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In this world, there are haves and have nots. The former are pureblooded humans, some of whom are capable of manipulating qi, the mysterious energy that flows through every living creature, to miraculous results that defy the laws of nature and physics. Wen Feili was one such cultivator. However, she allied with the have nots- the anthropomorphic hybrids incapable of channeling qi-and dabbled in forbidden demonic arts, seeking to change the very composition of reality. This did not end well for her, and she was consumed by her own flames.
A decade later, far in the northwestern mountains, her daughter Wen Fengli is working as a lowly servant of the minor Shuangshan sect. In between sweeping the floor and avoiding bullies, she secretly trains with a wooden sword, hoping to become a warrior cultivator at some point in the future. However, since she's part-human, part-wolf, it's just a pipe dream.
....or so she bitterly thought. However, one day a mysterious amulet that belonged to her mother falls into her hands. A deranged old master, a terrible conspiracy, a mysterious past? None of that matters to tomboyish wolfgirl, who only seeks to become stronger. She embarks on a journey of adventure and self-discovery, towards the mysterious southern lands where pure demi-humans are said to live...as spectre of war once again envelops the world of man.
This is a Chinese-themed fantasy story set in a fictional world. You can classify it as xianxia, if you wish, but it's a rather low fantasy variant; the heavenly realm is silent, no one reached immortality in generations, and magical artifacts of old are locked away and feared. Magical beasts and spirits have been driven to the corners of civilisation, and "ordinary" abilities such as flying or controlling swords through telekinesis are considered spectacular feats. The main plot of this book revolves around a kemonomimi girl who seeks power, no matter the cost.
This story also features multiple character pov, and will not always follow the perspective of the mc- there are two major plotlines, one connected to conspiracy and war ongoing in the political background of the presented world, and the other focusing on the main character's physical and metaphorical journey.
The cover image was drawn by minyaxj, per my request, on a commercial license.
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As many other reviewers have pointed out, the author has done a really great job putting together a low fantasy xianxia world. And the author has done a very good job writing well-defined characters who act well within their personality.
The big issue with the story that keeps me from recommending it is that the author seems to have a hard time telling a story. In the 12 chapters, we only have 3 with our protagonist (maybe 2), the rest being with side characters and an almost 8-chapter tournament arc in a village that the protagonist already left. Now, don't get me wrong, that whole drama about the sect could make for a really good story (the author does some great foreshadowing that what happened may not be what it seems). But the synopsis (and the protagonist leaving) make pretty clear that the story isn't about them. And so I'm utterly baffled why we spend so much time with these side characters (many of who have more screentime than the protagonist). So, largely for this reason, I don't recommend this story.
Some of the grammar and micro-level style is a bit rough as well, but not too bad.
EDIT 9/22/21: The author touched base with me and explained that the story is meant to be these two intertwining plot lines, one following the wolf girl and the other following the events happening at the sect she leaves. With that, the story makes a lot more sense and I bumped it up from 3.0 to 4.0.
This story is so long I want to cry.
The author is an ESL, you'll quickly catch on to many of their mistakes further in the story and it harms the story's length and immersion. The author writes a chapter every day and considers those novel to be their passion project but this doesn't have the care put into its minor details to be seen as such. I seriously recommend combining through it all, please do because I know how much you care about this story.
It's for lack of a better term, wordy. A case of purple prose. Scenes are unnecessary drawn out when they could be shortened and neatly tied with a bow. As said I recommend going through and editing to make the experience for others more bearable. Not to say that this story is bad but it is very hard to get into without dedication to seeking the author's vision. Sake vision has unique and interesting ideas but the problem with unique and interesting ideas is trying to convey them to the audience in a a manner they can comprehend. Aside from that, the author does a good job at world building but some exposition could use some spreading out to not overwhelm the reader. The world is large and vast and has a very different culture and trying to explain it all is difficult so I don't blame the author for infodumping at times, it works. It feels like rambling...
