In which we find the Laws behind the Dao.
Lu Jie wakes up in a world of cultivation, with martial arts and powers that be, and the mad chase for the immortal heavens and above, beaten bloody in a spar he doesn't remember being a part of. Yet, as he prepares to escape the murderous cultivators he is captivated by an old Alchemist's pills that heal him within moments. A magical pill.
Finding the love of discovery that made him pursue science in his studies budding through when presented with real magic, Lu Jie sets out to study the immutable truths hidden within cultivation as he will go against the very Heavens and spark an age of knowledge and Science.
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The description says that the story is about trying to discover the laws of cultivation, but not to expect "hard science" as in numbers and graphs. So what I was expecting was a lot of theorizing, hypothesis testing, stuff like that. We don't get it.
To make a story of magical investigation work, you need to have a complex, well-developed magic system first. Then the MC can poke and prod at it to discover its secrets. I get the impression that this author didn't do the work of developing such a system, so there's no science to be done. Instead we get science-themed "I improved the efficacy by 4%" without showing the character's work.
The bulk of the story so far seems to be normal xianxi conflicts and pet collecting, but instead of an OP MC we have a super lucky MC who gets out of scrapes purely due to people being unusually nice to him.
I get the impression this story is trying to be Beware of Chicken, but with alchemy instead of farming. I like BoC, but I think stories have to deliver on their central premise.
Also, the grammar is pretty rough.
So, I read 20 or so chapters more at the author's suggestion. I have to say that it does get a bit more interesting, mainly the side characters get a bit more personality and background. To be fair, this may not be my type of story, but I'm fairly sure most would enjoy it, so I recomand to at least try it for a few chapters.
Now, the review for chapters 30-50:
Sadly, the main point of attraction of this novel, the scientific method of cultivation gets even more sidelined for normal xianxia bullshit like yin and yang, light-dark spirit and so on. About the most scientific thing in those chapters was the use of the word "energy" instead of "qi". Oh well.
Now, the fun part! Character progression(in cultivation) of the MC almost makes a stept forward!!! I'm pretty sure that in at most another 50 chapters the MC will get go progress from the peak of 3rd stage to the 4th!
Review until chapter 30:
It started nice enough. The idea of using some rational and logical paterns to break down cultivation was very good even if not original. At the start I was still interested in what the MC would do and how he would approach his problems, but, as chapters go on and on, nothing happens...
I get that experimenting and analizing isn't the most exciting, but when you keep reading the MC monologing that he should experiment with this or with that and he never does it or it hapens off screen and it fails it starts to get boring.
All in all, nothing happens in all the chapters I read(30). The MC is still as clueless as he was in the first chapter, his cultivation doesn't improve, his social standing is the same. The only things he improved a bit on is his financial situation. Sadly, I found myself skimming through the last chapters as it became a chore to read them.
The story starts well enough, but as of chapter 50, the OP MC levels start rising, the quality of the writing drops, and I just can't stand it any more.
The story really isn't scientific, and it feels like there are more memes than content. The number of references rises as much as the MCs plot armor does, and after a certain point, and a certain number of magical spirits giving him aid, where you just have to cut your loses and salvage what you can.
Settle down, my dear reader and open up all of your senses because I'm about to dispense to you an advanced review cultivation technique!
Here before us, we have an ancient, twelve day old book. On its twelth day, it has managed to achieve three hundred readers with ZERO outside promotion by the author. This shows us that this writing technique is nothing but pure, absolute power that will break the firmament of the heavens and reach the immortals sitting at the top of this site in their seats of divine power.
But let us not get buried in techniques and numbers. From the very first chapter I realised that this will be a grand sucess - the cultivation world is fun to explore and even more fun to cut apart to see what makes it tick and squirm.
Werds_Are_Tough has chosen an excellent first person style for this narrative and it works quite well - as an avid reader I felt quite well connected with the MC. The mc isn't super defined in terms of backstory, so anyone clever enough can place themselves in their shoes. It's a modern man's cultivation - in which you, as a reader are placed into the shoes of the main character who rejects the common tropes of the cultivation [punching people and beasts in the face repeatedly for greater power] and takes on the exploratory / investigative role, trying to learn as much as possible, making friends and aquiring an adorable helper mouse in the process.
