The Path of Ascension

by C_Mantis

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity

The story follows Matt, a young man planning to delve the rifts responsible for the monsters that destroyed his city and killed his parents. His dreams are crushed when his Tier 1 Talent is rated as detrimental, and no guild or group will take him.

Working at a nearby inn, he meets a mysterious and powerful couple. They give him a chance to join The Path of Ascension, an empire wide race to ascend the Tiers and become living legends.

With their recommendation and a stolen skill, Matt begins his journey to the peak of power.

***

Chapters will now be MONDAY and FRIDAY AT 4:00pm EST.

This is a mix between LitRPG and Xianxia. It's like a car that looks like a LitRPG with dungeons and skills, but the interior and engine are all Xianxia. 

So no blue boxes and clicking +’s to get stronger.

***

What you won't see in this novel:

Bland protagonists.

Bland love interests that immediately fall in love with the MC.

Murder hobos who kill entire families and clans for looking the wrong way at somebody.

Pacifist MC’s who wouldn't kill a single person to save millions.

Cartoonish villains who are bad just to be bad.

***

What to expect:

A MC who acts rationally.

World building that has more depth than ‘strong people 'stronk'. There will be no rules only benefiting the strong and no rule changes as they see fit. 

An empire that actually cares for its citizens.

People who act and talk like real people.

A magic system and progression system that are logically and internally consistent.

Realistic fight scenes.

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C_Mantis

C_Mantis

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Agesz
Overall
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Story
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Something Different in the Best Way

Reviewed at: The Path of Ascension Chapter 9

I thoroughly enjoyed the start of this story and it only continues to keep me entertained, involved and anticipating more.

The story revolves around an orphaned teenager, named Matt, in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy setting sans status screens. I normally enjoy a story with stats, quantifiable numbers and progression, however the author of this story blends together quantifiable progress and organic progress without status screens very well. I enjoy the cultivation style - tier based system in the story.

Matt, the MC, is very entertaining and is growing in front of your very eyes as you read the story, same with those around him. I won't write any spoilers but he is balanced in the sense that he has massive potential but will need a staggering amount training and experience to actualize it.


Another design of the story I really enjoy is the sponsorship idea. The MC isn't OP but he also is a cut above the rest in terms of detemination and taking his training seriously. The sponsor's noticed him and wanted to give him the best opportunity to succeed so, as the title implies, Matt was sponsored and went off to train with the best of them. I love being able to know who the benefactor is why they are helping the MC, in some way's it is better to see than read about a mysterious benefactor or just plain luck.

Very great story thus far, has massive potential to go places and the Author know's what they're doing!

5/5 would recommend

UnStepAble
Overall

Even if the premise is overused in the genre, it's still decent and has some potential. But this...

"A magic system and progression system that are logically and internally consistent.

Realistic fight scenes."

...is a lie.

The world-building and the system are clunky and make you suspend your disbelief way too much. From the first few chapters, it's made crystally clear that the power creep would be way, way worse than in most cultivation stories. It's said that with each Tier you become twice as powerful. And there are at least 50 Tiers, considering that the capital of the Empire is Tier 49 planet. Do you know how much is two to the 50th? 1125899906842624. I don't even know how to pronounce this number and this is the numerical difference between a Tier 1 beginner and a Tier 50 expert. And guess what? You become immortal at Tier 15... only to teach kids in this world's version of a middle-school. Really? Really. One of the appeals of a cultivation story is that with the rise in a cultivation base comes the rise in social status. The high-level experts are showed as mysterious and unattainable beings. Here, though... A literally immortal expert who is 32768 times stronger than an ordinary person (how it would even look like in practice?) is an ordinary family guy who teaches children.

That's not all, though. The premise of the story is that the MC got such a shitty Talent that no one wanted to invest even a tiny bit in him to get him to Tier 3 where he could get something that would compensate for his low start. Except, finding (stealing) just one skill randomly allowed him to become more than useful at Tier 1, almost OP. It doesn't help that the way his Talent works wasn't explained that well. It was said that he regenerates a percentage based on his Max MP, but, somehow, he still gets 1 MP per second with only 1 Max MP. Just how? And as he said it himself, with the right setup, this is extremely OP ability, but no one cares and they just brush him off.

The last thing I want to mention is that at Tier 1 you can get dozens of skills and, at Tier 10, hundreds. HUNDREDS! How the author plans to make it work, I have no idea and I'll probably never find out. The fact that this story has an overwhelmingly positive rating proves that people just don't care about well-thought-up progression systems and it just makes me kind of sad.

Also, even if the author talks about edits, there're still some grammar nitpicks that even I, a non-native speaker, can notice.

AstralTempest
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Let me start off by saying that I have very much enjoyed the story so far. However, there have been some glaring issues that have prevented me from fully enjoying this creative delve into science fantasy.

Style

Alright, let's get the worst of my criticism out of the way. The style is amateurish, which isn't a bad thing by any means. The author's inexperience shines through a lot is all. Author, if you are reading this, you're doing alright so far, and I would encourage you to continue learning and growing as you post more chapters. 

