Bastion Academy Series
For Jiyong, Bastion Academy is more than just a school for magic in the heart of the kingdom…
It’s his chance to pursue the secrets of the ancient ones’ machines and get his family out of the poverty-stricken outer-city. His acceptance letter in hand, Jiyong is sure nothing will stand in the way of his dreams.
When a street brawl lands him in a coma only weeks into the year, his chances of graduating are all but shot. With an unlikely digital companion, he’ll have to rebuild his magic core and catch up on all his classes, or risk being dropped from the academy at the end of the year.
But kingdom life is not like the outer-cities, and kingdom kids are far more ruthless about who they’ll allow to climb to the top. Jiyong will have to train hard and fight for every score to make it in this wealthy academy for powerful families, all while supporting his own from afar.
1 Chapter a day, Monday-Friday.
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If you are a rich person who thinks that your feelings of wanting to be rich, without being forced into any responsibility that you don't want, hold just as much weight as someone dying or someone else being forced into sex slavery; than you likely won't have a problem with this story and will likely not even notice the other problems in it.
And yes, this actually happens in the story. The main character gets himself hurt in order to get the money to keep his sister from being immediately carried off for sex slavery, which happened because he hasn't been able to send the money to keep his mother alive (and she still needs more money because she is sick). He then blows up at his friend, after she calls him an idiot for going so far to save his loved ones, by asking her if she has ever had to deal with the kind of stuff he has (people almost dying and having to become the family's provider at a young age, etc. etc.). At that point pretty much all the characters get onto him about how he didn't realize that she has problems too (specifically the problem of having to choose between her inheritance and freedom) and he should apologize to her for not recognizing how meaningful her problems were and taking them seriously. He apologizes for how "insensitive" he was and she... accepts his apology and recognizes that he has room to grow.
Do you see the irony there?
As near as I can tell the author tried to make a "underdog triumphs" story about a poor person with a family to support without giving proper weight to the issues that were created. For anyone who actually understands the weight of the situations, suspension of disbelief is completely shattered and parts of the story get seriously disgusting. This is a shame since the "magic nanites" premise, focused on personal application and including tech, isn't bad. But when the main character fights a professional bodyguard/assassin while also fighting a noble scion, and takes them both out despite having earlier lost to a street brawler (and him being a first year student with no formal training in fighting), it becomes clear that the author doesn't understand internal consistency. The MC randomly improves on things that have been done and researched for thousands of years without even having a solid theoretical understanding of the subject matter. Etc.
All this to say that the story has more issues than the really big one, even if the big one is story ruining in proportions.
Honestly, if it weren't for the consistency issues (both internal and in terms of false equivalence of wildly different circumstances) it might be an ok story. As it is, though, accepting the story as is will actively make you less companionate toward real people with real life-or-death problems. For that reason this story is one to skip.
This is wuxia, but without "spirit power".
This is post-apocalypse but without zomies and madness
This is magic world but without mana
This is a story about martial arts, but Bastion surrounded by huge automated anti-air turrets.
But also this is a story about boy and how everyone helping him, including plot armor.
Cons: nice good read in slice-of-life and struggle of teenager cultivator in magic world full of nano-machines. Worldbuilding is done ok, world is fun, style is passable, characters... Characters almost not. They are predictable, MC is Mary Sue cry baby, inconsistency in everything except worlduilding.
MC is nobody without actual training and enough food to eat, got beaten by random thugs, but... He beat shit from elite guard of monarch(?) family member.
He doesn't have access on superior metal, but his beaten after many rounds bot, with missing legs, ammo, energy SOMEHOW win against century-old elite "techno-cultivator".
Author introduced few characters(his friends) and then... Forgot about them.
Dormitory have keys and passwords on entrance, but another students SOMEHOW sneaked inside without any trace. And no investigation was ensured even after they got beaten.
Last dozens of chapters is about love story between like 12 years old.
Girl got disowned by family, but jumped in new family-less life happily.
If Author works on these parts, then story will be great, right now most points from setting.