As for the characters, there are times when Sake Vision gives a brief line for their sudden thoughts followed by a rhetorical question or exclamation which is a bit over used especially in moments when characters are having a heart to heart.
4 of 5 I guess? It's hard for me to judge this category since I don't read or interact with the xianxian genre. I asked the author for their inspirations and thankfully I was given a thorough explanation on their intentions with this story but I still can't help but feel that a lot is going over my head. Black wind, White Lotus a low fantasy realistic take on the xianxian genre, a deconstruction some might call it. The author considers some of the sections to be a parody of trope in the genre but whatever joke was told either fell flat because it didn't highlight the absurdities or was poorly conveyed to a general audience. This parody is also muddied by the many intertwining plots and arcs to focus on. After the initial first arc with the protagonist, Fengli, the story expands to cover war, discrimination, and the political elements in the story with a new character taking the focal point. But the author doesn't portray both sides of the oppressor and oppressed in a morally grey way (well kinda but the author seems to side more with the kemonomimi race of people). Much of the plot is told with very few moments of dialogue which doesn't allow the story to speak for itself at times. The switching of perspectives is rather sporadic and character don't feel like they have enough to be remembered after their introduction. Thankfully there's a glossary but I can't help but feel this isn't a good thing.
Serviceable, they're all well rounded and are shown their traits during moments of dialogue. No one is poorly written but at the same time no one is instantly likable, it takes some time to grow attached to the characters. This story is very very slow burn.
I think I read enough to make a review but there's still more plot ahead but probably not enough to really sway my overall opinion of this story. I'll continue reading because I'm pretty invested in where the story is going and I'm really interested in seeing what happens to Fengli who's my favorite character or should I say best girl? Hahahaha!
But yes this is a fairly good story for people who perhaps want a different take on the xianxia genre and a very deep and intriguing world.
Here are essentially my thoughts and notes I made as I read,.
First of I liked the cover, it was quite high quality and looks as I imagined the character would.
The weakest are of the story is the grammar, punctuation, caps etc. I noticed quite a few mistakes that impact quite a few areas including tense. It would likely need a true proofread to catch them. Id probably have to give this area 3.5 but fortunately, it is the weakest area/lowest score. I have added edit suggestions to help make this a non-issue for the next reader
The style is generally quite good, past tense with some present mixed in. It is generally nice and enjoyable to read and with some improvement of grammar could be extremely good. The pov switches are fluid enough and don’t really take you from the story so good job there.
There was a few cases of double lines between paragraphs, this is usually an error created by rr but one usually worth fixing as to not impede flow.
Some areas of heavy exposition but that’s never something I personally found an issue as I enjoy world building and lore. Same with the all caps for emphasis, I was never a fan of that but it could just be personal preference.
For your characters and story, I thought they were great and quite wonderful. Fengli is relatable- outcast, angry at the unfairness of the world. I get she's a tomboy, with the dirt on what not. Currently, she’s portrayed great but just be careful in the future not to make it like a she's not ‘like the other girls’ situation if you get what I mean. I hate to see your story take that turn.
The other characters are quite equally well written and natural, they act as you'd expect of their characters.
Shunji is well written, shown to be extremely powerful and has immaturity that comes with power and that age. E.g pranks are not the best way to discourage someone from doing something, if anything it would encourage them to beat what they would see as prejudice trying to stop them in their goals. You wouldn’t expect Shunji to see it like that and he behaves how you would expect someone like him to. Great job there.
Nice solid relationship building between the characters, good balance between plot and character development, MC does outshine the other characters but that is to be expected as she had a more screentime then say Annu
Some nice world building e.g Chenfei, lowlands, cultivation, elements and what not , no complaints in that aspect.
In my opinion, this is an excellent story with a lot of work put into. The focus isn’t all placed on the main character but allows for many points of view which allow to greatly expand on how we view the world set in this story. Also, even if the story uses Chinese fantasy elements, there is no point where it needs heavy knowledge of this type of fantasy and can also be a good starting point for those wanting to learn about this genre.
