A Martial Odyssey
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With one step, an ocean is crossed. With one swing, an immortal is slain.
Grisla Orlith's name has been in contention for centuries; millenia. Has he ever existed? Is it true about him?
They hear of the future, but they don't know his past. Assumed as a genius from heaven, a warrior without peer.
But back then, from those that knew of him... only saw a worthless boy.
[Adventure, Wuxia, Martial Arts, Fantasy]
For those not in the know, this is a book with some western and eastern fantasy sprinkled in. This is a work coming from someone who's a long time fan of the genre and would like to add my own flavor and spin to it, and I particularly dislike the shallow xianxia characterization and development. To counteract that is about eighty percent of the reason I'm writing this. The beginning might be a slow burn but I promise I'm bringing up some awesome scenes and moments once you're invested. Again, this is not some fast food xianxia. But I can say that as a lover of the genre I won't be completely shying away from the stuff that got myself hooked into it in the first place.
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Some disclaimers: The author contacted me for a review swap. We got into a bit of a verbal tiff. I’m not a Wuxia/Cultivation fan.
With that in mind, the fact that I am recommending this story should tell you that it’s very good.
Without going into spoilers, Grisla is a highly relatable and sympathetic character. He shoulders heavy weights and starts as the opposite of the man he is to become. The other characters in the story so far all have depth and complexities and do not suffer from two-dimensionality, which has been my main problem with the Wuxia/Xianxia stories I’ve read.
It is very apparent that the author has put a lot of work into his prose. Descriptions and turns of phrases are all uniquely illustrative. It can get a little dense at times, utilizing a wider vocabulary than what is typically found on this site. But more often than not, the prose is beautiful, not in a flowery way, but in a way that is fitting for this type of story.
Because my experience with Wuxia/Xianxia web novels is limited, I don’t really have much to compare this story to. However, I will say that the story immediately reminded me (both the narrative and the language) of Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa, which is one of the great literary treasures of Japan. Now let’s be realistic and say that this is an unedited story on Royal Road, but the fact that this story even made me think of that masterpiece speaks volumes about the writer’s skill and potential.
If I have one note for the author, it would be to spread the exposition out a bit more through actions, dialogue, and scenes. If we could learn about the world and backstory naturally without paragraph explanations, then this story would be near perfect.
Don’t go reading this if you’re looking for a light casual read. But if you are a fan of the genre and want something to really sink your teeth into and be swept away by a fully developed world with living, breathing characters, then you should definitely give this story a try. Five stars.
EDIT: IT GETS MUCH BETTER LATER, SKIP THE FIRST 12 CHAPYS.
I leave my original review
MC has a disabled culivation physique but his Real disability is a Lack of backbone. For the first 13 chapters mc is drowning in misery. Ch1-13 are "mc is a cripple, his dad was a prodigy, his Clan despise them" Real Story begins at Ch. 14 4 Stars bc 13 chapters of "woe me" are too much for me, even if they are well written, and I LIKE the Genre. Will Update later
The story takes place with a protagonist, and his family, who sees himself as the victim of manipulations by much more powerful individuals. Spending years through such losses, he has two possibilities of advancing in the world of cultivation.
Here we have our typical Xianxia common places, which everyone criticizes, but if we don't observe, we simply deconstruct the plot as not being a cultivation story.
Confess that I don't like POV, and until then the author created a flashcack arc, but he hasn't wasted much time with these practices, which for me is a positive point.
As this literary genre is characterized by an immense development, we will see that the author will carry out everything and will not give up in the end.
I'm definitely enjoying the story overall and I don't find the characters as unlikable as the other review happened to. I enjoy the relationship between MC and his sparring partner after gaining context to how the MCs families decline has affect Han's families responsibilities. I feel like maybe its the way I read or maybe its how people read Wuxia but I feel like you don't have to take in anyone's name until you've read it a dozen times and they proven that they won't be an unimportant person and they slowly earn their right to be remembered. So yea, I don't fuss over feeling that I have to memorize anyone's name because it'll be discernable who people are through context until they stick in your mind or disappear from the story's relevance.
