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Sunwhisper is the youngest member of an exploration team sent across space and time to find the source of all magic. After his group is wiped out by a single old cultivator, he must find his place as an android in a world without machines, seeking to complete the mission meant to save the reality from which he came. Though his ability to cultivate is almost nonexistent, he has one advantage, the reality he came from was a LitRPG. [participant in the Royal Road Writathon Challenge] Updating Daily all November]
This is a (light) LitRPG, cultivation story.
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Given the amount of progression and cultivation fiction I have read, finding something that has a unique hook has become impotant to keeping my interest in a story. A machine with a game progresion system in a world of cultivators caught my interest even in the premise stage and up to the point I have read, I am glad that it did. While the premise serves to get attention, the content is where the story lives or dies and I do believe what is in each chapter is enough to keep Dao of the Machine in my top three follows on this site.
The world is one I hope to learn more about, as I find it has some potential. Mixing magic systems can often be a tricky road to walk but the common DNA is what allows success. In the early stages, Sunwhisper has a slight leg up to help in getting him on equal footing with even the weakest cultvators. To the point I have read, this has already begun paying dividends and I hope to see the author walk the fine balance between meaningful progression and sustaining a reasonable degree of conflict to keep the stakes high.
Character-wise, I am hoping to see a bit more development, both from the main character and the supporting cast, as I think it may be the point I find weakest right now. The protagonist being from a completely alien world lends to some fish-out-of-water syndrome but the beauty of such stories is often finding some measure of identity in he space between what he is and who the world has made him. Supporting cast, to this point, still feel like plot devices rather than actual characters. I am particularly interested to see what becomes of the seeming female supporting protagonist, as her view of of the world and Sunwhisper makes for an excellent foil to the main POV. While I am interested to get to know all the characters, I do not feel I know any of them well enough yet. Hopefully, this will change as time goes on.
Overall, I think Dao of the Machine is well-written and that the athor should continue to spread their wings. High concept stories flourish when they are not afraid to show what makes their world diferent from all the others and I think this one is already off to a good start.
An interesting and unique(to me) story so far. While it could be called abrupt at points, the author does a good job of providing context to let you figure it out yourself. I prefer this style, avoiding pointless filler and providing more details of the interesting parts. Looking forward to seeing where the story goes.
There's a lot going on here, so much that I sometimes wish it would slow down and explain things more, but the complexity and the "unknown unknowns" are part of what makes this a great read. The biggest takeaway for me is that I haven't read anything like it before.
The grammar is really good for an RR story, but there are definitely slip ups here and there. I've noticed the author does se to respond to people who point them out and do quick changes.
The writing style is not normal for cultivation. It is strong, but it can also feel rushed. The dialogue is really smooth and probably the best part for me.
The story is big and we've only gotten a glimpse into it so far. A lot of promises have been made and the author is going to have to deliver on them soon. The reason I put story at the top is because this one manages to be original without being a joke or a gimmick. The balance of cultivation and litrpg is a tight walk, but so far it has walked that line without falling off. The system manages to matter to the story without taking it over, which I have seen too many times in LITrpgs.
There is some weakness to the character development. The MC is a robot and doesn't feel strong emotions, which can make it seem like I as a reader don't have a reason to care that much about things either. However, I have hope that the author may be bringing things around as the story deepens. There are some good characterizations, but it just isn't there yet.
Overall, I definitely would recommend.
Initial review at 6th post:
Pretty solid grammatically and plot-wise so far. Lots of story threads and promises being made, and MC has a compelling goal with big obstacles in the way. Fast-paced, distinct characters, unique progression system. Definitely a twist on the xianxia genre, in a good way.
As my former zhongwen laoshi would say: Have a try
EDIT after reading to 27:
Having read farther, I have to say it's less a twist on the xianxia genre, and more like an adventure/litRPG story embedded in a xianxia setting. It's still good and the fusion is interesting, but this might not be the story for die-hard xianxia/cultivation novel fans, unless they also enjoy progression and/or adventure novels.
The Dao of the Machine has so far been ecclent in everyway, strong faceted characters with their own motivations within a well realised setting are only the beginning.
Grammer has so far been if not perfect then mistakes where so minor as to be unnoticable.
I will watch this story with great interest.
This is one of the best western cultivation novels I've come across. It is also the only good xianxia I've found that includes game elements. The world building is cool, too. The multiple worlds trope common to xianxia is executed in an novel way that's not just "I'm the strongest in the realm, better move up a level so I'm at the bottom again."