The story, from what I can see, is split into arcs which change when the main character moves to a new location. Those changes are never done in a rushed way since we always learn small things about the world that when a change is done, we have an idea of what is going on and without being burdened by long exposition. This is done well since the story focuses on political intrigues which affect or could affect the whole world.
One thing that I really love is that every character stays humble to their strength when facing the dangers of the world. I say this because it forces the characters to use their brain to solve things and not rely on any Deus ex machina. This makes every plot point matter and a risk.
I think there is another full arc from where I am, so I will add more things to this review when I am done reading it. Still, one thing I noticed is that the story gets better with every chapter.
So I am currently up to date with the chapters. Here is the biggest selling point for this story. With all the elements presented throughout the story, theories on the plotline and the world can be made. It allows to care about the story as it insists wonders for the future chapters!
In a ways, when looking at other reviews, the grammar is often talked about. Still, the amount of mistakes that take away from the read are really few. On this point, I often care more about a story that is able to give wonders and imagination from the words it use, more than a story that is only skillful at stringing letters since without a good story telling, only comes close to spelling the alphabet.
This is this story strongest point. It's able to give wonder and make you think about the future of some fictional characters.
Overall, I really liked this story - it has great potential especially as the author will continue to improve their writing chops.
There were some issues with both style and grammar. The author writes the webnovel as an anime, at least to my eyes, and it does evoke the imagery. However, the jumps from character to character are either too frequent or should be done in a different manner. Sometimes it is a bit confusing. There was one occasion when the jump took place in the middle of a fight for a few paragraphs and then back to the main character POV.
- This changes farther along in the story, so keep that in mind.
EDIT: after reading a couple more chapters I can pretty convincingly say that the style improves up to 4.5/5, good job! The POV is much clearer and overall things flow better.
It made things interesting but it threw me off for a while so I had to reread. My main improvement areas for this story would be grammar, and also refine the style to have more clarity in it.
I do think there is room to have the character jumps, but with some more finesse. It does provide interesting contrast to what really happens as each character perceives it.
As far as the story itself goes, it is quite interesting. The plots are developing nicely and I got hooked. The MC is very likeable and I am expecting some sort of a development coming with their journey. The other characters are getting intriguing too. It's the whole webnovel conundrum - how quickly should things happen? I think the pace here is sometimes good, sometimes a bit slow - but it is always difficult to rush things. Fine balance.
Character: i like them all, albeit there are quite a few. The only downside is we don't get enough time with either of them to develop an emotional connection early on - it comes after a while, so if you're picking this story, keep reading for a bit to get the full experience.
My favourite is the dynamic of Wolf and Sheep.
EDIT: Wang Shunji has a very intriguing character arc too, it's starting to really ramp up around chapter 12 or so.
Bottom line, it is like reading an anime, so perhaps some adaptations need to be made, and style/grammar taken up a notch, but overall, very interesting narrative and distinctive characters.
With me only having read up to chapter 15 consider this an early review.
First and most important: The Synopsis is very well put and outlines exactly what I'd like to know from it; thus I see no reason to attempt summarizing what you will encounter.
This includes the disclaimer marking this as a "low-fantasy xianxia" which for me is one of the main-selling points of the story. I point this out because I do not even want to count the number fo stories that started great but deteriorated because suddenly every other page it was necessary to redefine the superlative. The presented degree of fantasy is enough to be fantasy/interessting but avoids this mentioned problem. I think Sake Vision did find a good balance in terms of how much xianxia/power to include.
I do enjoy the characters that have been shown in more detail (meaning at least some inner and outer pespektive for them): They as well strike a good balance between interessting on their own and still retain what you want/expect from their features/type e.g. There is no way not petting the cat(girl) is acceptable but you also do not want this to be all that is to the character.
