“If I am Xiao Che… Then why do I have memories of the Azure Cloud Continent? Is it because I traveled to this body after I died in the Azure Cloud Continent? No! I am obviously Xiao Che! This entire room is familiar to me and I clearly remember all the events of my childhood. Everything from my memory was from personal experience and there is no way I would steal another’s memory! Then was everything from the Azure Cloud Continent all just a dream? Was it only after I jumped off Cloud's End Cliff that I truly woke up?” (Against the Gods, Chapter One)
“Xiao Che’s eyes smoldered in anger. He firmly nodded his head slowly, ‘Father-in-law, have no worries. Although people hold me in contempt now, once my profound veins are fixed, a sleeping dragon will be awakened from the abyss. I will make those people who look down on me and those who think that the Xia Clan took in a wastrel for their son-in-law obediently shut their traps.’” (Against the Gods, Chapter Four)
Yun Che has no idea what’s going on. When he wakes up unharmed after throwing himself off of a cliff, he has no idea how he survived, let alone unharmed. He soon comes to the realization that he also has memories of another life. Not understanding how he remembers a life that’s not his own, he is told that he is in the body of someone named Xiao Che and has somehow assumed this person’s identity while keeping the memories from his past life. Xiao Che had been poisoned just as Yun Che jumped off the cliff. Luckily, Yun Che is a master of poisons and could quickly identify the toxin that killed Xiao Che. He figures out that swallowing something called a Sky Poison Pearl had allowed him to wake up in Xiao Che’s dead body.
Now, Yun Che must live as Xiao Che and follow the duties of his family, while also using the knowledge of his time as a medicine master in his previous life. He must also deal with Xiao Che’s approaching wedding to Xia Qingyue, a beautiful and untouchable woman. Will he be able to figure out who poisoned him and why? And will he reveal that he has memories from two lives? Yun Che’s unique situation could be used to his advantage, but that depends on how he handles it.
When I first started reading Against the Gods, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing. The chapters seem a bit longer than in some other web novels, but there were practically no errors in grammar or punctuation that I noticed, and the flow of the novel made each chapter easy to read, even if some included longer paragraphs that looked intimidating at first. The characters’ dialogue is realistic and written convincingly, which made it much easier to become absorbed in the story.
The characters in Against the Gods start out in rather predictable stereotypes, including Xia Qingyue, the defiant girl who stands up for herself and refuses to back down, and background characters who look down on Yun Che for his reputation as a “broken” man. Yun Che himself seems like a practically omniscient character, since he carries knowledge from two different people, but this portrays him as a rather cocky main character. However, as the story progresses, we see these characters begin to change gradually through their experiences. These changes are subtle enough to be believable and make the characters relatable. Rarely, if ever, do the characters make a decision that seems illogical and completely out of character.
In terms of plot, this novel has just enough twists and turns to be different from other web novels with themes of reincarnation. Of course, it is fairly obvious from the beginning that Yun Che’s doubled life experience will only work to his advantage in his new life, but there are still obstacles for him to overcome, such as figuring out who poisoned Xiao Che in the first place. There are several subplots in the story as well, like the background mystery of why Yun Che killed himself in his first life, that compelled me to keep reading rather than skimming the text until I made it to a part I felt I would enjoy. If I had skipped certain sections, I would have risked missing important information that revealed the answers to my questions.
This story has just over 1,700 published chapters available to read, but the events pick up right away. In the first chapter, we have already been introduced to Yun Che and his situation, and from there, the action continues at a steady pace. Despite having so many chapters, there are few that serve primarily as filler, which is impressive considering the sheer length of the novel. Of course, this means that there are several story arcs in the work, so readers who are not particularly interested in one arc will not have to worry about the entire story being the same.
Despite not being the biggest fan of cultivation stories, I enjoyed reading this story for its writing quality and the interesting plot. Those who already enjoy this genre will definitely enjoy this novel, while others might like it simply because they prefer to read web novels that are on a similar standard to traditionally published novels.
Aria is treated poorly by her stepmother and stepsister, forced to live in horrible conditions and banned from going to school, though she loves to learn. Zane lives a life vastly different than Aria; he is a powerful business man who has the respect and fear of those around him. He is devoted to his siblings and mother, ensuring that they are well cared for after his father’s death. Zane’s father was murdered by a woman claiming self-defense, though this has not stopped Zane from pursuing his revenge against the woman. When Zane and Aria meet in the mall, their electrifying connection is undeniable.