Grammar is very tight, only a couple of minor spelling errors.
All of the character interactions presented thus far are very compelling starting from the first conversation of the mc with the old alchemist. The characters don't feel like cardboard cutouts and live in a complex, interesting world.
Overall: There is a ton of potential here, keep it up!
A pretty basic cultivation story that will be enjoyable to most fans of the genre.
That being said, the premise of a scientifically minded person from our modern world applying said knowledge and methodology to Qi and Cultivation doesn't exactly follow through.
It's just a matter of it all being a fair bit hand wavy to actually be anything rational. Like, I think it was in the 6th chapter, the MC talks about how a pill he experimented on was 4% more potent and 19% faster to make. Except those are just numbers thrown out to make it seem like the MC is sooper dooper smart and all that. We get nothing about how he knows that.
How does he measure potency? What units? With what instruments? How does he know it's 4% more "potent"? Same with speed. There was never a mention of a clock, time piece or anything of the sort. No math or calculations done. Just an [insert random number] to give the illusion of science.
So yeah, not a deal breaker. It's a decent read. But it plays really, really loose with anything scientific. Not that it needs to read like a research paper, but it honestly comes across as - more or less - a bog standard cultivation type of story, as opposed to the deconstruction or rational lense you might think from the premise.
I was promised magic science. I did not really get any.
Instead we got a dude from 2022 western country that thinks it is science fact that all xianxia really needs is modern day earth's social justice and "real communism".
If only all cultivation resources were shared equally between The People then we would have a utopia. That is the MC's goal.
Also got some humor based on misunderstandings.
This feels like an inspired work that somehow doesn't inspire me to keep reading it. I feel like I've seen every trope and every character that this story has to offer in other works, and just can't find the will to keep going about it. Definitely take this criticism with a grain of salt, as wuxia is far from my favorite genre. I started reading it because I heard it was a break of form, and while yes it isn't a typical eastern wuxia, it's certainly feels somewhat bog standard when it comes to "western" ones. This feels like an inspired work that somehow doesn't inspire me to keep reading it. I feel like I've seen every trope and every character that this story has to offer in other works, and just can't find the will to continue reading this story. It's got the quiet poison person, the moon phases people, the twin spirited MC, spreading of knowledge, et cetera. It almost seems like its trying to check off a list of items. The story is a fun one, and alchemy is always fun, but besides the divergence of gu and qi, it's a story I've already read. The gu/qi cover up mystery is fun, and honestly if there weren't so many grammatical errors (ie misplaced commas almost every other paragraph, or two characters talking in the same paragraph) I feel like I could continue reading it. As it stands right now I think I'll wait for revised or published version.
I'll preface this review by saying that I don't like wuxia, I don't like cultivation stories, and all that.
But, with that said, I am enjoying the story so far. It contains less "huh, I need to cultivate harder to become stronger and ascend" and more investigations on the nature of things, more casual interactions.
Now, the style: To be honest, I've never understood what style was meant here, so I'll do my best.
I think the style is not a bad one, it's rather direct in the way it describes things, less flowy and metaphorical, and more "this is a plant, its swaying gently in the breeze, with its leaves and stems bending with the flow, it's green and has a slight glow to it" instead of "the plant follows the rhythm of the world, it's leaves reflecting the nature and shimmering with an internal light, akin to the sun and moon". More in line with a science story than a magical wonder story. Both are fine, in moderation. I feel this story works with it well
Story: I am not a fan of cultivation, I said. And there are elements I don't really enjoy. I am a big fan of a lot of other things in this, though, all the alchemical stuff, as well as conversations. I'm not entirely sure where the story wants to go with our MC, there doesn't seem to be an overarching goal, outside of the end-step of demystifying cultivation.
Grammar: this is the worst category by far. It's not completely unreadable, but there are a lot of errors, misspellings, times where a sentence doesn't make sense or runs on, and a few direct contradictions.