Looking forward to getting deeper into the plot and hope that the inter-character relationships and dialogue are realized as much as the author hopes they'll be able to achieve. I like Wuxia clans or sect stuctures for settings and getting enjoyable interpersonal relationships within that structure would be a real dream of mine come true.
A Martial Odyssey is a typical cultivation story that hits some good beats. However, the grammar (or style?) cripples the plot. I'm not sure if the poor grammar is intentional for style but at times, the serial reads like a machine-translated foreign webnovel. This has only gotten worse as A Martial Odyssey has progressed and at the most recent chapter, it's gotten so bad that continuing the story is a struggle.
Firstly, this is a review swap, but these days I only swap with fictions I personally like the genre of, so I can do the review justice.
So firstly, if you clicked on the Martial Odyssey, after reading the synopsis, you know what you're looking for. Wuxia/Xianxia seems to be very divided on this website, and my first work was a xuanhuan so I know that many people tend to have higher base thresholds for these stories. And that's perfectly fine, but I'm going to review this story as someone who likes this genre
Style- The descriptions are highly detailed, and the author has quite the imagination to sketch out the world in such extensive detail. There has been serious effort put into an attempt at trying to bring the world in the author's imagination into pen and paper. Might be a tad bit excessive at times, but I'd rather have it that way then the other way around.
Story- Yes, there are a lot of character names and a lot of details to remember, but as any Xianxia reader (especially if you've read Chinese ones translated knows) that's a very common occurance. Reverend Insanity, one of the best cultivation novels out there, has hundred's of characters and yet I still remember loads of them purely because how iconic the novel was. I saw this as a criticism, so I had to give my two cents on it.
The story isn't revolutionary, but most xianxia stories I have read aren't. It's how the unique elements like cultivation, pills, treasures,etc. are done that make me wanting to read the next chapter in anticipation. This story makes me want to continue reading, so thumbs up from me.
Grammar score- Written like how most xianxia stories are, but very well polished and there were little to no grammatical errors. If you like this genre, you'll like this.
Character- MC is crippled and is a disappointment to his family. I don't like this kind of start, but there's a reason why some of the most popular stories out there use it. Everyone wants to see the underdog, the humiliated and the downtrodden to silently amass power and one day show everyone his true potential and make his haters regret crossing him. It's just a pleasure to read, no matter how many times you see it.
I wasn't too sold on the cover of the book. It had a bit of a tacky stereotypical Chinese aesthetic in my opinion. If you self-publish this on Amazon, I'd recommend swapping the cover out. Maybe consider looking at the covers on Qidian/Webnovel translated novels for inspiration.
Also, here's the thing about combat. All methods and instruments of combat, are at their core, lethal. Unless I'm missing something, Rei Han was never taught by the mentor about the philosophy behind this and about the safety mechanisms to wield such a power safely, and it was why he went all out and almost killed the MC. So the Elder was at fault for Rei Han almost killing the MC. A teacher once wrote this on Facebook and I find it very appropriate for this.
Weapons and combat arts are instruments of murder. If you can't accept that in your heart and carry it and recognise the discipline and responsibility it places on you before you lay your hands on the weapon, then you're not qualified to even come near one.
"Every cut you perform, every round you shoot, and every strike you make leads you to that end, to the moment when you are forced to use it to kill or maim.
"If you can't accept that and learn when not to do that, then you should not be let near anything that can ever harm anyone.
"If you pick up a weapon to gain power but refuse to accept that what you have done is willingly grasp the power to murder another, then you might as well not bother, because no matter how mighty the weapon, you can't picture yourself taking a life with it, and you think 'it's not good enough, it will fail me, I need more power' and you go off seeking a bigger gun instead of fixing the real problem, which is not in the tool you use but the with the will with which you wield it.
"As long as you think a weapon is a toy and repository of power, you will never be able to use it for its purpose, and ultimately, it won't fail you but _you will fail it_.
The story was decent, just not really the kind of thing I like. It's a decent power fantasy, the kind of story that would make a good shounen manga. I prefer more realistic, noirish stories though. If you're into that, this would be perfect.
I didn't detect any language issues, always a plus in my book.