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WIP Lord of the Mysteries by Cuttlefish That Loves Diving - [Original Fiction]

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by andy50, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. andy50

    andy50 Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    387
    Title: Lord of The Mysteries
    Author: Cuttlefish That Loves Diving
    Rating: T
    Genre: Lovecraftian, Fantasy, Mystery, Isekai
    Status: WIP
    Chapters: 776 (More if you can read moon runes)
    Fandom: Original Fiction
    Summary:

    With the rising tide of steam power and machinery, who can come close to being a Beyonder? Shrouded in the fog of history and darkness, who or what is the lurking evil that murmurs into our ears?

    Waking up to be faced with a string of mysteries, Zhou Mingrui finds himself reincarnated as Klein Moretti in an alternate Victorian era world where he sees a world filled with machinery, cannons, dreadnoughts, airships, difference machines, as well as Potions, Divination, Hexes, Tarot Cards, Sealed Artifacts…

    The Light continues to shine but mystery has never gone far. Follow Klein as he finds himself entangled with the Churches of the world—both orthodox and unorthodox—while he slowly develops newfound powers thanks to the Beyonder potions.

    Like the corresponding tarot card, The Fool, which is numbered 0—a number of unlimited potential—this is the legend of "The Fool."
    Link: https://www.webnovel.com/book/11022733006234505/Lord-of-the-Mysteries


    I've finally caught up with the English translations, and this is being translated on a monstrous rate of 17 chapters a week.

    The protagonist is isekai'd into a Victorian era alternate world, and while this books claims to be steampunk, I find that it's a pretty small factor in the story. Overall, this story has a pretty slow power progression. Unlike other isekai stories, which is a nice change of pace from characters turning into godlike super saiyan blue with the rinnegan in the first couple of chapters.

    I'll say the strong points is the worldbuilding and magic system, the lore is never boring, every new detail i learn alters how you view the world and it feels lived in. While the magic system is interesting due to the lovecraftian nature of the story, people who gain powers in the story are at risk of losing control and turn into abominations. This story is not one that pulls punches. The magic system ties into the lore of the story quite well and there are a few twists that are while not shocking, does add a lot of depth.

    I think the villains are excellent, I find that they do not hold the idiot ball and if a villain is far stronger and knowledgeable then the protagonist the story will reflect that. Nothing in the story so far has broken my SoD.

    The bad points I say would be the fact that it is a translated work, the prose is rough around the edges at times. The dialogue is at times a bit cringe in the self masturbatory way that is prevalent in isekais. But it's not too common.

    Overall 4.5/5
     
  2. Zansa

    Zansa Fourth Year

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    This is by far my favorite translated WN. The start is a little rough because you're deluged with information about the world and almost none of it seems to matter, and in a typical WN it wouldn't. LoM has a wonderfully interwoven world and very tight storytelling though, none of what you learn is irrelevant or filler even if it may seem like it at the time.

    The story comes into its own once book 2 starts. Book 1 is dedicated to setting up the world and characters, and getting Klein acquainted with his new life and the way things work. Book 2 opens up you multiple POVs spanning the globe, all of them working independent of each other yet united by Klein's alter ego The Fool. This is not a story where secondary or supporting characters are tripping over each other to fellate the MC's Holy Protagonism, all of the characters are their own people pursuing their own interests with their own intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and biases.

    The world itself is deep and many-layered. I won't say a lot because the world is so tightly constructed and woven together that it's hard not to spoil some aspect of it, but for the first book and part of book 2 the world seems very "understood." There are seven churches, some of them are fighting each other, some of them are allies, you've seen it before you know what to expect. Book 2 disavows this notion. Very little of what the world seems like on the surface is how it actually is, and the more answers you get the more questions you have.

    If you've read xianxia or xuanhuan before you'll be familiar with the power system. You have realms of power that clearly delineate power levels one is capable of exerting. Lord of the Mysteries has, by far, the most unique and the coolest power system I've seen in a xianxia and xianxia-adjacent story. It's much closer to a system like Path of Exile or Diablo. Power is gained by ingesting potions. The first potion you ingest starts you down its pathway, of which there are many. The MC goes down the Seer pathway, but there's Monster, Bandit, Mystery Pryer, Prisoner, etc.