Unfortunately, the style suffers more than anything else. Characters pop in and out of nowhere like nobody's business. Dialogue is choppy and long at times. The action scenes are written exactly like the character interactions, which drags down the pacing. Skimming over large swaths of action didn't affect my understanding of the plot at all. These are all things that can be improved over time with experience. It's okay to make these mistakes in writing and grow from them.

What I do like about the style is that the story doesn't bog itself down with a whole lot of unnecessary side stuff. It reads fairly smooth outside of action scenes. Anyway, onwards.

Story

Let me just say, the worldbuilding is quite creative. The amount of thought put into how the world functions is passable. Conflicts are understandable to an extent, though sometimes a bit forced with a lack of foreshadowing.

The plot is simple, which is perfectly fine. There are enough sprinkles of something bigger to make readers curious about what lies beyond the Protagonist's homework. 

Unfortunately, the overall plot doesn't have a clear direction and is in a weird state of limbo where it could really go anywhere while not giving much indication of not going nowhere. 

In other words, there I a lot of good worldbuilding, but the plot suffers from a lack of direction given in the story up to now.

Grammar

Good. Not amazing, but it isn't going to affect the reader's experience unless they are English majors with a screw up their a-

*Kuhum*

Moving on.

Character

Okay, now we get to what I feel is the intended meat and potatoes of this story. The character interactions occasionally feel stretched out for the sake of that oh-so-dreaded Exposition, but otherwise fit well enough. Perhaps something that could improve the dialog is giving characters speaking quirks, things that make them more unique. It takes practice to figure out how to make not all characters sound similar, though.

The protagonist's motivations are passable. Nothing new, but it works. Simple is often best, anyway. Most of the time, he acts consistently with his history, but there are ments where he breaks character to an extent. 

Now, let me mention what spurred me to write this review. Partial Spoiler ahead. In Chapter 9... the character that is added out of nowhere into an important role and then subsequently removed while not making sense with the previous worldbuilding (I'm referring to the part about avoiding relationships for people on the path) pulls you right out of the story. It is jarring, has zero foreshadowing, and doesn't leave any impact aside from ripping a reader out of the story to ask themselves what is going on.

While the characters are generally passable as pieces in the story, there are moments that stall their conversations.

Conclusion

All in all, a fairly solid and acceptable read for passing time. Nothing groundbreaking, but creative.

Sesharan
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

It's been far too long since I read a good story with a genuinely decent protagonist. Obviously Matt (our protagonist) has the same obsession with growing stronger that pervades every LitRPG and Xianxia work, but it comes from a place of genuinely wanting to be a decent person, and I'd honestly forgotten what a huge difference that makes. Not to mention the equally refreshing attitude of the people around him who encourage him to push himself only in moderation— displaying a degree of common sense that I don't often see in mentor characters. 

And speaking of characters, I was entirely delighted by how very humanized they were. I actually sighed out loud with pleasure when one character started showing off pictures of his new baby. 

In terms of grammar and writing, there are a couple small things, but nothing that tripped me up. The story is clearly benefiting from the loving attention of an editor. 

The system and worldbuilding are delightful. A delicious mix of LitRPG and Xianxia, all spread over a good solid sci-fi base. All the elements are familiar, but the combination feels new. I wholeheartedly enjoy it and can't wait to see Matt explore the greater universe. 

As a registered Gay™, I am of course required to complain about the one moment where the possibility of the protagonist being bisexual is raised only to be mocked before he is shoved onto the Definitely Straight Forever path, but even that particularly eye-roll-worthy event is just a small distraction from an otherwise excellent work. I stayed up late to finish reading this story and immediately found myself wanting to read it again when I woke up. I recommend it highly. 

zapking5
Overall

Dropping the Story at Chapter Seven

Reviewed at: The Path of Ascension Chapter 7

I think a good rule of thumb is that a protagonist should only get one lucky break to justify their rise in a story like this. I was a little skeptical when Matt got both a broken skill and a sponsorship. Then all of a sudden the Emperor of an interplanetary empire shows up and has a personal conversation with him. Now that he got yet another ridiculous lucky break with the egg I think I will drop this story, the original hard work to overcome a challenge premise has been completely overshadowed and erased at this point.

Dark Jester
Overall

Before I launch into this, the TL:DR is that it's an ok book if you can stomach a power fantasy.

Starting off with the positive the system in this book sounds genuinely interesting, even if there is too much exposition explaining it.The world it is set in is also interesting, though a bit overwhelming in scale, its mentioned a few times that the 'empire' has thousands of worlds in it.

My issue is the main character, who mostly lacks any kind of personality and is entirely driven by the urge to get more power. This is explained by him being an orphan and wanting revenge on the rifts but for me it falls a bit flat.

This is a guy who at 13 years old started working 12 hour shifts and practising swordplay in his spare time. For me he just doesnt really feel like a real person. He gets told at age 13 that he is going to go no-where in life and the next thing he does is look for a shitty job so that he can work himself to death for the next few years. All because he wants 'power'. I think that it would have been good to take a bit more time to show his motivations, as well as let him be sad. 

