Non-RR tags: Overpowered Main Character - Losing power and "starting over" - Medieval world - "Adventurers" Guild
Release rate: 3 chapters per week for a couple weeks (as of 02/10/2021), then 4~5 per week.
Aaron hadn't had a good fight in ages. No one in the known universe could give him one, he was just too strong. So, he was going to search for it in the unknown parts of the universe.
That's when a portal appeared in front of him with a message: the dimension on the other side was in danger and requested his help.
However, inter-dimensional travel came with its own rules. One of them was that his overwhelming power needed to be left behind, that he must tread the path to power from the beginning all over again.
Not that it would truly hinder someone like him. Excited at the prospect of having found a worthy opponent, he stepped into the portal.
On the other side, he found a medieval world controlled by a mysterious system. Holographic panels appeared at a mere thought, defining each living being in numbers, determining their classes, and changing their very selves.
In a world where power reigns supreme, the morale is fluid and the enemies are diverse. But they weren't prepared to deal with him.
Witness Aaron's conquest of a world full of conflict, wild beasts, and magical items.
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Note: This is a review written at the end of the first book (Patreon chapter 33 incl. Epilogue). So expect some spoilers. Please note that this review references content of Patreon chapters (above No. 19) which might differ from the Royal Road version. The author mentioned that he plans to revise the conversation in my last example.
Immortal Conqueror has a solid start but suffers later on from typical problems of the Wuxia genre. This mainly shows in an overly strong focus on the protagonist and dull side characters. Hence, this critique (rant) is largely about the main character.
The story starts going downhill when the protagonist takes on more responsibilities in his travel group and dominates future decision making. The following chapters unfold in a way that seems only to revolve around the MC and are laid out so that his views are confirmed without any meaningful verbal opposition.
Beginning with the act of kicking out the only antagonistic and male travel companion (harem hurray /s) and the subjugation of the rest of the female cast. 2/3 of the remaining party members are then taught the typical Wuxia spiel. Starting with having to call him patriarch and demanding absolute obedience from them. At this point, discussions between characters will get boring because the protagonist's ego and beliefs are the basis for everything right and good. Other people are only there to confirm his actions and opinions.
The protagonist himself seems to be quite unreflected for an ancient being that should have some degree of wisdom. He has mainly three bad character traits next to his slightly genocidal tendencies.
Firstly, his black and white world view.
This manifests in Darwinistic explanations and the common Wuxia statements like "You're either for me or die.".
Secondly, the wishy-washy moral compass that he talks about a lot.
For example, he kills whoever offends/attacks him but has various exceptions to that rule. These exceptions come up throughout the story, and he likes to explain them in detail. At one point, all that moralistic rambling could just be kicked overboard and be replaced with the sentiment that he does whatever he wants and thinks is righteous.
Furthermore, he has that one weird moment when he explains the best way to find out if someone is friendly. This is achieved by attacking them and waiting for their reaction. Enemies attack back, and friends defend themself. But by his own logic, the only end of such a confrontation is death.
Thirdly, his condescending and manipulative ways. There are two such memorable instances with two different party members.
The first is when he tries to teach female No. 3 the importance of not being naive. He implements this by forcing her under death thread to kill some pigs that offended him by being mind manipulated into attacking him. Is this really the best plan of action he could come up with? How about talking things out like adults do?
Note: The following example may change in the Royal Road version of the story:
The second instance is when he discusses the sanctity of souls with female No. 2 (the priestess) and enemy X. He and enemy X share the same opinion but to show a token effort for female No. 2 he gives counter statements. Why does he and not female No. 2 argue about this very religious topic? Well, after a lifetime of indoctrination and (likely) schooling in which this very topic will have played a role, she is only able to reply in a very emotional nonsensical manner. Aka "Souls are sacred according to common sense!". For the love of whatever god, female No.2 is a goddamn priestess. Knowing such things is her job. Whether her argument is ethical, ideological, or whatever. This is a question she should be able to answer coherently and show a bit of characterization. But no, MC saves the day by leading the conversation in a two-faced way by taking her side and showing how his opinion is correct and how hers is dumb.
All in all this story is ok if you like Wuxia. If not I would not recommend it.
+points for this sentence: "But at the same time, the Patriarch's words about dog breeders resonated with her soul." The absurdity made me smile :)
I very much would like to state that you should read rubrum's review "solid start. wuxia continuation"
But it truly does not fully explain just how bad the main characters flaws are. I will say they kinda make 'sense' because he all but says that cultivation causes you to become rigid and unshaking in thoughts. It's a lousy weak excuse but at least there's something.
