1. Hi there, Guest

    Only registered users can really experience what DLP has to offer. Many forums are only accessible if you have an account. Why don't you register?
    Dismiss Notice
  2. DLP Writing Competition
    Topic is EITHER Hogwarts Ghosts OR Duelling!
    Click here for more Guest!
    Due Date is June 20th!
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Introducing for your Perusing Pleasure

    New Thread Thursday
    +
    Shit Post Sunday

    READ ME
    Dismiss Notice

Will Wight - Cradle

Discussion in 'Books and Anime Discussion' started by Otters, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    203
    High Score:
    2005
    This is one of the better series I've come across through my trawling of Kindle Unlimited books. This is a series of Wuxia novels (martial arts / ki cultivation fantasy) written by a Western author. There are some fun mechanisms in here, and the writing was to a far higher standard than almost all other writers in this genre. Quite possibly because it was written in English, rather than being a bad translation from Chinese.

    [​IMG]
    There are a lot of fun mechanisms within the setting itself, and we always have this impression of a grander scope. The power creep is always moving further and further along, but it's somewhat internally consistent. We start off in a fantasy-typical isolated valley, but move throughout the series to progressively more outlandish locations with comparatively more powerful inhabitants. All the typical wuxia toolsets are out here: absurd training regimens, magical mana-dense fruit to eat to grow powers, creative twists on old techniques to eke out more reward for more effort, and so on.

    It's not a perfect series; the distant goal seems so very far away that we will never reach it, making the overarching plot largely forgettable compared to the plots of the individual novels. There's a parallel to the distant level of the protagonists skill and the enemies he's preparing to face there, I suppose. The most recent book was an especially mawkish exercise in derailment - the entire book was basically a single dungeon trip. And as a matter of fact, as I type this, there does seem to be a very dungeony element to narrative structure here. I imagine the author is drawing a lot of influence from video games as well as other wuxia stories. It makes for a pleasing hybrid, given how compatible the systems are.

    Characters are head and shoulders ahead of the competitors in other wuxia novels. There are some cliches, but nothing too heinous. The biggest weakness of characterisation is the strong correlation between the characters magical gimmicks and their personalities - they're defined somewhat too much by their abilities and not enough by their motivations or relationships. It makes them more forgettable than they would be otherwise.

    Perhaps the best part of this is the worldbuilding. There are glimpses of something like Sanderson's Cosmere-lite in the wider universe, but in addition to that the local world has fantastic worldbuilding and variety of creatures and places in a way which eclipses Sanderson's one-note worlds.

    All in all, it's a fun and easy read. I'd recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone looking for a way to kill a few hours. While it's not truly exceptional, it's enjoyable, and quite possibly the best entry point into the wuxia genre a Western reader could ask for.
     
  2. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    542
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    High Score:
    4400
    I picked it up. Struggled through the first few chapters.

    It's not...bad per se. Its more of a guilty pleasure read imo.

    That said, as someone completely new to this genre of writing...it felt like the author relied a bit too much on the audiences having some sort of knowledge and familarity with wuxia.

    I honestly started to feel kinda lost by the end of the first book. I also really struggled to connect with the protagonist.

    3.5/5 stars for solid technical writing and a decent read. But I prolly won't be purchasing any of the other books.
     
  3. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    Cyber City Oedo
    High Score:
    1204
    Read all five books that are out in a single day. I'll echo CareOtters' opinion: very serviceable timewasters and probably the best wuxia/cultivation story I've ever read. Which isn't saying that much, admittedly.

    The best way to describe this series is basically cultivation adapted to western sensibilities, such as the protagonist not being a money-grubbing dickhole and not being surrounded by an adoring gaggle of women all constantly described as superattractive, whose only real differences are boob size and sometimes name. I don't think foreknowledge of wuxia is necessary, although it definitely helps.

