapter 27 – What is the reality here!? ago
Chapter 28 – Desperation is One Hell of a Drug! ago
Chapter 29 – Three’s a Crowd ago
Chapter 30 – Broken Places ago
Chapter 31 – Waking Nightmare ago
Chapter 32 – Anomaly!?! ago
Chapter 33 – From Darkness, Ascent ago
Chapter 34 – Permutations Advance... ago
Chapter 35 – The Geometry of Chance ago
Chapter 36 – Fate Shattering the Odds. ago
Book 1 Epilogue (Chapter 37) – These Are Not the Valleys We Were Looking For! ago
Glossary & Terms (WIP) ago
Book 2: Into the Unknown, Prologue (Chapter 38) – Out of the Ashes ago
Chapter 39 – Into Evergrove ago
Chapter 40 – City of Broken Dreams ago
Chapter 41 – St Roberta's Academy ago
Chapter 42 – Unravelling ago
Chapter 43 – The Undergrove ago
Chapter 44 – Persistent Hostilities ago
Chapter 45 – Unrelenting Pressure ago
Chapter 46 – Frenetic Pursuit ago
Chapter 47 – Eldritch Hell ago
Chapter 48 – It's Not Just the Mushrooms We Hate! ago
Chapter 49 – We Bring Destruction, Certification Guaranteed! ago
Chapter 50 – The Spear ago
Chapter 51 – Of Squirrels and Men ago
Chapter 52 – Red Dust ago
Chapter 53 – New Neighbours ago
Chapter 54 – Rats Are Also on the List! ago
Chapter 55 – Melee, Darkness, Refinement ago
Chapter 56 – Advancing, Don't Disturb You Blasted Things! ago
Chapter 57 – Esoterica Redux ago
Chapter 58 – Somehow, Circumstances Defy… ago
Chapter 59 – Remuneration ago
Chapter 60 – Onward Bound ago
Chapter 61 – Sustained Aggravation ago
Chapter 62 – Counterstrike ago
Chapter 63 – Breaking Through ago
Chapter 64 – From Shan Lai with Gifts ago
Chapter 65 – Undrenmarsh ago
Chapter 66 – Brush with Immortality ago
Chapter 67 – Serpents Here… Obstacles There… ago
Chapter 68 – Jungle Diplomacy ago
Chapter 69 – Lightning is Super Effective ago
Chapter 70 – Difficult Choices ago
Chapter 71 – Return to the Depths ago
Chapter 72 – Brush with Hell ago
Chapter 73 – The Soup of Wisdom ago
Chapter 74 – The Paths We Seek ago
Book 2 Epilogue – Shifts ago
Book 3: Into the Perilous Realm, Prologue – The Geometry Changes ago
Chapter 75 – Ruins and Riddles ago
Chapter 76 – A Thousand Cuts ago
Chapter 77 – What Lies Beneath ago
Chapter 78 – What Lurks in Green Shadow? ago
Chapter 79 – Rampage as One ago
Chapter 80 – Through Fire and Fury ago
Chapter 81 – Breakdown ago
Chapter 82 – Thieves and Cheats ago
Chapter 83 – Shatterpoint ago
Chapter 84 – Out of the Forests ago
Chapter 85 – Symbols ago
Chapter 86 – What Ill Thing Walks amid Tall Grasses? ago
Chapter 87 – Net of Rage ago
Chapter 88 – What Terrors Stir upon the Field of War… ago
Chapter 89 – Not Least Those We Unleash for Ourselves! ago
Chapter 90 – To Dance among the Lightning Bolts ago
Chapter 91 – Battlefield Torn Asunder ago
Chapter 92 – Adjustment ago
Chapter 93 – The Epic Quest for Spicy Soup ago
Chapter 93e – From Salt, with Love ago
Chapter 94 – Currents amid the Sea of Grass ago
Chapter 95 – Towards Udrasa ago
Chapter 96 – Geomancy of Advancement ago
Chapter 97 – Nightmare Awakened ago
Chapter 98 – Ancient Duel ago
Chapter 99 – Auriga ago
Chapter 100 – Flower of Fortune ago
Chapter 101 – Androphonos ago
Chapter 102 – Epitumbidia ago
Chapter 103 – Daybreak ago
Chapter 104 – The Drift of Circumstance ago
Chapter 105 – A Question of Principle ago
Chapter 106 – Buranuna Days ago
Chapter 107 – New Day, New Problems ago
Chapter 108 – Heaven and Earth ago
The Red Pit – Book One Prologue (new) ago
Chapter 1 – Rains on the East Wind (new) ago
Chapter 2 – What the Day Brings (new) ago
Chapter 3 – Difficulties Abound (new) ago
Chapter 4 – The Days We Hate (New) ago
Chapter 5 – Wrath and Ruins (new) ago
Chapter 6 – Ripples in the Pond (new) ago
Chapter 7 – Wind and Waves (new) ago
Chapter 8 – Wet Season ft. Mangos (new) ago
Chapter 9 – A New Year (new) ago
Chapter 10 – The Queen Mother's Day (new) ago
Chapter 11 – The Patriarch's Birthday (new) ago
Chapter 12 – The Pictures We Paint (New) ago
Chapter 13 – The Sovereign’s Eve (Part 1) ago
Chapter 13 – The Sovereign’s Eve (Part 2) ago
Chapter 14 – Sovereign’s Day (Part 1) ago
Chapter 14 – Sovereign’s Day (Part 2) ago