A lot of what he does is just justifying himself. He's got very assholeish and purely black and white beliefs. Anyone that attacks him, dies. Now at first you might think "Well, okay. Self defense."
No. Because we literally see him break this rule multiple times for various reasons. He can almost acknowledge that theirs better, easier ways things can go down if he just acted differently but no. God theirs so many examples of his backwards beliefs just being wrong. He's an insane, sociopathic, cherry picking moral, hypocrite.
Next, let's ignore his idiotic at best world view. (it's so stupid). Lets talk about about the clan thing. Yup, all who've read this know what I'm talking about. Minor spoilers below. There's a single chapter where he becomes flat out boring and rips out the character from his party members. They just turn into blindly obedient people, with barely any dimension, for next to no reason. They are basically just woman 1 2 and 3. Fourth party member, who just happens to be male? left. Yup, nasty harem vibes. And I mean nasty. One of the character even states that usually respect is earned on ability and now it's on relation to who you know, with blind obedience. Like, actual spoiler: 2 characters literally give a holy vow to be blindly, fully, obedient no matter what. The other barely responds to a massacre when everything we know of her suggests she would attack MC but doesn't for no reason. The book isn't even self consistent, come on.
The weirdest thing is that it's like the author is almost able to understand but not quite, as he gives explanations but they fall flat. Horribly flat.
I and many others, can complain about the MC forever. He's ridiculous, awful, and the perfect example of what to never write as an author. but you'll notice that 2 stars and not half a star rating. The MC is bad but not unbearable. The story itself in principle, plot, and progress, is alright. The broad scope, minus the main characters interactions with basically any people, are great. The monkey and bannana, the kings action, general world, etc are okay. I find the end goal plot interesting, the enemies interesting and the method of cultivation he performs interesting. If he wasn't awful and the characters were actual characters past the Clan Arena, it might actually be a good story.
If I had to guess, I'd say the author is into just, let's be very polite and call them bad, xiania stories and every moment he has to resist the insane urge to model after them and he doesn't always succeed. After 2 years and 5 more books, when he's developed as an author, I'll be the first to be excited to see what books he's wrote. Lots of potential, currently, lackluster.
So let me start with the things that I enjoy about the story. I enjoy the premise of an Immortal Cultivator loosing his power to save an unknown Universe Core that is being harmed by the System. The Energy Segregation of the world is interesting if convoluted and I generally enjoy Over Powered Protagonist.
The grammar is better than most of the native English speakers works I’ve had the privilege of reading, so kudos to him on that.
The only nitpick that I have that I wouldn’t consider an actual dislike is that I don’t understand or know how to feel about Wuxia stories set in a Eurocentric/Western Fantasy style. Especially when the characters still kinda act in the manner they might would in a traditional Xianxia setting. But that’s a me probably.
Now for the stuff I didn't enjoy, at all. The Protagonist as a whole. I find him to have a contradictory moral system(which he is consistently going back on), is antagonist to any male he interacts with for more than a passing sentence, and has a very dismissive attitude that pretty much is set in stone.
The whole, "You must call me Patriarch and defend my frail honor." Thing just skeezed me the hell out as well. Like dude why are you starting a harem cult, like what, eight days after you arrive in this world? I don't know it was just the cracking point for me, a non-binary queer person.
For a wuxia standards this is what you call below average, mediocre maybe garbage that you can only read if you close your brain and read it like a robot.
I'm not sure what you could like about this. Read it to spend time.
Characters feel weird, not really human. There to either be bad guy or praise mc.
That's literally it. There is also author constant deep talks about moral... Yeah no. they make no sense at all most of the time.
Basically a Xianxia plot. Some guy who reached max level, got bored and looks for challenges in other worlds. Sort of gets reset to zero, but not really and immediately cultivates back to serious power level, at least compared to the locals.
So much for the power fantasy, that I'm sure most Xianxia readers share :D And if it was just that I would have probably rated it heigher for being a good example of the genre. The problem is the thousand years old badass of an MC can't just stop rambling about the morality of his decisions. His really fucking arbitrary actions and his ideas of power dynamics.
And it's really painful to read. He doesn't come off as an ancient and wise badass, he comes off as an impulsive edgelord teenager. Since that's about the level of his moral reasoning. "He offended me, so I won't help him at all. Even if he had maybe good reasons to be offensive. I won't care!"
