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World of Keiko 2020/09/17

Hello again! I hope that you guys had a pleasant week.

Last week’s posts:

SHOUTOUTS
I would like to offer some shoutouts to some peeps that stopped by the blog this past week:

READING
I didn’t spend a lot of time reading this past week due to being heavily engaged in writing. What I did read was related to what I am currently working on. That being said, I really hope that you guys check out the webnovel series I’m Not Your Female Lead over at WordExcerpt. Recent changes to the site have already seen changes to the offerings there, but I think that much of the material that Kitty Jiu is translating will survive many of the upcoming changes relating to licensing.

I have, however, taken a liking to the webtoon adaptation of the series Under the Oak Tree over the webnovel version in recent weeks. [as of this post, they are both WordExcerpt offerings] Whilst the webnovel is still quite readable, the sex scenes tend to be more drawn out, to the point where I often find my mind wandering off to some mark on the wall whilst reading. I find myself having little patience for lengthy sex scenes in literature these days. Perhaps it is because I find a solid character-focused story tends to be exponentially better than “the lewds”. And this is where I believe the webtoon adaptation of Under the Oak Tree does things better. I find the sex scenes more impactful because of the focus on the two socially-awkward individuals growing as a couple. It doesn’t rely on “the lewds” to do this, which makes the webtoon more charming than the webnovel it is adapted from. Here’s hoping that this continues because it would be a shame if the webtoon adaptation went off the rails.

WRITING
Yes, Isekai and music-related material again this week.

MUSIC
This past week, I spent a lot of time listening to the following music:

  • Quill (album) by Bison: It has been ages since I listened to this album, which is odd given how pleasant it is on the ears.
  • Thanks in Advance (album) by Ollie Wride: I recall the excitement in the lead-up to the release of this NewRetroWave album last year. This sucker delivered big-time! You can find the album over at Bandcamp (album page).
  • She Sings To Me (album) by David Krystal: Still one of the nicest easy listening albums that have out in the past decade. It is just a pity that most people are familiar with his music. You can download several of his albums for free over at Jamendo (artist page).
  • Out of Body (album) by Dance With the Dead: Yep, some premium synthwave tracks on this sucker. No matter how many times I’ve listened to the album, it continues to light up the synapses in pleasant ways. You can find their music over at Bandcamp (artist page).
  • Love (album) by Marina: sometimes joyful, sometimes bittersweet, this album is such a pleasure to listen to.
  • In The Reverie (album) by Red Balloon

I listened to more pop and retrowave music this past week. It just seemed to fit with my overall mood.

OTHER
On Monday afternoon, I went into the kitchen to get a drink. As I headed to the sink, talking to hubby over my shoulder, I heard a plonk in front of me. I quickly turned around to discover that a gecko had fallen directly on top of a scrubbing brush and was just sitting still, trying not to draw attention to itself. Geckos are such funny creatures and I find myself amused by their antics (sometimes accidents) even after decades of watching their behaviour. I stood there and watched it for a minute or two as it held it’s tilted its head in place to keep an eye on me. Then, I moved my hand towards it and the cute little body scurried away into the louvred windows. Even if I have to clean up gecko droppings, I will continue to appreciate these little creatures for decades to come.

CONCLUSION
Sorry about another week with very little posts. However, even on a slow week, I plan to post these updates to evaluate what I’ve been up to and to share any little stories about what happened the past week. Even if it is something small, this little habit of posting a weekly update helps keep my head in the game. Before I finish up this post for the week, I am curious as to what rituals/habits that you guys do in order to stay centred. Feel free to post in the comments. I leave you guys with the following lyric video by the group Joseph. I might have shared this one in the post but I think it fits with where my head is currently at. Until next week, take care!


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WN Review: I’m Not Your Female Lead Ch 1 – 100

Year: 2020 (ongoing) [English Translation]
Author: Qu Xiao Qu
Genre: Fantasy, Isekai, Romance, Comedy, Drama, Slice of Life

This review reflects the English translation on WordExcerpt. It is translated from Chinese by the always-awesome Kitty Jiu.