Zane learns that his father was actually defending the woman from two male attackers, making him wonder why she lied. The woman is Aria’s stepmother; seeking answers, Zane kidnaps Aria, thinking that he can use her against her mother. When Zane discovers that Aria cannot help him, he does not give up his quest for revenge or the beautiful young woman under his roof. Zane’s desire for Aria’s body and soul becomes an obsession, something that is not immediately shared by the young woman. Will Zane and Aria fall in love? Or will Zane quench his desires and leave Aria behind?
This work has a lot of grammar and spelling issues that distract the reader from the story. It is difficult to get through one sentence without finding problems that slow the pace of the novel and keep the reader from engaging with the book. The formatting of the novel could also be improved, as it is sometimes difficult to know who is talking or whether or not a character is speaking or thinking. Overall, this work would greatly benefit from the help of a dedicated editor.
I appreciated the way the novel brought Zane and Aria together. After their first chance-encounter, they do not randomly bump into each other a few times. Though it seems like a coincidence that her step-mother was the one that witnessed the death of his father, this actually brings some good outside drama into their relationship. They met by chance, but they are stuck together because of forces outside of their control (at least outside of Aria’s control). This combination of fate and circumstance makes their meeting far more realistic.
Zane is definitely the stereotypical romance bad-boy that desires a woman who he has never met. He is a powerful businessman, someone who likes control and authority over others. To get answers, he’s willing to kidnap a woman he has only met once, instead of hiring a private investigator or asking the girl some questions in a calm way. When Zane wants someone, nothing stands in his way. However, his cliché personality makes him fairly boring and predictable. Yes he is a bad boy, but I have to assume that Aria’s love will soften and redeem him, so why focus on his bad behavior.
Zane proves himself to be possessive and very, very jealous, even before he and Aria begin a relationship. He has met her once and he is blind with fury when he sees her in the company of another man. Again, he has met her once for a total of twenty seconds. He has no right to be so possessive, not matter how he feels with her. This jealousy only gets worse as their relationship progresses, making him an unlikable character.
One point in Zane’s favor is his devotion to his family. He loves his siblings, especially his younger sisters. He takes care of his mother and runs the family company after his father’s death. He wants to prove his father’s innocence and spoil his young sisters with love and jewelry. While he may be intense and violent and hurtful with Aria, his devotion to his family is supposed to soften his actions and cruel behavior.
I disliked the fact that Aria is a bit of a shrinking violet who needs Zane to save her from her life. She lives with her abusive stepmother and stepsister, living off of their crumbs even though her father left her his fortune. I wish she had left her family, especially since she owes them absolutely nothing. She has been beaten down by life to the extreme, making her timid and weak. Even once she has the love of Zane, she considers herself too cheap and pathetic for him to truly love. I wanted Aria to take up more room in her own life, asserting herself amongst her family and her potential love interest.
Overall, this is an adequate romance novel that struggles with its grammar, spelling, and formatting. Aria is the classic shy and beautiful protagonist, while Zane fits the profile of the dark and brooding billionaire.
Victoria has always dreamed of being her pack’s alpha. Her father refuses to pass the title to a girl, though she is far better suited to the role than her brother. She works hard in school and ignores the swooning of other werewolves over potential mates, instead focusing on her training and friends. Though the unconditional love of a mate sounds nice, she doesn’t want to play second fiddle to a man.
Victoria is shocked and frightened to meet her mate, facing the glares of the women around her as they awkwardly take each other in. She quickly excuses herself from the conversation and holes up in her room for days trying to sort out her emotions. Victoria is freaked out when her mate, Trey, tracks her to his house, though they didn’t exchange names or information. Though she thinks he might be a stalker and her brother takes an instant dislike to him, she agrees to go on a date.
She is disappointed when she discovers that her mate is the alpha of a powerful and influential pack. Her father is bursting with joy; he wants to see his daughter as the wife of an alpha instead of an alpha herself. Though she has a great time on the date, she is upset when she learns that her best friends gave Trey her information and helped to plan the date. Victoria wants a real connection with Trey, not a relationship built on the assumption that they are destined to be together. When Trey shows that he is not the typical Alpha, will Victoria accept that she can be a leader and a mate?
I absolutely love Victoria’s outlook on life. She is dedicated to her studies and her pack, wanting to become a leader in the business world since she will not become her pack’s alpha. Victoria is strong, courageous, and intelligent. She doesn’t care about finding a mate because she wants to lead, not support a leader. But Victoria is not totally against finding a mate either. She wants what she wants and she works to get it, even if it is something she never before expected. Victoria is a strong, realistic, interesting protagonist that carries the novel to success.