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Reviews
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FuujinSama
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Exploration Horror Meets Xianxia and it’s Great

Reviewed at: Chapter 108 – Heaven and Earth

 The Style is distinctive and on point. The chapters are long and juicy. The lore blurbs hint at all the depth we aren't shown. The prose is dense and evocative. The sayings and cadence of speech evokes a different culture in a very immersive way. Through the weeks I spent reading the story I kept having to stop myself from describing things as auspicious or inauspicious. Truly brilliant. Furthermore, in matters of style, I must reference the use of colors and fonts to enhance the reading experience is the best I've seen. They enhance the experience and provide a very visceral and real emotional response.

The Grammar is excellent. The novel is very well written and that includes the editing, Not a lot more to mention in this point. It's a parameter where perceived perfection is expected and this work meets that standard. 

The Story is brilliant. Unlike most books in the genre, where the plot is an excuse for progression, Memories of the Fall greets us with a very full and real universe where characters have distinct motivations. Amidst this, the real stories turn into a survival horror of sorts that borders on a reconstruction of the progression action genre. Reconstruction because while the consequences for all the mind warping horror are real the story does not deny us the progression pay off. Our characters do get stronger. We get to see them progress and become their best selves despite all the horror they endure. 

I must mention the rich world building again. Because while the story is very focused on the protagonists, for the most part, in the background there's a rich world of political intrigue to rival stories like A Song of Ice and Fire. The web of alliances between different clans, families and sects interacts seamlessly with the alien society of axis field spanning, immortal led, empires. The story is ambitious in scope and, in my opinion, has yet to fail to meet its ambitions. 

The characters are wonderful. This is not a character study or anything of the sort. Yet the characters interact seamlessly and believably with their environment without ever seeming out of place or misguided in motivation. The villains are especially good. The survival horror context of much of the story means it takes a while for the characters to shine through. At points, the twin main characters feel almost indistinguishable. Yet the haunting story carries us through until we gradually get to know these characters and their quirks. And everything, even perceived flaws in characterization, has an appropriate pay off in due time.

Not to say the story is *perfect*. It's long and wordy. I thoroughly enjoy that aspect but some scenes could've been shortened and trimmed a bit. It is also in the process of a major rework to the beginning of the book, and I can't wait to read the new and improved version in its totality. 

If anything, leave it as a mark of how much I enjoyed the story, that I finished reading the now 2 million word story and immediately considered a re-read. This story is amazing. Read it.

zenturen
Overall

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.

Dahak
Overall

All should bow before this daddy of a story.

Reviewed at: Chapter 13 – The Sovereign’s Eve (Part 2)

Excellent, all the arrogant face-slapping young masters were portrayed as fools and villains instead of heroes who can do no wrong.

Actually has worldbuilding, character development and an ensemble of protagonists with more depth than a cardboard cut out.

Those who leave 0.5 reviews are fools who court death.

 

Do not read if you do not like long chapters, a large cast, multiple protagonists, heroines and heros facing actual hardship and difficulty, the possibility that violence is not a perfect solution or chapters that digress to see what secondary characters are up to out side the sight of the protagonists.

WalkerOfTheVoid
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Deep dive into cultivation in a unique way

Reviewed at: Chapter 36: Fate Shattering the Odds.

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. 

 

Wronie
Overall

Best book you've never read (on this site).

Reviewed at: Chapter 40: City of Broken Dreams

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.

acids3
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Instead of reading this drag of a review, you should just start reading the story!

