Before you read, or most likely skim, please take notes of a few things beforehand.
1) this is my opinion on this novel. It is subjective, as all opinions are by default, so please avoid getting too butt-hurt or offended.
2) lots of readers seem to be exaggerating the "brilliance" of this novel, or saying that it should be picked and fully translated. My opinion on this is a complete contrast. This novel, from what I can gather, has not been well thought out, and the author's execution of the most basic descriptions is a bigger joke than the Brine King's moveset.
3) yes, like others, I did compare some aspects of this novel to LotM (Lord of the Mysteries). This is because there is an outstanding similarity between not only the title of the novel, but the core concepts of the two. When presented with a counterfeit and an outstanding original, a person with a functioning brain would most definitely pick the latter. If they had both, they would not be able to stop themselves from comparing the two. Admittedly, I myself am one to compare the two, but the points I've conveyed do not merely say, "LotM is better compared to this novel, and therefore LoE is ****." I merely use LotM to explain to my fellow Cuttlefish fans how things could have been done in a better way.
4) if you've not gathered already, several walls of text follow. Skim if you're just asking for a completely unbiased opinion on the first few chapters. READ IN FULL DETAIL IF YOU PLAN ON REFUTING WHAT I SAY. This is for all of us, for rebuking a review, only to find out that what you've said has been mentioned and explained, yet you failed to notice due to skim-reading is a massive waste of everyone's time. Thank you for your consideration. I hope.
Translation Quality: 4 stars
Few mistakes. Grammar seems to be fairly consistent. Aside from occasional missing punctuation, there's not much to say here.
Stability of Updates: 5 stars
Novel is currently in trial read. We'll see how things go if this novel gets picked.
Story Development: 2 stars
Lots of forced plot. The author writes lots of statements out of the blue and expects the reader to believe them without any logical reasoning.
"Is this a prank? Wasn't I drinking at a pub with my colleagues?
Could it be that I was kidnapped?
Something like that?
Am I being hung on the cross by someone?"
It feels extremely clumsy. These lines, which were presumably there to clue the reader in on the protagonist's situation, are completely out of place. In the previous paragraph, the protagonist says that he is in immense pain- yet somehow he could think clearly? The second line, "Could it be that I was kidnapped?" is a shining example of the author's shallow understanding of a person's thoughts. In such a situation, where you've suddenly been transported to another place completely alien and unalike to your own, the most logical thing to do would be to wait and see what's happening around you, not randomly ask if you've been kidnapped. "Am I being hung on a cross by someone?" Is even more absurd. Previously, it hasn't been mentioned at all whether the protagonist has been hung on a cross, and if so, such a statement would be redundant. But following this statement, the protagonist is very clearly described to have opened his eyes for the first time after being transported. If you could feel yourself being hanged, you would simply think, "am I being hung?" rather than specify what you're being hung on. These small details ruin immersion and show how little care the author's taken to put any logical thought or reasoning into the protagonist's mind and expressions.
"No that's wrong. I'm already dead. I'm just a soul now."
Possibly the one of the largest logic-leaps I've seen in any novel so far. Before this statement is made, nothing is mentioned about an afterlife, death, whatsoever. The protagonist knows nothing except the fact that he's nailed to a cross, and that there are two humanoid figures before him. Any sane person would not immediately assume they're dead, and that they're a soul out of the blue.
Following this, he's suddenly given two options, two courses of action to take... by himself? He states he can only do these two things, on what basis? Even more absurd, is the fact that he decides that he can swallow souls, and without explanation, the author explains how the protagonist knows exactly how the ritual in front of him would proceed, and how the "soul exchange balance scales" work.
Additional point. The author has essentially given the protagonist a system. He refuses to admit this, and doesn't make any attempt to provide a reason for such, nor does he try and clock said system in mystery. Even the protagonist himself does not question randomly being given "information fragments" when it's convenient.
If the author were to include this system which tells the protagonist his status, and bits of fact/information of whatever he's looking at, at least use this to cover up those jumps in logic previously mentioned?
So, as far as development goes, the lack of logic completely ruins the momentum and mystery that the author has attempted to build up.
Character Design: 3 stars
The protagonist, from his bearing, is supposed to be a relatively smart and borderline cunning individual. Not so. His illogical thoughts make him seem like someone attempting to act composed, and the author definitely attempts to portray him in this way, but the aforementioned beg to differ.
The protagonist is reincarnated into the body of someone who is very conveniently named the same as his previous body, Tang Qi. Pure laziness. I saw someone mention this in chapter/paragraph comments, and someone refuting the author's laziness by saying, "there's no point in a throwaway name". This much is true, but I'd rather have a throwaway name than this forced plot convenience. If this original name and personal background was as important or relevant as it is in a similar novel, Lord of the Mysteries, which it very clearly isn't, shame on the author. Think what you will, but these minor details are extremely disappointing.
World Background: 1 star
From what I've seen so far, the author intends to take our current reality and edit small parts to his liking, such as renaming them, before throwing them out onto a flat landmass and patting himself on the back. The area the protagonist ends up in after chapter 1 seems to be based off of Europe, as the name "Moses City" would suggest. Moses being a name exclusive to Christianity, which is very prominent in Europe and some parts of Asia, but completely nonexistent in China, as the protagonist's name clearly originates from. This, combined with the problems explained in Character Description bring the world background to 1 star. And combined with the very bland introduction of info-dumping things onto the reader on chapter 3 justify this rating.
If this world's background had even a slight resemblance to the depth Cuttlefish put into Lord of the Mysteries, it would not have such a bad rating. Unfortunately, the author's individually small but very plentiful overlooked details build up for an overall average rating.
The only reason this novel did not score less than average would be the free 5 star on update stability, and translation quality. Content-wise, 2 stars.
(And if you were planning on writing some sort of rebuke to this review, please, please, please avoid saying things like, "but there are so many other half-assed novels that have been translated, and this is better than them." Yes, whilst there are several subpar novels out there, this is an individual review focusing solely on this novel. References and comparisons to LotM only serve as convenience to show how marvellously well Truly Foolish Elder ruined a concept full of potential.)
If you read the entirety of this novel, thank you for respecting the time I put into writing this. I tried my utmost to convey my disappointment in finding a novel very similar to LotM, only to have my hopes dashed upon the cliff we call reality upon actually reading it.
As you can already tell, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone to read. If you're a LotM fan looking for something to stave off the hunger, don't get your hopes up. If you have no clue what the **** LotM is, and don't plan on reading it, read at your own risk.
Have a wonderful quarantine (unless you're already through the pandemic), and I'll see you never again.