Ye Yu is an independent, driven woman on campus that likes to read web novels on her smart phone to relax after a long day. However, after narrowly avoiding falling to her death after tripping down a flight of stairs, she soon finds herself transported as an unknown side character in the series Night Isn’t Evil, she quickly adjusts to life as a non-cultivator in a cultivator revenge story by using the passive “fortune-telling” ability she gains by having her smart phone on her to earn some money. However, she soon stumbles across a injured puppy whilst collecting some firewood in the mountains putting her on a collision course with the main plot.
Xuan Yi (male lead) is the apparent “puppet” emperor of Devil City, currently trying to do away with his deceitful, murderous uncle Xuan Bin. After being injured in the leg whilst trying to assassinate his uncle, the sixteen-year-old is rescued from stick-wielding boys by a strange woman that shares the name of a noblewoman (Princess Ye Yu) that supports his uncle. She spends exorberant amounts of money on his care and quickly determines that he is neither an animal or divine beast.
As Ye Yu is pursued by Princess Ye, Xuan Yi reveals that he is human and offers to protect her within the palace under the fake identity as Liang Sheng. Unfortunately, her new life in the harem is short-lived. Ye Yu’s interactions with the young emperor has resulted in the story deviating dramatically from the original web novel to the point where she sacrifices herself in order to save him.

Four years after the reset, Xuan Yi keeps having dreams of the other timeline and has possession of the mobile phone which is looking to connect with the “host” (aka female lead) in order to debug the system. Elsewhere, Ye Yu awakens as Princess Ye Yu [cultivation time, dudes!] on their wedding day and is limited to only five “fortune-telling” events per day until she can find her phone. Over the following days, she finds her phone again, learning that the non-beta version has some new features that include telepathy with a digital guide and emailed quests. As she attempts to help Xuan Yi from the shadows, she soon finds herself meeting the original female lead and gains entrance into the Yian martial arts sect in order to help Xuan Yi gain access to an item that will help him become more powerful.

This afternoon, I happened across an odd little series that kept popping up on the WordExcerpt. I had read the synopsis before and was initially hesitant to give the series a try. However, when I finally decided to give this series a go, I soon found myself immersed in this odd little series.

As with most isekai series, it begins with her on Earth dealing with everyday conflict but she is soon thrust into another world where her mobile phone chapter updates and knowledge of the previous story timeline offer limited assistance as she comes across the adorable shapeshifted male lead. The chemistry between the two is adorable but halfway in she makes a sacrifice in order to help give him another chance at survival. This moment has such an emotional impact for myself as a reader and the pure audacity on the part of the author to do this had me giving them props. In spite of the foreshadowing, I still didn’t see it coming.
However, the next stage had me even more surprised. There was a four-year time skip after the reset, Xuan Yi was brooding over the fact that Ye Yu had abandoned him by sacrificing herself and he was also contemplating how to make the princess suffer due to her part in the death of his waifu-to-be. However, it doesn’t take long for him to figure out that his wife is in fact his waifu. Unfortunately, she is getting some bad advice from the digital guide, making for some really amusing dialogue and situations. Luckily, neither our female nor male protagonists are idiots, cutting down on unnecessary, tiresome conflict.
Whilst this story does include a certain amount of court intrigue, this is not the focus of the series as a whole. We are provided with numerous questions about the nature of the world itself and why she was brought there. This is coupled with some nice dialogue, character development and world-building. The good storytelling and translation also allows for consistent tone throughout.
To the world-building aspects of this fantasy world in this series, I would say that it shares quite a few similarities with many cultivation world settings. Spiritual power has a ranking system, with the ultimate goal of gaining enough spiritual power to not only be able to do cool sh*t, but also become immortal. On top of this, there are two paths to that final goal. Xuan Yi happens to be on the Beast path. This distinction carries with it some interesting differences. However, the first one hundred chapters focus on the cultivation path that Xuan Yi is currently undertaking in secret.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I really like this series. The twist on the typical cultivation story is so refreshing, as are the characters and world setting. It is also a pretty fun read and I really look forward to seeing what the future holds for this story. Anyway, be sure to check it out yourself if you are looking for a fantasy isekai with a nice twist.


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World of Keiko 2020/09/09

Hello again, guys! I hope that you guys had an awesome week.

Last week’s posts:

SHOUTOUTS
I would like to offer some shoutouts to some peeps that stopped by the blog this past week:

READING
I read quite a bit this past week. However, much of it was just a chapter of this and that series. I am still waiting on a backlog of some of my regular reads to binge and eventually review. However, I still got in my weekly chapters of I Raised a Black Dragon and I also discovered the gem that is I’m Not Your Female Lead (web novel over at WordExcerpt).