Character: I was unsure what to put here, but decided on three stars. The reason it's not more, is because I find the MC kinda bland, which is fine in generic "oh, I am a hero in another world" type of stories. But this guy just seems like he has nothing to him, no real substance. Now, the reason it's not lower is because I enjoy the other characters in this story, labby is interesting and cute, I love the misunderstanding and motivation of Yan Yun(? I can never remember these types of names), and I am a fan of how you managed to make Su Lin appear more interesting and relatable.
Well the other reviewers have already said the basic, there is no development on the science part of the premise, the alchemy is extremely shalow and the MC start to get more and more plot armor and super OP things as the story continues, but the worst part was the ending of the first major Arc.
The story started with the MC encarnating in a body that got killed by the young masters of the sect in a cultivation battle. Seeing this the MC decides to stop pursuing cultivation and instead tries his hand at alchemy. That's the whole thematic setup of the story, the MC trying to find another path in this world other than punching his problems away. But imagine my surprise when the solution for his main problem so far, the twins, is punching them away with his super cultivation techiniques he got from a trial cave just like anyother xianxia MC. It seems like the author didn't stop for 5 seconds to ponder how to solve the conflicts in their story without undermining completely its bases.
Idk who would want to read this, if you liked the premise the author just drop it halfway through and if you want a generic xianxia experience there is better product outhere
For me, the story starts well but it slowly lost its appeal.
Average. Not particularly bad but nothing to wow you either.
This is something I don't really care about, just as long as the errors aren't so distracting.
Like a lot of stories I found here, this story lost what makes it interesting as it goes. It strays from its premise to fall into tired tropes and cliches.
I mean, the descirption of the story says:
"In which we find the Science behind the Dao.
A lighthearted story about a guy transmigrated into a Xianxia who decides to make the best of his situation by pursuing his love for Science."
As the story goes, this description cease to appropriately describe the story. It isn't so lighthearted anymore with anything lighthearted becoming more and more scarce. It becomes a pretty standard Xianxia story with practically nothing to differentiate it from the rest.
It also barely shows any love of science with most answers and knowledge are not found through exploration, research or investigation. Things often just comes in the form of the protagonist simply asking people (typical an old man he knew) who then proceeds to hand out the answer, if the answer just doesn't fall into the protagonist lap by themselves. So much for love of Science when the story shows that Science is not capable of giving you the answer or you just end up with just receiving knowledge others already knew.
Not that there aren't moments where the story fullfils its promise, it is just not particularly good in execusion or just not focused on it. At most, it is not really about love of Science but creating/inventing stuff for the protagonist to show off.
There is also a lack of a clear idea what this story is about or any sort direction it is going for. Most things lacks any buildup or proper resolution. It is pretty aimless and goes wherever the author's whim at the moment takes it.
The characters overall doesn't stand out that well. It is not because they are poor or lacking or anything; they do have really strong potential. The story just doesn't enable them to shine that much.
Essentially, the characters are barely presented any challenge, not essentially a big ass conflic mind you, but something that they have to work hard for or overturns their understanding and beliefs. Something that would impact them in a big way.
Take the protagonist for example and his "love" for science. His love for science is barely challenged. if something doesn't work, then he just ask someone else and boom things work if things doesn't just fall into place by accident.
The real challenge would be, if he wants something but can't get it? Not from the things he know or capable of, not from the things other people already know, but to trully go through a path that was never taken before? Or he just simply trully failed?
But nothing like that ever happens to the characters. Everything is pretty much easy going for them with the most challenge they have mostly inconsequential. Of course, the story is supposed to be lighthearted but that doesn't mean that that character's life be totaly devoid of any actual challenges.
Essentially, you are watching a bunch of characters playing in easy mode.Without anything particularly noteworthy happening to them, the characters aren't able to present anything noteworthy about themselves either.
Overall, it is just a pretty okay story. You could enjoy it and you most likely would not be disappointed for reading it. It just doesn't really provide you with deep engagement of any sorts. You would not get offended by it or anything, but it isn't going to left much of an impression either.