Can Zhai Zu do wrong? This is the second time I'm writing a review for this novel, and it deserves those five star ratings absolutely. It's just hit chapter 300 a while back, and I feel the plot has progressed enough for me to give you a detailed analysis as to why you should read this novel.
Magnificent. Simply magnificent. The world that has been created is absolutely beautiful. It's insanely large but isn't just limited by sizes. Unlike IET novels, world-building here isn't just about those millions and billions of miles. Because in most Xianxia novels, you really only see the same world, with the same characters again and again. A big fish in a bigger pond. But that just isn't the case with ToHG. Each place feels singularly unique, in culture, tradition, and I dare even say language. Everybody isn't chinese as well. Which is saying a lot, since most popular Xianxia tend to have China copied and pasted across zillions of planets. And ToHG isn't limited by what it isn't. It's not just a case of a novel not fucking it up for once. It's a case of a novel getting it right. It's ridiculously beautiful, how well the novel is made. The world exists to be explored, and our MC Qin Mu explores this world Oh so well. The shattered civilization of Great Ruins isn't just there for our MC to power up and then destroy. It's there for our MC to explore. Qin Mu actually wanders the ruins and sees strange inexplicable things. And that inexplicability, creates that sense of magnificence, and wonder that continues throughout the novel. But it isn't just about a random kid exploring a weird place. Eventually he does begin to find some explanations as to what actually caused great ruins. What happened to this wondrous civilization that made it collapse. But it isn't grandly revelatory, and isn't shoved into our faces in an instant. At constant chapter intervals, we get new facts, that change our opinions, and beliefs, and our characters opinions and beliefs. Frankly put, I would've been satisfied if this story had been about a monk exploring this world. Thats just how satisfying the world is. If any webnovel needs to get converted into a manhwa, or anime or movie. It better be this one.
And this is the only real failure of the novel. The plot is amazing, and I'll be getting to that in a minute, but let's go with this first. Despite an amazing plot, amazing life-like characters, and a beautiful world, the novel clearly isn't perfect yet. While it manages to avoid standard web novel cliches like "you're courting death mother****er" or "he puked out 300 liters of blood and looked up with a grimace, before saying DIEEE MOTHERFUCKER" the novel does fall short of what it can really achieve. And that's a problem with web novels in general. That no matter how fucking good they are, in order to keep up with the release rat they've set, and the expectations of readers, authors often forgo the entire process of proofreading, editing, and the real need of rewriting sections that are underdone. ToHG can really feel like a bit of a rough draft of what really could be made. It feels like Go Set a Watchman, rather than To Kill a Mockingbird. There are underdone portions, where the emotions could've been brought out better, had the author written better. And while I would like to blame this on the translater, I really can't do that either. The translations are near scot-free, and have a good amount of effort put into them. No, it's really more of the author's fault, and an unavoidable part of the webnovel process. Now don't misunderstand me here, I'm not talking about bad grammar or anything. I'm talking instead about the problem of way you write. To convey a ****** message such as a character called Danny watching the sun set, you could set about things in two different ways. You might say "Danny basked underneath the glorious red and orange hues of the setting sun. It blinded him, but he did not care. He felt free. Finally." (ignore the added cheez) Anyway, I think you get the point. Or you could say, "Danny watched the sun come down. It was truly beautiful, and he felt emotional." While I won't get into the technical differences here, you can easily see that the first one felt better, felt truer, and closer to the actual emotions a character might feel. You are conveying emotion through words. However ToHG often has to give up on that, instead literally telling us that a character feels sad or happy, or mad or piteous or dead or whatever. And while that's understandable, it's rather a major flaw in the novel. A flaw that can and should be fixed.