Basically that's a killer for me. Otherwise the story is pretty decent for the genre.
the story is not bad,
the grammar is correct, i'm not searching for error and could read the story without a problem.
the style and story are okay even if the constant worship of all the mc do is a pain.
The major issue in the story (for me) is the mc and the worship of everything he is.
the author want to make the mc an old master who reached the pinnacle, did everything and find life boring.
However when i read the story i feel like i'm seeing a variation of the arrogant young master. The mc knows everything better than everyone (most of the time true but there's limit to how you presernt it) and each of his thought are the pinacle of wisdom (no there are not), each perceived slight to his honor must be compensated a thousand time.
I can understand confidence and pride in yourself but each of his choice is always the best. it's honestly becoming a pain to read for the n-th time how the mc is so inteligent etc.
there are also some inconsistencies and/or major over-reaction in his reaction to perceived slight to his honor and his code of conduct
it's okay to kill hundreds of gang members who did nothing to you because 3 thugs try to mug you and did not "respect" you, they try to mug you when you're some young guy sitting in an alley in the worst part of the city after causing a massive commotion (energy depletion causing a lot of people to faint)
but it's okay to let live the creepy evil banana because it's bad to upset the balance and beast, like human, might become better...
the second test he gives to the sorceress is also stupid, when reading i honestly was thinking the "good choice" was the first one, but because "insert plot" the second one was the only possible choice he'll consider "good"
i think a truly wise man would say there was no right choice and the second test would only change what he teaches her and the way he'll be treating her
honestly i think the story would be better if you made your mc less "i know everything and my choice are the best in the universe" and made him more likable.
This novel blends the three tropes of a litrpg, wuxia cultivation norms with a restart fantasy together and generally ticks all the boxes in that category. The MC is hideously overpowered from the get go and has already started to build a rather unapologetic harem around him, so if that's what you want then you're in luck.
The characters are fairly one-dimensional (especially the MC, who is basically a total sociopath). The magic/skill system is extremely vague and riddled with handwave spells that seem made up for the convienence of the plot but the story is paced fairly well and as a result progresses along at a fair clip.
At the end of the day, it seems like the author is mostly making things up as they go along and taking us all along for the ride. It's not a bad time, but the rate of escalation is rather exhausting and probably too fast to match the long-term plans they might have.
The idea/premise behind the story is different and fresh, the world-building (or universe-building, in this case) is solid, and the power-system is decent. However, there are a few problems/flaws to be discussed.
Style: 4/5 (no actual spoilers)
I am unsure what "style" means in this context, but I will assume it means the style of the writing, as in the sentence structure and flow. There are no major complaints for the style, in fact, it is written quite well. I love me some adjectives, and this story sure has them! There are a variety of juicy verbs to go along with it as well. There are no excessive commas or semicolons, the writing being overall easy to glide your eyes over without stopping to read over a sentence again (the occasional em dashes help with this as well). Also, the imagery is just enough to set a scene in your mind, but not so much that it becomes tedious to read. However, since the plot is attended to be light and easy to follow, the writing itself should "make up for it". There are a few ways I see how the author can improve:
-More variety should be added to the sentences, for example adding appositive phrases or using sentence fragments for effect. I did see some of this, but it would be nice if there was a little more. Maybe add the occasional hyperbole as well? Quick example: "Bob, a generic isekai protagonist, was not feeling good today. He hurt. A lot." (an appositive phrase and two sentence fragments)
-Rather than saying exactly what happens during a scene or how a character reacts to something, the descriptions should be more up to interpretation (unless it is a very important point that would be disastrous if the reader interpreted incorrectly). For example, instead of giving a character emotion with a word like "anger" or "disappointment", describe how they "clench their fists" or "shake their heads". This is not a huge deal, but this adds more of a picture in the reader's mind of what the character is doing as well as how they are feeling. Example: "Bob whimpered into the night sky, his breath accompanied by curses towards the truck who'd sent him into this strange, demon-infested world." rather than "Bob could not speak well under the pain, only able to curse the truck who'd sent him into this strange, demon-infested world." It isn't a big difference, but I think this novel, and your future novels, would become that much better with this.
-There are a few words that I think should be removed from sentences as much as possible, and I noticed them pop up pretty frequently in this story. The ones I can think of on the top of my head are: "that", "the", "so", and sometimes "since" and "because". Quick examples: "Bob rolled off the rock that poked (poking) at his spine. It seemed he'd have a bruise there in a few days for sure. The rocks on the ground were the main cause of his current suffering." Again, this is not much of a problem, but it would smoothen the flow of your story and allow for a "lighter" read.
