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]

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  • Story Score
  • Grammar Score
  • Character Score
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North Wind

Great Characters

Reviewed at: 1.6

Virtuous Sons is wonderful. It is so much fun to read. The characters all have in-depth personalities, and it is fun to read about them. I really enjoy the brotherly relationship between Sol and Lio/Griffon, and while the actual story has yet to really start/get going, I can't wait for it and I can't wait to go on adventures with Griffon and Sol!


Very interesting start to a story. I like the characters and setting so far.

As the title indicates, it is a cultivation story set in ancient Greece. It is missing a lot of the bloodlust and violence present in standard cultivation stories, while still managing to keep the feeling of pressure and competition that typifies the genre.


Blood F***ing Excellence

Reviewed at: 0.16

This story has such an interesting idea as premise yet such that I can't believe it has not done before. To take the tropes of traditional xiania but rather viewing such a path through western philosophy instead of eastern. It is bloody brilliant and clearly written by an author who knows there Roman and Greek influences reasonably well. The back and forth dialogues on the Roman vs Greek perceptive, the nature and value of virtue is just great as you watch two men over time become brothers. I bloody love this story even as it is only building up it feels like only better it to come


Reviewed as of chapter .17

Reviewed at: 0.17

First of all I would say that this story is extremely innovative in its premise, and the adaptation of xianxia cultivation to a Greek/Roman style is extremely creative. It's something I've never seeen done before, and the author definitely deserves praise for that. As of writing this review, I have read up to the current chapter of 17. Now on to the more specific scores.                                                                                                        

Style Score: 4.5/5                                                                                                        

The style of the novel so far is extremely unique and reminiscent of Ancient Greece and Rome, and the language used only serves to emphasize this, referring to cultivators as philosophers, and hand to hand combat as pankration, serves to increase the feeling of understanding for what kind of world we are living in. The emphasis on cultivating virtue and understanding in all things, is remarkably different to Eastern xianxia novels, which usually structure there novels in the style of an every man for themselves, dog eat dog world, and with a heavy emphasis on the power of someone as opposed to their virtue or character, which does still exist in this novel in the form of characters like Heron, who represent the young master type of character, but overall the feel of the novel has been less about being oppressed by those stronger than them as it is in eastern novels and more about cultivating excellence in themselves. The single critique I have with the authors style so far is that some of the language the author uses that is clearly inspired from Ancient Greece is not conveyed in words that casual readers can understand easily, such as mysticos, or kriotos, which can eventually be inferred through context but would be more reader friendly if they were explained earlier on, and the novel might benefit from the use of a dictionary separate from the novel that readers can use to determine the meaning of certain specific terminology. Other than that I have no real complaints with style.

Story Score: 4/5

I gave the story score a four out of five simply because while I enjoy everything that is going on in the story, I believe that the novel is in its early days, and as such it does not have much plot to stand on. The author is at the time of writing this, very much in the worldbuilding stage of the novel, and has introduced some minor character conflict, such as Herons jealousy of Lio, and Disdain and anger towards Sol. There is also Lydias anger at Sol for stealing the attention of Lio, but as it stands neither of these characters problems with our protagonists has lead to anything other than some minor scuffles. I would say that the only real conflict that we are being exposed to is that the author is introducing Lio to the fact that his reputation and status as the young aristocrat of his fathers cult acts as just as much a cage on his freedom as Sol's status as a slave, so much so that it leads him to experience a breakthrough in his cultivation. The plot that the author is introducing is wonderful, but there is too little of it right now in my opinion to award a full five stars.

Grammar Score: 5/5

the grammar score is five out of five not only because there are no mistakes that I could see with any of the grammar used, but also the specific word choice that the author uses to help immerse the reader into the world he is revealing to them. The words taken from Greek and Latin to reference the culture that is being represented is especially well done, save for my one complaint in the style section of this review, overall it is deserving of five stars.

Character Score: 5/5

While the author has in my opinion been building the plot up bit by bit and is even now in the introductory phase to the main conflict, he has in my opinion been focusing much more on his characters, to great effect. The two main characters we have been introduced to are Lio Aetos, the young aristocrat and  heir to his Fathers mystical cult, all while feeling like a caged lion, until he stumbles upon a slave by the name of Solace who was not born into slavery but rather forced into it through the razing of Rome, his home city. It is interesting to see these two characters not only for their own characters, not only for their unique traits, such as Lios unbridled pride, justifiable only in the face of his excellence, and Solus's submissive defiance, a brazen contradiction, shown when he fulfills his duties as a slave to a fault, yet never sees himself as inferior to those who would claim to be his masters and even having the audacity to strike Lio when he insults his beloved city of Rome. The most interesting thing about our two main characters is the way in which they interact, both of them from different stations in society, yet neither viewing the other as particularly inferior to themself, leading to an interesting situation where Lio, as possessing the higher position in society can command Solus as a slave to follow him and his orders, and yet finds himself inexperienced when it comes to the ways of the world, especially when compared to Solus. It is an interesting dynamic that I hope to see expanded upon in the future. As for the side characters, such as the other slaves, and Lios family, they are pretty shallow in their characterization for now, with the only exception I can see being maybe Myron, but I have confidence that this will change as the author continues to write. Overall I believe that the author has crafted two amazing characters, fully deserving of five stars.

Overall Score: 4.5/5

my overall score is not five stars simply because of a minor complaint I have in the style category, as well as the fact that the author is still in the early days of the story, and I have every confidence that the author will continue to improve and that this story will continue to excel. I'm looking forward to what the author does next and am impatiently awaiting the next chapter.