    These potions essentially confer job titles onto whoever drinks them, and they have to act like their job title suggests. Seers have to act like seers to continue leveling, Bandits have to act like bandits, etc. When you've finished digesting your potion you can drink the next one to get a new job title and you have to act according to that one's rules to continue leveling. Each pathway has its own strengths and weaknesses, and one of the best parts of LoM is that the MC's is very weak in direct combat. The Seer pathway loses to pretty much anything so the MC has to rely on preparation and outsmarting them in order to win. Unlike other WNs in the same vein as this one, the MC is not suddenly able to overcome this weakness for plot reasons. He often has to give up on rewards or adventure because he's just too weak to deal with it or there's not enough information for him to prepare thoroughly.

    This is another area where LoM shines. If the MC can't do something he won't suddenly power up and defeat all comers, but his weaknesses can be filled in by other people so he'll almost always include others in his plans and request help. If something is dangerous and needs dealt with immediately, he'll alert the proper authorities and let them deal with it.

    The powers conferred are suitably creative, there aren't any lightning beams being flung around or contests of raw magical power. The pathways and the levelups are well thought out and creative, and higher realms do more than give +5 magic +5 str +5 dex. They open new creative ways to tackle problems, and the author uses that to great effect. Using sheer destructive might to get your way in the world is not a tenable strategy here, even if you're one of the strongest beings on the planet.

    The translation is good but there are some things that annoy me going between it and the raws. Mostly it's the repetition of the word "lampoons". It's an odd word in the first place, but the translators throw it around like it's going out of style. Some of the other things they've translated are better than the raws though. In English the people with powers are called Beyonders, in Chinese they're called fēifánzhě, literally meaning "extraordinary person." Blegh.

    As someone who hates Lovecraftian horror and steampunk and Victorian England-ish settings, I adore Lord of the Mysteries. As far as I'm concerned this on the same level as Mother of Learning. 5/5
     
  3. Heosphoros

    Heosphoros Fourth Year

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    122
    Location:
    Brazil
    I mostly agree with of the previous posters. It's my favorite webnovel and, from what I heard, one of the most popular webnovels currently on China, despite (or perhaps because of) it's unusual setting for the country. I didn't have any problem with the grammar, but then, my english skills aren't the best, plus my standards may have been broken from years of reading fanfiction and fan translations. The nature of the "magic system", of having 22 distinct powersets, make the fights and conflicts pretty strategic, with each opponent maneuvering to better lever their own strengths.

    The Tarot club born from the MC's "cheat" is also always fun to watch. It's basically a trading and information sharing group. Members are well done characters with their own point off view sprinkled in from time to time, which adds to the world's gradual revelation through their distinct backgrounds, powers and adventures.

    The Lovecraftian description comes more from the insanity inducing evil gods and the dangers of losing control present from drinking the potions than traditional cosmic horror. And the Steampunk tags it's just from being a pretty faithful representation of Victorian London, the author even cites his historical research sources at some point. No airships and the like, for better or worse.

    To add another inspiration that I believe wasn't talked about, there is some SCP vibes going on. The Sealed Artifacts mentioned at the summary are the other major source of power outside of the personal power granted by the potions, with the feature of always having a con proportional to the power it possess/grant. These cons may be, for instance, the existence of a malicious consciousness inhabiting the item or the risk of having the soul suck out if staying on its vicinity beyond a certain amount of time. As their name suggest, they are mostly kept sealed when not in use, to reduce the exposure to the detrimental effect.

    5/5
     
  4. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Messages:
    6,008
    Someone else that's read this want to give this some more attention. Couple good posts so far, but don't want to let it sit forever.
     
  5. thejabber27

    thejabber27 Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    349
    So I've read several hundred chapters of this and I'm taking a break from it. But from a review perspective I feel this needs to be judged on three things.

    Plot: 3.5/5 Round this up to 4, it's quiet different from the normal Xiaxian fair that you get. The plot has nice layers and the main character is nice. The problems are two-fold 1) some of the supporting cast are really grating... mostly Audrey but a few others as well 2) Without too many spoilers it's the weirdest checkov's gun I've seen in awhile and it seems to happen twice from where I am in the story.

    Translation: 3/5 Qidian (the company that owns webnovels) is known for often doing translations that are barely above MTL at times and Lord of mysteries translations have been a mixed bag one chapter I read had a bunch of random text for paragraph breaks so yeah.