    Honestly, these books are fun reads. Writing itself is solid. The author does have a couple of lines he repeats every so often, like Lindon having the face of a thug. The plotlines never deviate too far from standard molds, but they're written well enough I found myself not really caring. I am sort of surprised at the absence of romance, but frankly considering the romance/harem bullshit in most wuxia that might be a good thing. The protagonist does get a bunch of unique advantages, but they're not egregious and it's always clear what he's very far from the top.

    4/5 stars for me.
     
  4. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    203
    High Score:
    2005
    New book just landed. Curious to see where things are going - looks like standard fare of reconvening with rivals after mutually powering up to fight for supremacy in a tournament of some kind.

    Strong suspicions that the author is into shonen anime.
     
  5. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,868
    High Score:
    6005
    I got to the end of the second or third audiobook (the one with the spear in that temple thing) and I just had to stop. I think this series solidified to me how much I just hate cultivation as a concept. It's basically Power Levels, with kung fu mixed in. If someone is two cultivation levels higher than you, don't even bother. You literally can't even scratch them.

    I was excited in the beginning with the Hyuga Gentle Fist teasing but bleh. Rapidly lost interest.
     
  6. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    203
    High Score:
    2005
    Wintersteel came out yesterday. I started reading at 2am for an hour or so then finished it today.

    Second book of tournament shenanigans, which is eh so far as plot goes. But there was a lot of seeing the protagonists really come into their own with new abilities and their power levels to go up a notch - and that's what we come here for, right? Some satisfying character development in this, and the last 10-15% of the book in particular had some neat payoffs.

    Continues to be the best of the wuxia (even if 90% of the reasoning is because it's the only coherent written one in English)
     
  7. Aisosa

    Aisosa First Year

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2020
    Messages:
    29
    This isn't Reverend Insanity

    On topic though, I'll check out Wintersteel. Breezed through the other installations in the series earlier this year and I remember being mildly entertained but not impressed
     
  8. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    Cyber City Oedo
    High Score:
    1204
    Finished Uncrowned and Wintersteel. Still pleasantly surprised! Lindon actually getting beaten for being a sad sack in the middle of a fight was a pleasant surprise. About time the romance came into play, as well.

    One theory that occurred to me, though, what with the events of Wintersteel:
    Lindon might become another Dreadgod, or at least something close. He's got the hunger madra, he ate just a tiny little grain of the Wandering Titan, and now he's even better prepared to munch on some turtle shell with his Void Icon.

    Another theory, inspired by reading too much bad xianxia: Lindon is now a Herald-Underlord, and Yerin is now a Sage-Overlord. Give Lindon a little boost to Overlord (which wouldn't be too much of a leap, really, once he's eaten his fill of points) and the odds are good that they'll find the fusion technique that was obviously foreshadowed by the infodump on the Eight-Man Empire and become a Monarch when they're together. After which Eithan and/or Dross make a sex joke.
     
  9. Ceebee

    Ceebee High Inquisitor

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    544
    Wintersteel was a very good book, excellent even, if you're even a passing fan of xianxia/cultivation. It had a huge amount of satisfying moments, good bits of humor sprinkled throughout (Points!), and thankfully absolutely zero off-world Abidian/meta story chapters.

    You've got Lindon & Yerin's stages backwards BTT, Lindon is a Underlord-Sage and Yerin is an Overlord-Herald. There was a bit of bait-and-switch because the majority of the book Yerin was attempting to become a Sage by manifesting the Sword Icon, but merged with her Blood Shadow at the end to become the pseudo-Herald.

    It was pretty great with Ruby and her interaction with Lindon when she visited. Pretty sad but understandable when Lindon turned her down because she wasn't Yerin. Which directly led to being the driving motivation for Ruby agreeing to merge with Yerin, i.e. merging would be the only way Ruby could be with Lindon.

