Spring is taking its sweet time this year. The nights are still long, and so we've put together a few novels we've enjoyed reading this winter. Some of these you may be familiar with, but we hope you'll give the others a chance! In no particular order:
I Shall Seal the Heavens
Chapter count: 1616 chapters
Author: Er Gen
Tags: Exciting, Clever Protagonist, Dramatic
The protagonist, Meng Hao, is a troubled young scholar. After his parents' passing, he spent the majority of his inheritance on his tuition in the hopes of one day becoming a rich official. Starving and unable to pass the imperial exams, his fate is dramatically changed when he is kidnapped by an immortal. Suddenly forced to join the Reliance Sect, “I Shall Seal the Heavens” tells the tale of Meng Hao’s unexpected rise to greatness as a cultivator in the Martial World.
This is a long story, and it takes some patience getting into. The author takes his time setting up plot points and exploring the dynamics of the Reliance Sect and the Martial World beyond it. Meng Hao begins his journey in the servant quarters, but doesn’t stay there long. “I Shall Seal the Heavens” is a great read for those who enjoy a long read with clever protagonists.
Also known as “Soul Land”, “Douluo Dalu” tells the story of Tang San who - unable to bear the guilt of stealing his sect’s secrets - throws himself from a cliff and is reborn in a new world. Realizing he still carries memories of his past life, Tang San decides to continue the teachings of his sect in this new world. Together with a group of dependable allies, Tang San fights against enemies old and new, and slowly establishes the mighty Tang Sect.
The world building in “Douluo Dalu” is very deep and features both a unique bestiary and power system. A large part of the fun of this series is getting to explore the continent and discover things with the main cast. The story spans a period of more than a decade, so the author really gets to flex their skills at creating a lot of growth and development over the course of their journey. Things that seem straightforward become much more dark as the author reveals things to the audience. “Douluo Dalu” has also been adapted to a live-action and an animated television series. This is a must-read for anyone that enjoys xianxia stories.
Chapter count: 1450 chapters
Author: I Eat Tomatoes
Tags: Exciting, Fantastical, Dramatic
Ji Ning originally lived on Earth. His parents were well off, but Ji Ning never got to enjoy a comfortable, or even mundane, life. He was a sick child and spent the majority of his life in hospital beds. Unable to stand the monotony, Ji Ning creates a business online. Right before he passes away, he donates the money he’s made to poor and sick children across the country. In the Netherworld, he discovers that this act of kindness has merited so much good karma that he’s going to be reborn in Heaven as an immortal. Unfortunately, something goes wrong and, before he knows it, Ji Ning finds himself reborn in the Mortal Realm with his memories intact. With a healthy body and a mature mind, Ji Ning resolves to never be weak again.
I Eat Tomatoes is a very popular web-novelist whose other popular works include “Coiling Dragon” and “Stellar Transformation”. Readers who enjoyed these series will enjoy “Desolate Era” as it follows similar themes in a fresh light. For those who haven’t read anything by I Eat Tomatoes, this is a very solidly written xianxia series that will definitely leave you wanting more.
Legend of the Condor Hero
Chapter count: 40 chapters
Author: Jin Yong
Tags: Exciting, Romantic, Dramatic
Two sworn brothers and fathers-to-be, Guo Xiaotian and Yang Tiexin, live peaceful lives in a quiet village. One day, Yang Tiexin’s wife saves an injured warrior. This warrior, who turns out to be a prince, returns to destroy the village. In the scuffle, Guo Xiaotian is killed and Yang Tiexin goes missing. Yang Tiexin’s wife is forced to marry the prince she saved and Guo Xiaotian’s wife wanders into Mongolia. There, she gives birth to our protagonist, Guo Jing, who ends up being raised by Genghis Khan. “Legend of the Condor Hero” follows Guo Jing and his lover Huang Rong as they travel, meeting and learning from the greatest martial artists in the Martial World.
Jin Yong is widely considered to be the greatest modern wuxia writer. “Legend of the Condor Hero” alone was adapted into eight movies and ten television series - not to speak of the works it more loosely inspired. This is a very classic wuxia tale, and well worth the read.
Chapter count: 2088 chapters
Author: Er Gen
Tags: Dark, Antihero, Exciting
Unlike the other stories on this list, “Renegade Immortal” is the story of a boy with no talent. He was born sickly and spent the majority of his youth reading. When his uncle gets him an invitation to the exam recruiting students to an immortal sect, he leaves with confidence. Then he is told he has no talent. Perseverance doesn’t save him. No one takes pity on him. Everything seems hopeless - until he finds a strange bead. Using the strange bead and his wits, the boy makes his way into the world of cultivation.
Er Gen is, like I Eat Tomatoes, a very popular web-novelist and the author of “I Shall Seal the Heavens”. Unlike “I Shall Seal the Heavens”, “Renegade Immortal” is a fairly dark story. The protagonist lives in a harsh world and he fights very hard to stay in it. For those who enjoy a more heavy plot, “Renegade Immortal” features deep and interesting character writing.
by S. Howie
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