The writing is also solid albeit not something special. However the consistency that is established fast is a major plus. A point to note is that while it avoids the one pitfall of overblown descriptions sometimes the writing gets a little lost in worldbuilding/goes on unrelated tangents. You can do this and it is in the overarching picture often helpful to add to the world if you are elsewise focused on characters - and I see (and accept) that it might be hard to harmonize the history lesson with the girl wanting to climb the castle wall. Still this is sometimes that can be improved on.
The first few chapters had a few minor errors (slightly more than typos e.g. some missing fill words where they would help) and few instances of a strange, unclear perspektive (I felt the distinction between inner monologue spilling into the narrative sometimes not clear and it made the narrator seem agitated). However all of this stops after the first few chapters. Still I think every polish the early chapters can get is worth it for the ebst first impression
Overall: I enjoyed the here presented story and characters. At chapter 15 everything is set up in a very good and round fashion - world presented, characters introduced, motivations presented, background plot teasered - and "the adventure begins".
I did debate if I for now should put in a 3.5 or 4. Since within 15 chapters all the initial chinks/cracks in writing that I noticed have been eliminated this is a promising upwards trend, so 4 it is.
Disclaimer: Note that I am less generous in rating stories than most readers here and I only rated 1 story on RR with 5/5. 4/5 is already more than I gave quite a few stories that I enjoyed reading.
€ Shortened the section about my issues with the first few chapters. It was too long for something that I do consider a non-issue even if I mentioned it because of further polish the story can get.
Quick disclaimer, this isn't a book style I don't normally read, and personally I'm not a big fan of cultivation or Japanese aesthetics (nothing against Japan, just not really a weeb).
I think the book so far up to chapter 4 has potential, but I believe it's held back back by a million tiny flaws here and there such as minor spelling mistakes, scentence flow, and characters acting slightly strange.
The MC is a furry... and ehhhhh... I dunno, I don't like female main protags written like her. Can't really put my finger on it, but I't probably a personal gripe that just rubs me the wrong way. I'm sure if you like this kind of aesthetic you'll enjoy this though. I'm probably the wrong person to be reviewing something like this, but I'll just give some quick pointers if the author decides to do a second draft.
1. Capitalize your damn chapter names! It looks unproffesional and offputting, nuff said.
2. Your first chapter is hurting the most, it's the introduction to the book, it requires the most attention. I have in fact written an indepth nearly 5000 word guide on the subject, so I'll direct you to that.
3. I skipped the synopsis, waaaaaay too long. Nobody is going to read it, shorter = better.
Hope I helped in some way, whether you are the writer or reader! Enjoy the book!
This is a genre that I am not totally familiar with, to the point where I cant tell you if it's a wuxia or xiania(don't even know the difference between them). However, there are some facts that I can say about it and those will be shown off in this review.
First off is the style. I don't truly have anything to compare it to, since its fundamentally different from nearly everything else that I read. If I was forced at gunpoint to compare it to something, however, my best guess would be an LN. It gives the Asian vibes, if that makes sense, meaning that the author must have some idea about what they're doing. For that, I think giving it a 5/5 on that would a safe bet.
Grammar! Most of us have one, yet most of us don't know how to write with it. This story is balancing one a fine pole with this aspect. I would, on some points, say that it does it well, while others have shown lacking aspects. Comma, for one, is needed in some places. Yet, if you ignore the rare piece of comma-chaos, the average grammar quality is quite high. 4.5/5 for that.
Story? Well... I need to pull the unfamiliar card here again. There is very obviously something I'm missing with this genre, and that heavily impacts the way that I look at the story. From what I've gathered, this is a very story-rich piece of work, but others might have something against that. However, I will be sticking with my guns and give this a 5/5.
Characters... Oh, it feels bad pulling it another time. I just can't understand it. There is clearly some consistency with how they are written, there has clearly been thought put into it all, and time has clearly been spent on them, yet there is a clear cultural cut here. I don't understand some of the actions, and that has heavily impacted how I thought of them. 4.5/5 from me.
That totals out to... 4.75 I think? I guess you round up in these situations, so a 5/5 should be fitting.