This novel twists a lot of the tropes and clichés of the paranormal romance genre. Instead of the male love interest rejecting the idea of mates, it is Victoria who is unsure if she has really received a blessing from the Moon Goddess. She doesn’t fight the urge to be with her mate because she has some idiotic idea that mates weaken a person, but because she is used to being independent. I can respect her for progressing slowly in a world where mates usually jump each other within seconds of meeting. Trey is not like other male love interests in this genre. He can be handsome and mysterious while also being kind and respectful. In a genre where female protagonists often suffer physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their mates, Trey’s immediate dedication and love for his mate is refreshing.
Victoria has to battle the social hierarchy and traditions of werewolf culture. Her father doesn’t think that she can be an alpha purely because of her sex, dedicating his attentions to his worthless son. Victoria doesn’t take this sexism lying down. She trains hard, increasing her skills and achieving high grades in school. Her dedication is twofold; she wants to prove herself to others, but she also knows that she is a born leader. Victoria knows her worth, even if the sexist culture in which she was raised does not. This does not mean, however, that Victoria is not flawed. She believes that having a mate will immediately place her in a secondary role. She does not believe that any man would let her lead or be an equal partner in the relationship, though Trey might surprise her in that respect.
I liked how this novel repositioned the relationship between Victoria and her mate. He is secretive and mysterious at first, making her caution something to be commended. Trey is the one that must chase her, instead of the other way around (which we often see in paranormal romances). It’s nice to see a male love interest chasing the female protagonist in a fairly normal, respectful way.
Call Me ‘Alpha’ is a shining example of what the paranormal romance genre could be. This novel couples a strong female protagonist with a respectful male love interest who is interested in his mate. While battling the deeply ingrained hierarchies of pack mentality, Victoria does not rush into a relationship with a man she barely knows, instead treating their relationship as a more traditional courtship to the benefit of the story.
“Just as Chu Feng thought he became a genius, change happened within his body. Because of that change, it made it so his cultivation stopped and did not move forward, and he was labeled to have the most horrible talent of a lifetime.” (Martial God Asura, Chapter Two)
“Chu Feng suddenly opened his eyes, and there were traces of lightning in them! An indescribable expression hung on his face. ‘I succeeded. After five years, I finally succeeded.’ Chu Feng was incomparably joyful. He jumped down from the bed, and as he walked around, he sized up his body.” (Martial God Asura, Chapter Two)
When he is struck by lightning, Chu Feng thinks he has hit the jackpot. The lightning is absorbed into his dantian and makes him able to rapidly improve his cultivation, quicker than should be possible. However, his hidden strength suddenly stopped, bringing him to a standstill right at the precipice of a huge breakthrough that would have established him as one of the greatest in his time. Fortunately for him, a medicinal piece of grass helps him regain the lightning that he once had, making him break through two levels at once.
Now blessed with unimaginable power, Chu Feng is prepared to take the world by storm. At the same time, he has kept his power hidden, so he can use it as a trump card when necessary. Chu Feng dreams of making to the top and becoming a godlike figure that can defeat any enemy, but whether he makes it there or not will depend on his decisions and determination.
At first, I thought the plot of this novel was slightly different than other stories in the cultivation genre. Of course, there were still similarities, as there is a male lead, and the main character’s motivation is to reach a higher level in his practice, but there was no elaborate backstory as to why the main character was given this power. In the first chapter, the readers learn that Chu Feng went to the Azure Dragon School for a month and was mysteriously hit by a stroke of Divine Lightning that gave him impressive capabilities. Normally, there is an act of reincarnation or some form of extra experience that the main character has before they gain all of their power, yet in this novel, it appears at first that Chu Feng is simply lucky.
I had high hopes that following this pattern, other aspects of this novel would also differ from a more traditional cultivation web novel, but that was not the case. As I read more of Martial God Asura, I was disappointed to find that while the story may have seemed unique at the start, it was so repetitive that this uniqueness virtually disappears. I can imagine that by the end of Martial God Asura’s 4,000 chapters, any reader would be exhausted by the recurring events. However, during the first arc, when the events are still fresh to readers, the story is exciting and engaging
The language used in this book can be hard to read. While the sentences grammatically make sense, there are instances of missed punctuation and strange verb tenses that would make a fluent English speaker scratch their head. Once or twice, I had to stop and reread a section to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding. Generally, this novel is still fairly easy to read, but the use of phrases like “soonly” and “he used a severe gaze” would cause me to stop for a second, disrupting the flow of the chapter. There were also some redundant sentences, like “The Azure Dragon Founder was the founder of the Azure Dragon School,” that seemed obvious enough without any explanation—these sentences might as well not have been included (Martial God Asura, Chapter Two). Though these may seem like simple errors, enough of them were combined to create a story that is hard to engage with.
