Virtuous Sons: A Greco Roman Xianxia
by Ya Boy
The saying goes that when a man is born the Fates weave his destiny and swaddle him in it. Then one day the man dies, and the swaddle becomes a shroud. Heaven moves on.
It is audacity to question the Fates. Olympus is Olympus. The land of men is the land of men. To transgress that, to cross the line of divinity and scale Olympus Mons? To defy the Fates and cast off their threads?
That is hubris. It’s a mark that every philosopher bears plainly on their soul.
[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
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Absolutely incredibly written story. The characters are beautifully created and I can't wait for the next chapter. You masterfully enchanted the readers into the world of the Greeks in a way I've never seen before. You haven't focused on the gods yet, having instead taken your time with the Greco-Roman cultivation world, creating what I would say is a mastery of the integration of worldbuilding with the flow of the storyline. Wonderful job
Not very many chapters so far but I am eagerly waiting for more. The bromance between Young Master Griffon and Slave Solus is great. Reminiscent of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Lovely glance into the Greco-Roman world through the lens of xianxia. Never seen this premise before and I'm so glad I found this. Recommending it to all fans of stories like Beware of Chicken.
At the moment, it's hard to really give a full review since right now the story feels like it's still in the prologue and Ya Boy has been mainly focusing on setting up the story for something much larger. But despite those facts, a story of this level of quality deserves a full review.
Story Score -
At the moment the story feels as though it is setting up something MUCH larger than what is normally found on this site, so it's hard to really give a full opinion on the story in its current state, as it feels like the equivalent of rating a book based on just the prologue which seems pretty darn stupid, but at this point even as a prologue it feels like something exceptional.
Style Score -
The story has a style that has been consistently engaging and interesting, leaving me wanting to find out more in the future and constantly eager for updates. Ya Boy has definitely grown their unique style from previous writings, and this style of fiction definitely suits their tendency to trend towards characters that are larger than life epic figures, who go against the grain to become truly legendary figures.
Character Score -
The characters so far feel human and interesting, instead of the usual cliche cardboard cutouts that are just the generic bland stereotypes and cliches, here the characters actually feel like real people who have their own agency and motivations.
Grammar Score -
In addition to this, the grammar has been consistently top tier, with very few errors. And those that are present are usually quickly fixed when pointed out in reviews.
[Original review is through Chapter 10. I added another blurb for through Chapter 20]
Chapter 20 update on disclaimer (I'll leave the original though): I think the disclaimer still stands to maximize your appreciation for the crafting of this story, but after 20 chapters, I think it is less important. As the story progresses I may change my mind again and start to see this as a good entry point for the genre, but right now I still believe it is a story written with the enjoyment of cultivation fans in mind.
BIG DISCLAIMER: If you have not read a cultivation novel, I recommend you do NOT start with this one. The author, Ya Boy, has thoroughly and beautifully adapted the genre to this setting, but you will not be able to appreciate the brilliance of this adaptation without a previous grounding in the genre. I suspect it is a great - if somewhat more confusing - story without this grounding, but I guarantee you will love it more after understanding the common themes and tropes of the cultivation genre. I would recommend starting with some of the better archetypes first, then read this.
For a traditional grounding, go with something like Coiling Dragon, I Shall Seal the Heavens, or Martial World. For a better-written Eastern grounding, maybe try Reverend Insanity or Tales of Demons and Gods. For a westernized grounding, go with the Cradle series or Forge of Destiny. Maybe try all three to explore a little (I wouldn't even say you need to finish them). Then come back and read this work of art.
For the cultivation fans, this is an early review that I will update, but if Ya Boy can keep this up, this might become my favorite in the genre. As others have said, Ya Boy has beautifully worked in the themes and tropes of classic xianxia in the Greco/Roman setting, but that does not really encapsulate the accomplishment. Not only have the societal structures (such as sects and familial status) and cultivation systems (the arts, realms, and insight/talent) been well-adapted, Ya Boy has also managed to preserve the essences of the Greek and Roman mythoses, as personified by Griffon and Solas. This leaves a true Greco/Roman xianxia, not a westernized otherwise-eastern xianxia with a Greco-Roman aesthetic. That alone is an excellent innovation in the genre, but Ya Boy innovates further by delving into the tensions betweens these mythoi, a tragically under-explored aspect of these two related cultures not really touched in the popular fantasy literature since Rick Riordan. We are 10 chapters in and this is already being explored in compelling ways.