If you cannot be persuaded let me reveal Mount Tai before your eyes, or as it is otherwise known as: Memories of The Fall.

It will not be for everybody, but everybody should try. Rith has created a vast and complicated world, where things are not always what they seem, and our heroines and hero have to overcome actual challenges to recieve their rewards.

The story does not throw us of the deep end, no it throws us directly into the ocean, and just like the characters the reader may struggle a bit at times. As with all works with several perspectives in several places, there can be a lot of names, but Rith has created a glossary for all of you who can't read on if you don't know exactly who and what is talking (think song of ice and fire level of names). I personally let the action flow, and remember what I can and don't stick it to the details. 

Quite untraditionally Rith has not refrained from including very powerfull cultivators from the start of the story. Unlike many other stories where the characters surrounding the main characters are similar in strength, Rith tries to more realistically descripe the world, meaning that the power levels don't increase with the characters but to some degree remain static as the characters gains strength. This means that most if not all are more powerfull than the main characters. (There are of course several scenes where the power of the adversies are adjusted to the strength of characters in the scene, but that is necessary to create a story where it isn't just smack down after smack down, even though there are quite a few of those smacks.)

Another point regarding story is foreshadowing, goddamn is Rith good at that. The incorporation of previously mentioned elements, and "random" bits of knowledge combine in a fantastic way, and the reader can speculate and experience several aha moments later in the story, if they think about the stuff being talked about. 

The very last point regarding story is the dao of trolling, which Rith has displayed a deep understanding of, and several of the shitstain characters experience this in hilarious ways. Of course I am still awaiting the trolling of some vile characters, but I sleep at night knowing that they will spit blood, when faced with the dao of trolling. 

The style itself is decriptive but does not tell everything with the changes of perspective the picture and action gradually gets clearer or foggier for the reader. It has worked very well up to the latest chapter, and I don't see a reason why it would not continue to do so. Otherwise the style is flowing, and Rith incorporates psyche in a way that few other authors on the site have done succesfully. The use of colours additionally helps to understand the actions, thus creating a more flowing experience without constantly wasting words on descriping the tone of a voice.

The characters in the story truly struggle. They are thrown into a very deep ocean and are from the start struggling to breathe. The development is beatifully done, and reflects several elements of the human psyche that rarely get portrayed as well as they do here. There has been mentions in the comments that some characters were undeserving of their attainmaints (Han Shu) or generally annoying (Ling Lin), recent events have in my mind ground these down, so even though they may be annoying in some arcs of the story, rest assured that they will come around.

The trope of greedy and vile noble cultivators is taken to a new high in the story, and that may be one of the only complaints I have with it. Even though the sense of entitlement and greed they experience is explained, I, in some ways, struggle to accept that all the nobles behave like this. Not that all of them have, but up till now all the noble characters that the main characters have interacted with have to a varying degree been a bad character. (Cang Di for example is not noble born, but a commoner, and is one of the only upstanding strong cultivators they have directly interacted with. Mini-spoiler: Even the cultivators that saved them from Argent/Jade only did so because of greed, spitting the other sects in the face and to respect Cang Di's wishes.)

Grammar (including shifts in perspective)

It's 5400 pages, so what do you expect? There are a few mistakes, but compared to the length of the story, and that it is not currently Rith's fulltime job, it can't get much better. He also tries to get back to chapters and correct mistakes that get pointed out, so yeah there are mistakes, but very few tense and subject-verb (I think it's called) mistakes. So unlike this review where you can probably find a few, expect next to none seen in relation to the length of chapters.

Lastly, thank you very much for creating this story Rith! It has truly been amazing to discover and read over the last couple of weeks, and I will read the rest of the story with glee. That something like this is a hobby/partimeproject and freely available on the internet is both amazing and a bit scandalous to me, so I will try to support you in the ways I can.

Mundane
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

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.

 

portlandphil
Overall

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.

rincewind
Overall

hello, I recently started reading memories of the fall, just got to the beginning of the second volume, I wanted to drop by to say to the author that I believe you are writing one of the best progression fantasy novels out there! The story starts kinda slow but then rapidly picks up the pace. Characters are amazing and i love how they can be sometimes unreliable narrators. I also absolutely recommend this story for whoever appreciates lovercraftian horror stories as this theme is extremely well executed.

O

SalvationKing0
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Distinctly Complicated, in All the Best Ways

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 – Wrath and Ruins (new)

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?

Style

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.

 

Story

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.

 

Grammar

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?

 

Characters

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.

 

Overall

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.