    In terms of cultivation information, this book answered the two biggest questions. Previously we knew about the higher stages/realms, but not quite what the requirements were to reach them, as they're a bit of a jump from the '---lord' tier.
    1. Underlord - Overlord - Archlord ~ Sage
    2. Sage ~ Herald - Monarch
    We also knew that Sages and Heralds had something extra/difficult that they had to do advance, and now we know the thing that separates them: To be a Sage you need to touch/manifest an Icon and get a modicum of 'Authority' over the 'Way'. To be a Herald you need to manifest and merge with your Remnant, to be a Monarch you need to do both.

    In terms of Lindon & Yerin doing some kind of merge to approximate a Monarch, I'm skeptical. There might be a power-share technique, but I don't think they'll do a DBZ-fusiondance style merge.

    I imagine the next book is going to be predominately about 1) Dreadgod in Sacred Valley and Yerin face-slapping everyone on her and Lindon's behalf 2) Lindon & Yerin progressing to Archlord normally so they become a full Sage & Herald, respectively. 3) Eithan probably becoming a Sage pretty quickly.

    The book after that will probably be about finishing off the Dreadgod, the trio (maybe Mercy too?) maybe advancing to Monarch and ascending.

    One thing I didn't like about Wintersteel was Lindon's Hollow Domain, projecting a 'no u' dome that stops techniques is a pretty boring/by the numbers protagonist power and are tricky at a meta level.

    They either work 100% of the time and are too OP, which begs the question why don't other people develop similar techniques? Or they only work on scrubs and MC steamrolls in a lame fashion i.e. Lindon's one-shot rampage through the Uncrowned assassination squad at the end.

    All in all, a great book and I'm eagerly awaiting future installments.
     
  10. Spanks

    Spanks Chief Warlock

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,452
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Just finished all the books. Loved them. Could not give a shit about the Abidan chapters tho. I wish the author would just do a Rocks fall and everyone died with the Abidan. I’m much more interested in the story on Cradle.
     
  11. Damy

    Damy First Year

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    Messages:
    33
    Gender:
    Male
    Hopefully that worked as intended. Nevertheless, regarding Eithan

    Eithan got the deal from the Lion guy (Reigan Shen) to sponsor him to herald. So I'm fairly sure that is his next goal. It also makes sense, because we know that while doing sage to herald is dangerous, herald to sage is merely difficult. We also know that although some achieve sage by knowing their icon very well, as Eithan says, that can be largely circumvented by having high willpower - such as the willpower gained from using the Heaven and Earth Purification Wheel. And Eithan has been cultivating it for far longer than Lindon. So he can probably force herald to Sage at any time and most importantly the instant he gains herald.

    And

    I'm looking forward to a) More of Kelsa b) her meeting the Jai siblings and c) Jai Chen meeting Lindon again - I really like that they met even in this timeline. Also, it's a cliche in XianXia/Wuxia/Xuanhuan that a crippled person, once healed, can turn that experience into talent/strenght and I really hope it applies for Jai Chen, she really deserves it.

    Great book. I'm happy we're done with the tourament arc, and have high hopes for the future.
     
  12. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    528
    Location:
    Maryland
    I'm three books in so far, starting on the fourth. I'll make an update either when I finish the next three, or if I stop reading.

    So far I'd describe it as... sufficient.

    Pros:
    - Interesting Paths. I wouldn't mind extra chapters about different paths people have, and other world-building. Despite being 3 books in, we only really know about a handful of them. I want to see more people from more paths. Instead, we see a lot of characters from the same few paths, which makes sense in-world but I wish there was more variety. Blackflame is cool but not that original. Hello Blackfire from teen titans, Amaterasu from Naruto, shadowform from WoW, we meet again. I have a guilty pleasure for it though so I don't mind much.
    - Great side characters. Particularly, Jai Long's conflict (though it feels a bit muddy).
    - Sense of wonder and mystery. The world is slowly being unveiled, and even 3 books in, I'm not certain what the scope of it is yet. Endgame is likely Suriel-level, but on Cradle, who knows. I want to know more about certain characters, like Markuth Li. I want to meet the people we saw in book 1 in Suriel's vision. However, I really hope this series doesn't devolve into Lindon throwing galaxies like shuriken into Dreadgods.
    - No harem