Grammar is solid. I don't have much to say for it; this story has no jarring grammatical or spelling errors. The author has taken great care in editing this story.
Story: 3/5 (minor spoilers)
I enjoyed the prologue and the synopsis, but it is hard to give this story a good rating so far. This review is at a relatively early point in its telling, so I will continue to follow and see how it develops. Here are the pros and cons (I will focus more on the cons, as that is usually more valuable for an author in my opinion)
-It is quite fast-paced, with engaging action scenes and purposeful dialogue.
-The world-building gives the reader a solid understanding of its rules and status quo.
-The power-system is not that of a generic cultivation story, having some compilcated mechanics with much yet to be explained.
-Some characters seem real and behave realistically (the best one so far in my opinion is Madam Selna).
-It is very much a wish-fulfillment story. In my book (heh), this is not a good thing. Although every fantasy story like this, is in some way for wish-fulfillment, this one is too much. Other reviewers have pointed out the overabundance of female side characters and lack of actual male side characters, which is also offputting for me. One thing I don't find pleasing is the infinite amount of techniques he has; although he has lived for billions of years, there should still be a set number of techniques that he could have. Since the number of techniques is not yet disclosed, the author can put in whatever he wants, and thus giving the main character an excuse to get out of any possible situation. This brings a problem common to most overpowered main character stories; the lack of tension. The reader knows that Aaron will win every single fight and get through every single obstacle in his way with little effort. Of course, as he is weakened, there is still some tension, but Aaron has yet to meet anything that has forced him to, for example... use a technique far above his current level, risking great damage to himself? This is really my main concern wtih the story, and there is a good possibility that it will be fixed later.
-This really isn't a 'con' per se, but it is a question for Aaron Ironblood (and subsequently the author): If you are bound by the Laws of the universe you cultivate in, are you truly at the top? Can someone be "powerful" enough to break the Laws of their universe, and traverse dimensions without needing to lose their power? (it might be explained later, or maybe even explained already, but it isn't really clear)
Characters: 3/5 (minor spoilers)
This aspect of the story is rated the worst for a reason.
I am not adept at analyzing characters, so here are the basics:
-MC is objectively not a good person, and that is an objectively good reason to not like him. I don't mind anti-hero/evil MCs, but Aaron doesn't have that something which allows you to stay on his side, to overlook his commiting of genocide and not-exactly-but-pretty-much-slavery. He isn't comedic. He isn't playful. He isn't really charismatic either. That transitions over to the next point.
-MC doesn't have much of a personality yet. We know of his values and view on everything, but that's only a part of a personality. Most of his "personality" is explained directly by the narrator, which is usually not a good sign, as that means the character cannot tell the reader their characterstics with dialogue or actions. Even if one doesn't want to make a complex plot, they should at least give it some complex characters.
-Backstory doesn't play a role (yet). How could a person who has experienced so much and lived so long, not have a rich and plentiful backstory? Why isn't it the first thing to be fleshed out? It could certainly explain his wonky moral values and black-or-white view on life if he has gone through horrible tragedy. It is hinted that he was once a servant of the Ironblood family in his native universe, but that is the only detailed mention of his past in the whole 228 pages of content so far! I realize this isn't meant to be a complex story, but it should at least have that? (I will edit/delete this part and up the rating if its proved wrong, of course ^^) (...a chapter was given talking about his backstory pretty much two days after I made this review... learned my lesson and upped the rating - I'll still keep this part up for a while though, just in case it was only a one-time thing)
-The side characters are okay. They would be more interesting if they weren't forced to obey the MC's every single word. Again, the wish-fulfillment.
This story is enjoyable, but only that. If you wish to enjoy yourself, then by all means read it. However, if you are searching for a heart-gripping western fantasy, or an exciting cultivation story, or the zealous grind of a LitRPG, then this is not the best option.
the book iis nice like is there was a harem litrpg without the harem part . so op mc but mc still encounters problems . so a good read . simply a must try . i really hope that this book gets more 5 star rewiews . it should be 4.5 stars at least .
Enjoyable easy reading. The MC's morals are typical hypocritical wuxia can be grating for some ('how dare you oppress me!' followed immediately by the MC oppressing others) but that's a trope in itself by now.
Definitely worth a read for anyone who secretly enjoys overpowered self-insert webnovels.
Only thing I would change is have some of the female characters act more like the male ones and not immediately submitting to the patriarch - it's just a little bit 'yes daddy' at times.