Overall: It didn't take long for Machina Core to become one of my favorite books on Royal Road. As someone not typically drawn to cultivation stories (preference for western fantasy), Jess D. Astra's writing is extremely palatable, the content easy, quick, and fun to digest. I'd recommend Machina Core to any fan of coming-of-age fantasy. Give it a few chapters and you'll see it's worth your time.
Style: Machina Core is told from the first-person perspective of a teen boy named Jiyong. The prose is typically simple and direct, providing readers with essential information without spending time on too many words. While great for conveying the setting and the characters, it can be a little slow at times. Fortunately, chapters are relatively short, often leaving you with soft cliffhangars that make you want to see what happens next.
Story: Because Machina Core adheres to a good number of common fantasy tropes, it can be seen as a story that's already been told in some ways, though I believe they are spun on their head or explored with interesting depths, which I personally adore and can't wait to see more of. It's very obvious from background details that an entertaining and enlightening climax awaits us and our protagonist of the series.
Character: Of all the reasons why readers fall in love with books, it's a disparate cast of protagonists and antagonists that typically wins me over. As of Chapter 28, Machina Core's heroes (other than Yuri, my personal favorite) don't yet feel like individuals, though I can see room for them to be fleshed out. The villains are almost non-existent, the only real one being a petty bully at Jiyong's new school, so I'm eager to see more. I'm most interested in the backstories of the professors, but they haven't been touched on much so far. As such, I plan to keep reading on and hope to see more from the characters.
Grammar: Practically flawless to the point where I want to thank the editor.
TL;DR: Start reading Machina Core now.
I have read up to and including chapter 6.
Style: There is not much in the way of unique style. It is very plain and not wrong. The author clearly learned some basic writing rules and utilizes them at points, but also fails to do so at other points.
Story: There is A LOT of setup in the first few chapters, with hints at deeper and more meaningful storylines already running in the background, but it seems almost too much to follow. There is also a ton of exposition going on, especially about the magic system which seems to be very complex and well-thought out, most likely to set up the cultivation aspect of the work, but the system is so massive in its scope that the blocks of detailed explanations could use some trimming. There is an attempt to show rather than tell, but nobody can show this much with any semblance of grace. A shallower learning curve or a severely pruned magic system would have helped the work flow just a bit better.
Grammar: No significant errors found. The language is not bad but not quite poetic or elegant.
Character: there is a lot of family tragedy going on, social dissonances and a general difficult-lot-in-life underlying most aspects of the characters and the world. They interact with each other in a slightly stilted manner but overall, there is little negative to say about the characters.
Summary: There is a lot to find in this work, so much indeed that keeps dropping it's notes on what it sets out to do. A bit more focus could set this story and these characters on a great path forward. It remains entertaining and interesting and the characters are worth following, even if they are very well prepared to tug at our heartstrings a bit too heavy.
Okay so I'm 30 chapters in and I'm in love with the magic/cultivation system. The author has clearly put a lot of work to fleshing out how the types of magic work and is by far my favourite part about the story.
That being said the story although seemingly generic, is a nice coming of age type story of the main character; trying to grow as a person while protecting his family from poverty. However, I feel like I must mention especially since the story is on royal road, it is a slower paced story meaning that if you're looking for a OP MC then you are definitely not in the right place, but if you want a character with some flaws and isn't overwhelming over powered give it a go!
p.s Did I mention I love the magic/cultivation in the story! Cause I really love it.
p.s.s. I love how people view Ghosts, realistic take on. Well I don't want to spoil it!
p.s.s.s. I don't know what else to say but I need to reach 200 words to post and attempt to spread awareness about this novel. So I'm gonna continue typing words for a bit. Nope I'm still not there so let's keep going.
Good book. Well written characters, even if the main character is a frustrating hormonal teenage boy. But while he's frustrating to read about, I also see how things are pushing his growth. He's an active character as well and not passive. Cho is the least developed so far but he seems interesting, Yuri seems cool as well. Big bad meanie bully is a comically evil character but I've known teenagers to be that needlessly cruel so he's not an awful depiction. Hanna is by far my least favorite, but that's probably just my personal biases against the rich and "boohoo my family is bad because we have too much money" type. The rest of the characters are also good but I won't mention things cause spoilers.