One thing that I found confusing were the switches between past and present tense in the story. With no warning, events of the past are described, but almost like a flashback, as the events are described in past tense just like the rest of the story is. This makes it hard to tell what is a description of the past and what is actually happening in the novel, as there is no clear distinction between the two. Most readers will be able to figure out when the author intended to describe a flashback, but that creates more work for the reader and makes Martial God Asura harder to get through
As the main character, Chu Feng has almost no growth. Since he has already gained the power that he originally strove for, there seems to be no further reason for him to mature, so he doesn’t. I found this a bit frustrating, as he retains nearly the exact same attitude for thousands of chapters. In fact, if there is any character development, it is in the wrong direction. Chu Feng actually begins to act like the very tyrant that he would have killed at the beginning of the story. This still makes for an interesting dynamic, but it does not show the heroic main character that I would have expected.
This novel has over 4,000 chapters and is still in progress. Readers may balk after seeing so many chapters listed, but in reality, the story is only a couple hundred chapters long considering the plot repeats itself in continuous cycles. I would recommend the first hundred chapters or so to fans of the cultivation genre, but it seems the quality of the plot drops after the first story arc.
Link to Story: https://www.wuxiaworld.com/novel/martial-god-asura
“You want speed? I’ll give you speed? It seemed funny until my eyes locked that of a man in sunglasses when I turned back to see who it was. I gasped when I realized that the man behind the wheels was no other than the rich man that had been in his car yesterday. Shit! I increased my speed and made my way through the streets. Right on cue, he did the same. The chase was on.” (Billionaire’s Virgin, Chapter Four)
“Sebastian’s eyes looked like they were about to pop just from hearing my information. He cleared his throat and moved back a few inches. ‘A virgin huh?’
‘Don’t talk about it.’ I snapped at him. I found it shameful being a virgin at eighteen. I was scared to tell the world I was afraid of sex. I had seen Nikita have sex and it was scary.” (Billionaire’s Virgin, Chapter Seven)
Gigi and Nikita are scammers that use their good looks and charms to make money from unsuspecting men through lies and sex. Gigi saves the life of her friend when they are attacked by one of their marks, an older man named Pablo, by dragging another unsuspecting man into the situation. While Nikita performs in erotic shows and has sex with her boyfriend Mike, Gigi prepares to go to the local high school, in which she is a student.
On the way, Gigi is kidnapped by the man who saved her and Nikita. His name is Sebastian and he demands that Gigi repay him the twenty thousand he spent to save their lives. Gigi offers sex with Nikita as payment, but Sebastian would rather have sex with her. Gigi, a virgin, refuses, though Sebastian does not quickly forget her after she runs away. When he comes to her with an incredible offer, Gigi must decide whether to accept his strange request and be in danger of losing her heart along the way.
This novel has more erotica than actual plot. The work may have begun as a compilation of sex scenes that were then glued together by the thinnest of plots. This isn’t a problem per se, but the novel does struggle to find its footing as a literary work. The scenes of sex and erotica are written in a sex positive way, though their graphic nature may not be suitable for all audiences.
The description of the lives of the characters gave me more questions than answers. Nikita and Gigi earn money by scamming unsuspecting men, and Nikita does sex work as well. Nikita is one of the most sought after sex workers in the city, performing in shows that net her five thousand dollars in a night. However, she is very young (she is saving her earnings for college). Does everyone know that this young girl, a high schooler, is moonlighting as a sex worker? While I admired Nikita’s confidence and good nature, I want to learn more about her life, not just her personality and sexual experience.
I am also curious about Gigi’s life. The reader knows that she lives with her grandmother, but I am curious why her guardian does not worry more about her granddaughter. Gigi is scamming men and attending illegal sex shows, all while apparently juggling high school, though this part of her life is glossed over. Do her classmates know about her very interesting life after school? Where are Gigi’s parents? I have a feeling that Gigi has a fairly tragic background, a backstory that might help readers to better understand her hopes, dreams, and goals.