WRITING
I spent more time writing this past week, which was a good thing given that the words weren’t meaningless.

MUSIC
This week, I spent a lot of time listening to the following music:

  • Greatest Hits (album) by Foo Fighters: This is a solid compilation that came out back in 2009. So many good songs… ❤
  • Stairwells (album) by Kina Grannis: Still a nice listen more than a decade since the album was released.
  • Sweet Melody (EP) by Alicia Rae: Four soft and fluffy listens. Two thumbs up!
  • Then & Now (album) by Asia: A classic best-of compilation that features a bunch of songs from the ’70s and early ’80s.
  • Make Yourself (album) by Incubus: An oldy but a goody! I find myself often returning to this album.
  • Here and Now (album) by Nickelback: I know… This is an odd choice given how much people hate the band, but I actually found myself liking this album a lot. Yep, it is a bit of a head-scratcher.

CONCLUSION
It was another productive week on the writing front even if I didn’t post as much as I would have liked. But hey, a win is a win! As long as I am moving forward, I am happy. Anyway, here’s wishing you guys a productive, safe and entertaining time in the week ahead. I leave you the following audio track by Sizzlebird.


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First Look WT: The Blue Land

Year: 2018 – 2020 (completed)
Author: Lee Jongkyu
Artist: Haerin
Genre:  Manhwa, Action, Crime, Thriller, Drama

Today, I decided to finally begin posting “first looks” at different series. These reviews will cover free reads available for computer users rather than a tablet or smartphone users initially due to current constraints, but I do intend to change this to a tablet at some stage in the not-so-distant future given that a lot of platforms offer significantly longer previews via mobile apps.
Why start with this series? Well, it is a series that keeps popping up on my recommended reads list and I figure ‘why not?’ given that I have been focusing more on romance titles of late. Besides, a good action, adventure and/or thriller can be a heck of a lot of fun.

In this post, I will be discussing the crime thriller The Blue Land currently available at Toomics (series page). There, you will find the prologue to the second chapter available to read free of charge.

Prologue / repeat as chapter 1: flashforward of our suited, scar-faced male protagonist arriving at the funeral of a man that he recently killed. It is heavily raining. After entering the building, he makes it to the casket room where he meets one of the “victim’s” minions and the two agree to duke it out. When he leaves the front door, a sea of mobsters are waiting outside and he makes note of the date as being the birthday of somebody he used to know.

Chapter 2: Back in time, our now unscarred violent crimes detective Kang Jungwoo is waiting in a car with his partner and we are shown by his level of focus that he cares more about his job than his private life. In the background, there are numerous political signs pertaining to a politician named Lee Jaejoon who is running on an anti-corruption platform. [foreshadowing? I think so, Jim!] Kang Jungwoo is lectured by his buddy about how neglecting his girlfriend especially on her birthday will one day get him dumped. [more foreshadowing? Yessom!]
Not long after this, a woman in lingerie runs out out of an alleyway in terror with a scantily-clad gangster chasing after her. Our male protagonist engages in some police brutality in order to check the guys privileged attitude before placing him in handcuffs. After he spies some dodgy business at a hotel up the road, Jungwoo arranges for his partner to take the guy to the police station while he heads over to investigate. Making use of some basic parkour, our male lead scales and enters the building to find dodgy dealings going down.

This story leaves the blocks with a typical Manhwa beginning that gives the reader the promise of things to expect from the series. We see our hardened male protagonist walk into the funeral giving zero f*cks about all of the people around him that clearly want to do him in. Unlike a lot of Manhwa beginnings, however, this start is followed up immediately by placing at least one of those things into context rather than leaving the reader confused. We learn that Jungwoo is a cop that puts his job before his personal life, something that will likely have ramifications later. Whilst he comes off as a man of justice, we can also see that there will be a cost for that desire for justice later on.
On top of the storytelling elements, the artwork does a great job of adding further to the tone of the series, with lots of black, white and red being used. Whilst the artwork is gritty it doesn’t overdo it either. The POV angles in the beginning chapter, just as an example, give the indication of violence to come but not to the over-the-top levels of the Sin City franchise.
Something as simple as the origins of the scar on Jungwoo’s face in the first chapter provides a decent hook for reading more of this series. Whilst the story hasn’t got there yet, the first two chapters (chapters 1 and 2) give the feeling of a big-budget Asian action film. Examples? Raid and some of the later instalments of Jackie Chan’s The Police Story franchise. This is a good thing given that a lot of webtoon platforms are flooded by convoluted romantic dramas instead of series that tell a compelling, action-packed story.