    Qidian: 1/5 So there's is a lot of controversy around this company in the web novel community. Mostly this is around premium paywalls, how the website is run and a lot of shady threats and poaching the company did to translators when they first started the english site along with poor quality machine translations that they put behind paywalls. Where that comes in for this novel is that after chapter 129 or 130 you hit their paywall which is a soft paywall (some type of site participation gets you access to a limited amount of chapters per day). The way they have it set up now won't see this chapter limit be extended.

    So the story gets a 3/5 from me but I'd recommend finding an aggregator site for all Qidian novels. Worth reading if you have a lot of time on your hands.
     
  6. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Cyber City Oedo
    High Score:
    1204
    I've read some 900-odd chapters of this over the last week(s), so I think it's about time I drop a review.

    I really do like this. I've read, by this point, a few different Chinese web novels, so I think I've got a decent handle on what could normally be expected, and this story surpasses those by a wide margin.

    For example, let's start with the fact that there's an actual world that's been built, not cardboard setpieces in which the hero temporarily swaggers around, has the occasional fight in or uses as a base for excursions into the wilderness or something. If you're familiar with xianxia you'll know that, in the end, there's very little that sets one place apart from another except wealth and the local variation on The Evil Li Clan, The Eviler Li Clan, The Neutral Wu Clan, and Those Other Guys. Instead, Lord of Mysteries has cities that feel like cities - there's sewers, boroughs, social clubs, balls, houses for the poor and more. There are at least three Kingdoms, with at least Loen and Intis having different cultures where people eat different (non-Chinese!) food and act different.

    Second, the main character - Klein Moretti - doesn't have everything go his way all the time. Every so often things go sideways, which results in him actually having to come back from the dead and/or run the fuck away or having side characters he cares about die. That usually doesn't happen; all setbacks for the Main Character are decreed by Xianxia Law to be temporary and meant to incite glorious vengeance. Here, none of that's happened yet.

    Third, there's the fact that characters aren't one-and-gone affairs, except for a few that get to jump over into the next realm with the protagonist. Characters from the first arc come back and are playing a pretty decent role in the most recent arc, because even though their strength hasn't been updated in accordance with that of Klein they're officials in the local police force, which means that hey, they actually have importance still.

    Fourth, the deep lore which underpins the story's power system is pretty interesting. I was doubtful when it was described as Lovecraft or whatever, but yeah, it actually is pretty eldritch at times and kind of fucked up. Not everything about it is my jam - the Demoness path transforming you into a woman if you want it or not is bizarre, especially when one character taunts another about having once been a man. But shit gets entertainingly weird at higher sequences so far, and the main character's cheat certainly hasn't rendered him invincible.

    That said, with the advantages of location, progression, characterization, and action, there's still a few downsides.

    One is that whenever a POV shift happens, it's usually pretty jarring. Klein might be tracking down a human trafficker who murdered hundreds of people, and then a sudden shift to Audrey, who accidentally fed a superpower potion to her dog so it can talk now. It's weird and while it is sometimes necessary, the shift in tone can sometimes tear you out of the story entirely, which is a definite minus.

    Another is that the translation quality wavers. There are certain things which I presume are just inherently Chinese, but the translator has no excuse for continually translating them as courting death or inwardly lampooning or whatever. I don't like that stuff.

    In summary, this story is an easy 4/5 and I'd recommend it if you're looking for long web fiction.
     
  7. andy50

    andy50 Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    387
    So Book 6 just ended and honestly, the end might've been the high point of the series so far

    We finally get a conclusion to the City of Silver story, through sacrifice and tribluation. Colin is possibly my favorite character in the whole series.

    Apparently someone has been pretending to be the earth mother for thousands of years all culminating in this moment. Now her recruiting the Sanguine all makes sense now.

    Adam finally becomes a god. Amon has attained the First Blasphemy slate.

    I assume Klein becoming an angel is imminent.
     
  8. andy50

    andy50 Groundskeeper

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    387
    Lord of the Mysteries english translations have now finished, at 1394 chapters.

    Possibly the best world building I've ever read. The plot was great, it really did feel like the world was a mystery that was gradually uncovered as the protagonist progressed in the story, with our initial assumptions and information being proven false over the course of the story.

    Character were a bit of a mixed bag, some characters were amazing with interesting and sometimes surprising motivations you only find out in the book's various plot twists. A few of the occasional POV characters were a bit stale. But the strongest characters had a sense of epicness to them, that made them feel like someone that's lived for hundreds/thousands of years.

    Overall I'll stay with my 4.5/5 rating.