The Jordan Peterson of RR Novels

Reviewed at: 0.15

Honestly if you need a boost in testosterone and/or are looking for a reason to start working out and bettering yourself. Read this.

Manly men doing manly things in the most heterosexually bromantic way.

Story is engaging.

Grammar is flawless.

The metaphysics are incredibly well thought out.

Honestly 10/10, couldn't be better.


Story is kinda Geh but still pretty good. I rarely seen conversation so profaund in xianxia as i seen them in this story.

Also too little vengence and cruelty in the name of saving face for xianxia story.
Also MC have no visible cheats and this is unappropriate for cultivation story. 

Not quite what I was expecting...

Reviewed at: 0.16

Let me preface this review by saying that I'm not very familiar with the Xianxia/cultivation genre, and my thoughts and criticisms stem from the general expections I have for adventure/fantasy novels. These expectations broadly fall into three categories: Worldbuilding, Plot, Characters, and I'll try to address each of these in my review.

The setting for the story is inspired by ancient Greece, but the society features the characteristic strength-based heirarchy we see in other Xianxia. It's certainly a unique set up with interesting avenues of exploration. Unfortunately, in the 15 chapters I read, I haven't see much exposition about politics or how the larger world works, nor have I seen much detail about the cultivation-based magic system. We have some ideas about broad concepts (pneuma = qi and virtues = dao) but so far, we don't have any concrete details about cultivation or cultivations techniques. I'm fine with flowery abstractions when we're dealing with a soft magic system, but such a system is insufficient if we want characters to solve problems using magic. Perhaps that's not a focus for this novel or maybe there's more exposition planned for later, but so far I'm a little disappointed by the lack of detailed world-building.

A bigger concern is perhaps the lack of interesting plot progression and the development of the two main characters. So far the story feels like a slice of life exploring the bromance between Griffon and Solus, punctuated by philosophical interludes. That's not a bad thing, and the philosophical tangents lends for a unique storytelling style, but the relationship between Griffon and Solus starts to feel more like fanservice. For instance, in one chapter, there's a holiday where the masters are supposed to serve their slaves for one day, which I thought was incredibly unrealistic given the unforgiving world we've seen. Even if the holiday isn't honored faithfully, it still sounds ridiculous, and mostly feels like a setup for an interaction between the main characters. Much of the humor comes from other characters' reactions to the rude manner in which Solus regard Griffon, and their subsequent astonishment when he isn't punished (which is to say, this gets old pretty quickly). There's growing tension from Griffon's restlessness and the lack of freedom he has in the sect, but given the level of comfort he enjoys and his general arrogance, I'm not really invested in his struggles. Solus has hints of depth with his backstory, but for the most part, he plays the role of the stoic straight man.

If you're fine with a slice-of-life bromance set in a unique Xianxia-style world, the author's writing skill and grammar is faultless and you'll probably enjoy this story. But as an adventure/fantasy novel, I just wasn't enjoying the story or the characters very much.


A veneer of greco-roman

Reviewed at: 0.22 [PROLOGUE END]

TL;DR: Fine story that's not really greco-roman but has the terminology and tropes.

Overall the story lends itself quite well as a general cultivation story it takes the basic concepts and presents them with quite different terminology but it's very much the same idea

The characters so far in are well written and very much have a feeling of depth to them, the main character is somewhat unlikeable but that's fine, room to grow and all that (also not out of character for the setting).

No major spelling or grammar issues stood out to me however i did read what chapters i did a little while after posting.

In style is where the demerits lie the story styles itself as greco-roman but misses a lot of the details of that kind of setting that stories like the song of achilles handle a lot better. If you're looking for something actually greco-roman styles this ain't it.

In finality, if you want a thin veneer of post christianity greco-roman over a general cultivation story this works fine.

Personal gripes:

It reeks of post christian greek/roman negationism with things like pride and lust being "sins" in common parlance or other abrahamic concepts, mythology more trope than actual well... myth.



Shallow Characters and Slow Plot

Reviewed at: 0.15

I like the style, but the plot and characters bring the story down. The cross between xianxia and greco-roman culture is well integrated but doesn't play into any parts of the story. The characters are all extremely one dimensional and built to play specific roles. They have simple or no motivations and only one or two character traits. The main duo also falls into this trap - each pasted in to fullfil one role in the comedic duo of a strait man and a funny man. Plot progression is extremely slow. It's bogged down even further by a number of POV chapters that are just telling you how the plot is progressing or admiring the strength of the MCs. If it was just slow that would be fine, but it doesn't use that time to develop the characters or world very much. It's just a bunch of daily life scenes with some philisophical filler.


Amusing and absurd(ism)

Reviewed at: 1.6

Meet Sol, King of no one, alone in this world. Once a leader, a commander, now a slave.

Meet Griffon, Young Aristocrat, yearning to soar. Also named Lio, gifted in every way, shackled by his birthright.

Virtuous Sons begin in the private estate of a wealthy and powerful cult in the city-state of Álikos on the coast of the Ionian Sea, where peace reigns in the land under the auspices of a Tyrant. It is the story of the unlikely brotherhood of Griffon and Sol, the mysteries that surround them in the Rosy Dawn Cult and the tribulations they must seek to ascend the Olympus Mons.

Ya Boy skillfully weaves a tight narrative around the two men, starting literally at two different ends of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega, with each initially disdaining the other, but yet pulled together by an unexplainable thread of destiny.

I’m particularly intrigued by the backdrop of the world and the unique flavour of cultivation. Ya Boy introduces Greek philosophical concepts such as pneuma (breath/ spirit/ soul) and draws several parallels to real world historical events.

Well thought out, beautifully executed story. Grammar is on point and the characters, main and side ones are delightful.