So, did the free reads do a good job of reeling in this fish? Yes. I am genuinely intrigued by the storyline so far and interested in seeing the changes that the protagonist will undergo throughout the next eighty-seven chapters. I am really looking forward to some gratuitous violence in the chapters ahead as well. I want to see Jungwoo crack the heads of some bad guys, pronto.


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WN Review: I Raised a Black Dragon Ch 71 – 80

Year: 2019 (completed)
Author: Daseul
Artist: Dove
Genre: Josei, Isekai (transmigration), Fantasy, Comedy, Romance, Mystery, Slice of Life

This review reflects the English translation on WordExcerpt.

After Adrian begins to consider ways to deal the imprinting, he continues to follow around a slightly recovered Park who in turn captures him. However, her attempts to report his crime of stalking is complicated by her identity and the non-registered rope land her in handcuffs as well. Kyle Leonard comes to the rescue and reveals the identity of Adrian as the Minister of Magic. Adrian leaves after trying to coax Park with a promise to teach her how to control mana, which is then followed up by her receiving a long lecture from Kyle.
The newly-reformed trio of Park Noah, Kyle Leonard and Muell finally head out on a boat trip on a luxury liner. Now posing as a family, the detective suggests that Park now use the name “Noah Leonard” with Muell being given a fresh surname. Sometime into the trip, Noah and Kyle determine that Lenia’s father Duke Valtalere is on the ship along with several other people that would make things difficult if they saw “Eleanora”. After the device that Noah is using to scry on Duke Valtalere gets bugging when a person resembling Lenia appears, Kyle’s suspicions are heightened due to his intel suggesting she was elsewhere. He and Park go over the timeline to date for further clues.

Woo-hoo! The ten chapters this week are ramping up the intrigue by finally having Lenia enter the picture, even if this is in scrying form. There are numerous possibilities for where this plot thread can be taken, especially given the other clues that readers have been given. The most relevant of these clues is the fact that Eleanora disappeared two years prior. In any case, Adrian is still a pain in the butt that may or may not become a resource in the future.
The odd relationship between Kyle and Park is becoming more interesting on account of Adrian who seems to have some secrets of his own. As for the trio of Park, Kyle and Muell, their bond as a family unit seems to be growing stronger. However, we still have a few missing pieces of the puzzle as we enter the final fifty-something chapters of the series. How many of those fan theories will prove to be correct? I really look forward to finding out.

I am still really enjoying this series. I have been purposefully holding off reading too many chapters each week in order to keep up with the release schedule of the English translation over at WordExcerpt. Whilst mildly frustrating to have to wait, I still find it worth the wait because this series is so charming. It has a wholesome quality to it as well, which sets it apart from some of the other series that I’ve been reading of late. Anyway, check it out if you haven’t done so already and feel free to let me know what you think about the series if you do end up reading it.


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World of Keiko 2020/09/02

This week’s posts:

SHOUTOUTS
I would like to offer some shoutouts to some peeps that stopped by the blog this past week:

READING
Whilst I managed to binge-read the entirety of the first instalment of Light and Shadow series late last week, I found myself feeling a tad underwhelmed. You see, I am waiting for a backlog of chapters for several series of web novels and light novels that I have taken a particular interest in. The wait is killing me. However, the two series that I find myself excited for each week are the following:

  • [wn] The Emperor and the Knightess: This series makes interesting use of both court intrigue and gender politics. However, the fact the resident female lead is as dense as a black hole creates its own share of conflict.
  • [wn] I Raised a Black Dragon: So cute… So fluffy… The comedic aspects and the action sequences make this series entertaining with each new instalment over at WordExcerpt.

WRITING
I spent a lot of time researching music for a thing that I am working on. It was pretty fun, but the big thing is that the research was accompanied by actual writing of some equally fun scenes. I can dig it!