My only major complaint is the reading experience. The chapters feel less like chapters and more like pages. I feel like you could compress the first 68 chapters down into around 25ish chapters, and it would feel much better to read. Less interruptions of needing for pages to load, less awkward mid action cliffhangers that feel more like the text just got cut off randomly. That sort of thing.
Disclaimer - this review is only after 7 chapters, and I plan on continuing to read it, but after getting my feet wet, this is my response.
Style - I like the tone that the narration has, as well as the fact that the language used isn't excessively lofty, helping to keep in mind that the main character is younger. The reading is easy, and nothing in there is jarring to the point where I have to question what I just read.
Story - I love the premise. I grew up on battlebots and games with that premise, so this was a really cool start for me. Moving forward, I did have a bit of confusion at first regarding the mechanics of how the magic works, but I kinda just rolled with it. The pace is pretty slow, and not a lot happens at a time, per chapter, etc. That's not necessarily bad, but I think in a published version, the chapters here may be smushed together to create a bit more action per chapter. Lots of information comes at you pretty quick, so that may be a contributing factor to the slow pace, but still.
Grammer - Everythign seemed pretty clean. Easy to read, and not jarring.
Character - The characters seem fairly well developed, in that the actions and interaction they have seem consistent to a profile for them you have in mind, so that's good. Interactions and relationships haven't been flushed out too much, but enough is given such that the background interactions we haven't seen can be imagined without too much difficulty, like the relationship between the MC and his brother Daegon trying to crack his lock-box open, for example. That sort of stuff helps paint the background of the relationship between them, which is good. The characters have goals, fears, frustrations. They feel unique of personality. Which is good.
Overall - I like it. I hope as i continue to read that the action pacing picks up a bit, but definitely not a bad start, from what I've seen.
I don't have much to say as I am not a good judge, but I've read, and reread the whole thing since I've been facinated by how the whole novel is written and its pacing as well. Though it wasn't my cup of tea, it was fun to explore.
Definetly a must read for people who are into this kind of things.
The protagnist start as an young man seeking to provide for his family and get the money to enter bastion. The story start slow at first and start to build up as you read it. The grammar is good and make the story to easy to understand.
Right now, i see promise with the story, my review will change over time as i progress through the story.
The novel starts off in an interesting way: with a magical, illegal robot fight and gambling. It's styled after korean cultivation stories; and while there were a few terms I wasn't familiar with, the author did a decent job of explaining most of them.
Style: So, the style used for this one is quite plain. That's not necessarily a bad thing--and it'd be a little unfair of me to expect gorgeous prose from a web novel--but it was to the point that I began to be able to predicate what sentence structure would be used next. The narrator describes a ton of the world around him, but I rarely had any insight into how he personally felt about it. I have a hard time understanding why the author opted to use first person instead of third, since the benefits of having a first person narrative are rarely utilized. Other than that, I haven't had much to complain about. It's quite clean, and serves the story decently well.
Grammar: There are a few mistakes here and there, but it's pretty solid overall. I didn't really find any glaring issues.
Story: It reads like your average bildungsroman magical academy story. If that's what you're looking for, you will probably love it. My main complaint with it so far ties into the lack of personal insight from the main character. At the end of chapter ten, the protagonist is asked why he wants to attend Bastion, and even I, the reader, had a hard time believing his motivations. I just hadn't been given enough information yet to understand and believe his wants and desires. There are hints at a grand storyline, and relics of an ancient civilization left around the world are definitely interesting; but the pacing so far hasn't left any room to explore that yet.
Characters: They're pretty solid for the most part. They're all interesting so far, and have unique personalities. The dialogue could use some work though, since it seems a bit stilted and awkward at times.
Overall: It's a nice novel so far. I think that the author could do with spending less time describing the magical system (since that has been the bulk of the ~17000 words I've read so far) since I personally didn't care too much about it beyond understanding the fundamentals. But if you're the kind of person who loves knowing exactly how and why everything works, this probably won't bother you at all.