Spoilers follow for the first few chapters :

Luckily for the character by the time he is 15 in chapter 2 he gets a "rubbish" skill variant that just so happens to perfectly match with his "rubbish" innate talent. This just falls literally into his hands. We are told that getting skill variants is rare but he gets one that is obviously overpowered as hell literally just appear in front of him. I feel like this should have been a bigger deal. Like rather than having it appear literally where he works he could have sought out an ability like this on his own, having it dropped in his lap is just too convenient.

From there the impossible lucky streak just continues, he gets sponsored an absurd amount of money by two random people staying in the inn, who also arrange for him to go to an elite training facility that we were told in chapter one was basically impossible to get into. Once in that facility it isnt long before he makes friends with an OP healer who then gets him a meeting with the emperor of the universe, and then the next chapter he gets a rare event in the rift that gets him a new broken reward that is also clearly overpowered. 

For me I like to read about smart MCs who struggle a bit and this just reads like wish fulfillment. Especially because there are time skips the story seems to go from one lucky event to the other. 

JHawk55
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A lot of the reviews have over-hyped this story. The most accurate reviews are the ones that say it improves over time. I like the society/world, and that's really what's kept me interested in this story. The first ~10 chapters are really hard to read, but the writing quality does show consistent signs of improvement, so I won't drop this story just yet. 

Style: 3/5

There's nothing particularly good or bad about the author's style. Solidly fine.

Story: 3.5/5

I appreciate that while the plot isn't terribly unique, the elements of the story keep it form getting stale. not amazing, but a little bit above average.

Grammar: 2.5/5

It starts out really badly, and that's after the author and editor have done reviews/edits. It's pretty hard to get through until after maybe chapter 10, at which point it starts to become palatable. There are a lot of issues with homophones, misplaced punctuation of various types, and sentences that just don't make sense. By chapter 10 though, most of the glaring flaws are gone. Still not great, but at least average.

Character: 3/5

Meh. I don't like that the story focuses on a solo delver for so much of its content. It prevents a lot of character growth because the MC is starved of interaction with others. The group of friends was alright, but they weren't around long enough to really develop. I liked that the MC was willing to learn and temper his greed, and it really does show as the story progresses, but there isn't enough character interaction for more development. 

James Kohos
Overall

Cultivation space opera with fantasy creatures

Reviewed at: The Path of Ascension Chapter 21

Author basically took the wish fulfilment/cheats genre and wrote a well developed story with it. Writing is great, World building is great, characters are well fleshed out.... We've already got 2 prospective harem members (Liz wearing matched soulbound rings with him, and Aster who will get human form at tier 15)...

I approve.

hi&hello
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I want to like this, I really do, and the promise is there but by god are the character interactions awful. 

character: let's start at the bad and get to the good. Basically, the best Character's are those that don't talk. Actual effort goes into characterizing them based on how they act appear and interact with the wold. Take the drunk dude who I can't spell the name of; he is way more interesting as a character perpetually passed out drunk than Tier-2 party groupy A, cause, damn it all, those kids talk like an interchangeable helper AI ready to vomit exposition, except Siri has more personality.

Matt, at least, is likeable and shows some real problem solving ability at the beginning in addition to his hard work ethic. Matt being a decent human being, and decent people existing in general, is also refreshing.

Grammar: could use improvement but the author is editing existing chapters and takes suggestions

Style: not strong, did I mention the painful dialogue? I'm not even sure why it repulses me so much, and I hate being so negative... but like, the rest is written fairly decently so it just makes it worse by comparison (and disappoints me after raising my expectations). Ignoring the dialogue, it's mostly fine though.

story: from what I've read it's interesting and compels me to keep reading despite the flaws. But the flaw do bare mention. After the first couple chapters where Matt is actively shown facing his problems, events are brushed aside for expediency. Matt has friends now and he trusts them? Okay... I have no reason to buy that. This story has very much become tell don't show almost as if the author doesn't think anything that happened would be interesting enough to write about... which make me wonder why I should gather reading.

 

yet I still want to like this, if only because I find promise in the premise and the world which are both interesting. I might come back later

sporad
Overall

One thing that cannot be said about xianxia stories is that they lack conflict. Lots of vendettas and face slapping and villains. This story borrows some of the setting and tropes of xianxia but removes all the conflict.

Usually when a story doesn't have any challenges, it's because the protagonist is too over powered. That's true in this case, but more importantly, the challenges barely show up. The mc steals an item; no one notices. Someone does notice; they think it's okay. Someone steals an item from the mc; a powerful side character steps in to kill the thief. The mc can't afford to go to elite training; scholarship outta nowhere. Haughty noble starts some shit; guards haul them away to jail. Mc wounded; super healer happens to be waiting at the exit. Everything which should be a struggle instantly dissolves to nothing a moment after it shows up. And worse, these problems are resolved by other characters. The op protagonist doesn't even get to flex.

We are told it's a tough world where power is everything, yet every strong person the mc meets is super nice and helpful. The very nature of the rifts -- private, instanced dungeons -- make them essentially slightly dangerous gyms. The monsters are brainless. No villains show up. There is no direct competition among the people on the Path.

The author seems allergic to rising tension. Hopefully some faces will get slapped soon.