    Neutrals:
    - The writing is just good enough that it doesn't detract.
    - The protagonist is about as blank-slate as it gets (no personality, very predictable, nothing he says or does is particularly inspiring) however, he's not off-putting.
    - Predictable foreshadowing/"plot twists" (bets on Jai Chen being Lindon's wife from Suriel's vision?) I don't think anything has shocked me yet. Of course Eithan was an Arelius. Of course Yerin will absorb her master's remnant. The only thing that slightly rose a brow was Eithan having pure madra, and that was only because I thought Eithan was on the same path as the rest of his clan (they have the same powers?). I didn't realize his Path was unknown until Yerin mentioned it.
    - For an action/adventure story, the action scenes aren't that riveting.
    - Since the author is a disciple of the path of xianxia, the story is as long and slow as one might expect. This is truly a journey.
    - Yerin is blatantly Akame from Akame ga Kill.


    Cons:
    - The Suriel chapters.
    - I don't like how the power level system echoes something like DBZ, where Suriel's power level is probably called Super Empress Super Ultradiamond Truegold Ultradiamond Ultratruegold.
    - Some of the usual trappings of xianxia like qi pills, but that's a personal dislike.
    - Lindon is handed way too many gifts for free. He conveniently has the specific tool he needs for a problem, like the riverseed. I would be more accepting if Lindon had to do more to get these things, but Eithan's tutoring basically fell into his lap, and he could only raid the school because of Yerin. It doesn't feel like "MC cleverly scrapes his every advantage and exploits loopholes to get what he wants"... it just kind of feels like [insert words about MC boldly pushing past limits] [insert gift falling out of the sky]. There's no correlation. Maybe if he had to work for Eithan to accept him, it would be more palatable, but Eithan, again, falls out of the sky.
    - We're travelling through different societies, some of which know nothing of each other, yet they all have the same honor system/moral code/culture. The author is doing his story a disservice by holding so tightly to the original Chinese inspiration. Cultures should not be the exact same except for the style of their robes and what they put in their qi pills.

    All in all, my favorite part is just seeing the world and experiencing it alongside Lindon. I wish the looming dreadgod attack on Sacred Valley/the weird chaos entropy shit Suriel's dealing with didn't exist. I feel like it cheapens the story. Then again, I've never been a fan of "natural disaster" type catastrophes in any story (like the white walkers in GoT). It's just boring.
     
  13. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    Cyber City Oedo
    High Score:
    1204
    Book 9, Bloodlines, is out. By the grace of piracy and the magic of timezones I got a copy, so here's a review right after I finished it:

    It's still got the same frantic pacing, still got the same "xianxia but actually a good story" charm. I liked it, what more can I really say?

    What I liked most about this book is that Lindon was hoping for - maybe even expecting - this glorious return to Sacred Valley. His enemies would tremble, his family would rejoice, and he'd lead them all out of the Sacred Valley before the Dreadgod got close.

    That didn't quite happen. It was frustrating to read about the Elders who constantly try to kill Lindon or refuse to be saved because they just don't see how urgent everything is, but that's the intended feeling so it works. It made me think that this was, in some sense, the more reasonable Cradle world clashing against the more typical xianxia culture of the Sacred Valley, and the former not really knowing how to deal with the latter unless it's by repeated showings of pure power. And even then they're recalcitrant because that's just how they've been raised for centuries (?).

    I remain on the fence about the Abidan stuff. I guess it sets up the whole Mad King as the final boss of the series, but in general, meh. It's such high powerlevel, high-concept stuff that it becomes hard to follow.

    The next book, "Reaper", looks like it'll be another "dungeon" book exploring the labyrinth now that the Wandering Titan's been driven off, with Elder Whisper being the guest star party member. Personally I wish it was out already, but I thought much the same about Bloodlines and I survived that wait.