I could honestly rave about this novel so much more, but you would be wasting your time reading this review instead of this story. Mark my words. If Ya Boy can sustain this quality, this will become a RoyalRoad great.
The through Chapter 20 update:
The first 20 chapters are a called a prologue, but it is more like a character establishment first arc, and I promise you it both works and makes sense within the context of the story. I previously stated that if Ya Boy could keep up the quality this story would be come a RRL great. After reading the next chapters I think he is still totally on track. There may be a moment somewhere in the chapter 13-16 range where you will think the story is starting to drag, but the last few chapters of the prologue are so beautifully written that it more than makes up for that moment. This is my top story right now and I am so excited to see what the first adventure arc has in store.
A really good take on xianxia with good characters and world-building. It's not boring and the main characters story and world-building really intrigue me. They seem believable and I really enjoy this series so far.
It's gonna be on my list for great xianxia and I hope it keeps this up.
Striker has given life to this slowly dying genre. In a time were pill refining and beast taming has become overwhelmingly commonplace Virtuous Sons shines evermore brilliantly.
While other Xianxias rely on tried and trite tropes to evoke humor and do their best to try and subvert your expections, (Which usually only goes so far as a few gimmicks introduced early on and forgotten) Virtuous Sons takes the familiar eastern setting and asks "but why tho?" and turns it on its head.
I don't think a review will truly do the story justice so I'll just provide a summary of why I really enjoyed it.
1. References to philosophical theory appropriate to the time. Holy crud it's amazing. Seeing Plato's theory of the soul be included as a feature of cultivation is one of the coolest things I've ever seen done in a story.
2. The attitude of our main character. He's everything an arrogant young master should be. Someone who was born better than everyone around him and acts like it. I love it. He's been confined to this one area his entire life and been told he is greater than his clansmen who are greater than the ordinary people of the world. Lio is so starved for entertainment and conflict that he will purposely allow for slights against his person just to experience as new perspectives and emotions. If you like Gilgamesh from Fate you'll enjoy the story.
3. The Bromance. It's what we are all here for really. The interaction between the two duetrogonists is what really sets this story apart from others. Just so well written.
I'm not the best writer but I hope that my love for this story came across.
Central conceit of the story is very believable, being grounded in Grecian beliefs. You'd think that the title was the result of entirely too much weed but the crossover is so deftly done that it's hard to find fault.
Superb start and wonderful characterisation. Protagonist is a gloriously entertaining arsehole. Can't wait to see more.
This a great story in many ways. It has interesting characters, a new twist on cultivation and much more. Sadly, it lets a few characters take turn narrating from first person perspective. That detracts from the story and the shifts in perspective is both confusing and annoying, especially since the characters are often geographicaly close to each other, making it even harder to transition between them as they are all participating in the same scenes.
I've tried entirely skipping chapters where the mc isn't narrating and that have been working out quite alright. I've no trouble keeping up with the story and all in all, it is less disorienting than jumping between narrators.
If you don't mind skipping chapters or for some unfathomable reasons can stomach multiple first person narrators, then I absolutely recommend you read this.
Just all of it is so good. The character development is going on great. There's no plot armor and everything is so well planned and thought-out. Also, the type of book, xianxia, is oversaturated with garbage books. But this book is like a gem. Also, the setting, which is during the Greco-Roman, is creative and unique, since I've never since a xianxia book about it.
I've got to confess. Until this point, I really couldn't get into Xianxia. Maybe it was the dialogue, the character achetypes, maybe the translation that was done. I'm not sure but something irked me about the genre.
But this story changes that.
Amazing characters, captivating story, awesome dialogue and almost too much promise. How can I even dream to go back to the routine stuff now?