Oh dear god, this novel is one of the best on this website, because of the plot. The pacing is absolutely perfect, though there are occasional flaws, which could've been corrected. The story-arcs are nice, relatively short, and while they don't stun with some insayyne twists at the end like reverend insanity, they are very satisfying conclusions to each arc. Filler chapters are certainly unavoidable, and you have to deal with them, but that does't detract much. It makes for some entertainment while the author planned out the next few arcs. Now coming to the story itself, ToHG took some time to find it's footing. The first novel was frankly a bit of an oddball, though it had some beautiful world-building. The second novel was a bit 'iffy' as well, but by the third novel, things have really begun to pick up, and hit high gear. And now it truly feels like it should be. The problem in the first novel, was often a sort of contradiction in the characterization. At first the Imperial Preceptor, is portrayed as a sort of hated figure, a dictator of sorts and the emperor is but a dummy emperor. Yet this changes a little ways in, and Qin Mu begins to admire the Preceptor. This change in attitude is not the problem, its understandable. Yet it is the problem of the way its written. The first novel really had Zhai Zu trying to find a direction for the novel. I'm glad he chose the direction the novel is currently taking, because it makes for some hilarious moments, accompanied by some darker, and often more badass moments. The novel starts with the disabled elderly of disabled elderly village wanting to stop an invasion of great ruins by imperial preceptor. Which is fine, since this makes for a good portion of the first novel, and thus you would also assume that Preceptor is the real bad guy. <<super minor spoilers ahead. Skip if you have not read novel>> But it turns out thats not the case. Imperial Preceptor is a nice guy, and Qin Mu even recruits him later on. Which again feels weird because its a complete 360 right there. And the elderly's plan doesn't work out, and instead a sun guardian girl turns up to diss everybody and kick ass. And for a second, we have Qin Mu going ahead and saying he'll save her
<<super minor spoiler bits over>>, and you can feel the plot wavering for a second, because that feels like it's going to become like a Shonen Er Gen novel, with wang lin, or Meng Hao or whatever basically powering up just for the sake of pulling some woman out of the reincarnation cycle. But it doesn't. But there are numerous moments like these in the plot, where you can really feel the plot waver, especially in the first book. It improves in the second book, and by the third book, we finaly have a clear idea of where we're going, with the gods becoming our major enemies now. But if you get what I mean, don't let that detract from your experience. You won't notice it particularly, unless you're as done with shonen cliches as I am. But don't worry, work your way through the first book, and you will be rewarded. Of course all that being said, this doesn't at all mean that the first book is ****. I've reemphasized again and again, that the first book has the best world-building so far. And seeing Qin Mu as a ***** and innocent child is really fun. It's also a great introduction to a new and somewhat interesting cultivation system, which is often innovative enough to keep you interested, but no so complex as to drown you in terminology and technicality. The cultivation system is fun, but it doesn get crowded at times, and it could've been pulled off more cleanly. (Like reverend Insanity, where you have levels from 1-9 and then you've also got a **** load of gu, which have different purposes and straightforward names such as vertical crash, which makes you crash forward vertically, or horizontal crash, which makes you crash horizontally, or eat **** gu, which is relatively self explanatory) At any rate names like Nine Dragons transformations technique, and Rulai's Mahayana Sutra, and Heaven Pilfering legs, and Pig slaughtering knife skills and Venomous insect cultivation technique, or the three thousand and fucking one techniques within Heavenly devil/saint scriptures are rather extravagantly, and unneccessarily names which makes it fucking annoying to remember them all.
Absolutely believable characters. They are a 100% believable, and our MC is not a Gary Sue, and is not perfect at all. While he has incredible cultivation, that makes him stronger than most people, there are an equal amount of people equally matched with him, who occasionally kick his ass. Especially his teachers. The disabled elderly appear less frequently in the later books, these characters are very near normal people, not cold calculating machines who have lost all human feelings. Even pangong tso, some badass overgod dude who's been fucking everybody over for 11000 years has human feelings. He gets trigerred when Qin Mu drags him down with thim. None of the characters feel like cardboard cutouts at all. The emperor behaves like an emperor. He is extremely pissed off when Qin Mu disguises him as a ****** monk. Imperial Preceptor is really the sheltered genius he is. He is occasionally *****, though his talent for battle is unsurpassed. Qin Mu does not understand romance at all, and is seriously humble, due to how much his elders kick his fucking ass. Daozi Lin Xuan is a super nice guy, who gets easily swayed, and respects his master a little too much. Fozi Fo Xin is easily swayed, arrogant, and hates being surpassed, becoming very very jealous of our boy Qin. None of them feel flat at all you see. And they all have their own ideologies, but are open to change(except the super orthodox fellows.) And even amongst the orthodox, there are people who act like people. All of them are humans, and in the end, they act human. The monks of Great thunderclap monastery treat buddhism like the religion it is. They will convert people, and they will protect the monastery at all costs. No matter what.
I would say this is simply put, one of the straight up best works on Qidian. Why it wasn't translated earlier I don't know. Would I reccomend it? absolutely. it deserve about 4 stars, but I think if many of those minor mistakes were to be corrected, this could easily be a 4.5 or 4.6 Because it is one of the best novels on this website. While I havn't really covered the plot, I didn't want to, because that would really spoil the novel after all. I think most of the comments in this are very case specific scenarios, that shouldn't be a problem to readers. You can read the review, and still read the book, and still be surprised. Either my verdict:: THIS NOVEL PASSES. ITS AWESOME
btw did i hit the 140 character minimum?