MUSIC
This week, I spent a lot of time listening to the following music:

  • The Final Countdown – The Best of Europe (album) by Europe
  • Brothers (album) by The Black Keys
  • Scintilla Wave (album) by Indytronics
  • Morning View (album) by Incubus

CONCLUSION
Sorry that I didn’t post much this last week. That being said, I still happy with how much writing-related activities as a win. I hope that you guys also had a productive week. Whatever the case, I hope that the next week will be a good one for you. I leave you guys with the following music clip:


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WT Review: Light & Shadow

Year: 2016
Author: Ryu Hyang
Artist: Hee Won
Genre: Josei, Fantasy, Romance, Action, Drama, Gender Bender

Light & Shadow is the first instalment of a book trilogy by author Ryu Hyang. I had the pleasure of binge-reading the entire 103 chapters of this webtoon adaptation this afternoon. You can find the English translation of series over at Tappytoon where you can also read the first three chapters for free.

When the maid Edna is sent to get married instead of noblewoman Anna, she comes face to face with infamous warrior Eli. An agreement is made and the two become husband and wife. However, it soon becomes abundantly clear that Edna is more than she appears.

Light and Shadow is the story of a young princess forced to pretend to be a man (“Crown-Prince Eden”) up until the castle is attacked. She has her share of guilt because she took a backseat, as did many others, whilst her horrible dad King Ducaine III did horrific things and neglected his people. When she has a chance to help the people that suffered under her father’s rule, she takes it. She never makes excuses and even courts the danger of discovery as she attempts to improve the lives of the people within the duchy. During this time, she becomes an equal partner in her marriage to Eli and vice versa.
Eli is blunt and used to being on the battlefield. When his brother King Cayden asks him to get married, the man is ticked off because it is intended to tie himself to a place, and even more so given that Anna’s family were loyal to the horrible previous king. This creates immediate conflict between himself and Edna. However, he is also a man with an innate feeling of justice after seeing the many sins of his father and the actions of the nobles constantly running about trying to sate the king’s perverse desires. The story doesn’t paint Eli as a perfect man, but as a man trying not to follow in the footsteps of his evil, abusive father.
The relationship between Edna and Eli at the beginning of this series is understandably messy. A strange woman is sent by a devious duke instead of the duke’s equally horrible daughter. Eli’s first choice was certainly not Anna because she was part of a family that supported the former king. The maid that was sent in her stead is immediately viewed with suspicion and with good reason. However, the early interactions between these two leads offer some neat dialogue that does an excellent job of conveying who they are as individuals. It also solidifies them as partners because they can contend together. Their affection for each other feels genuine rather than contrived nonsense because they both make an effort to get to know each other rather than flail around helplessly. But most of all, they don’t beat about the bush for ages about the whole “being in love” thing. With the addition of their first child Alex, the happy couple starts a family.
Along with the male and female lead, there is a host of other interesting characters that I soon found myself invested in the lives of. This ranged from resident bishounen Sir Kian to the scarred healer Rina, Povit’s psychotic son Sir Monde to our lead couple’s small but feisty son Alex. The people of the duchy, even the unnamed commoners, also allow the reader to see the impact of the changes made by Eli and Edna’s efforts.

The major conflict of this series relates to Edna’s identity as “the prince”. However, it soon becomes apparent that a former supporter of Dulaine III named Count Povit is looking to invade Eli’s land. The grand finale occurs years later in the form of an attempted invasion by a coalition of both Count Povit’s force and that of another kingdom.
I really like how rational the reaction is to the uncovering of Edna’s identity. There is no unnecessary drama when Eli finally discovers the truth, more annoyance that his beloved wife hadn’t told her sooner because then he could have supported her. Other characters that become aware of the truth early on also provide us with some idea of the lives that she impacted during her time disguised as a male.
As for the several arcs where Count Povit is involved, we get to see some really nice action sequences that showcase the battle prowess of both Eli and Edna but other characters as well. These battles also provide a feeling of danger as people get injured and even die. And yes, there is plenty of gratuitous violence where we get to see the occasional head being lopped off.

To art style, Hee Won did an amazing job of bringing the world and its characters to life. It does a great job of portraying a town that is undergoing major infrastructural changes due to the Duke and Duchess caring for their people. The various other settings are pretty good as well. And on top of this are the inhabitants. The character design for Eli, as an example, is pretty damned good. His physique matches his physical capabilities – he is a big, strong dude with broad shoulders, square jaw. Edna is more petite, in line with her agility and speed. I could go on with some more examples, but I think that you already get the gist.

One of the big criticisms from some fans of this series is perceived “dubious consent” during the first sexual encounter of Edna and Eli. However, whilst there is obvious messiness to that first encounter, I would argue that Edna also made Eli agree to some terms before they have sex for the first time. Eli also attempts to make future couplings significantly more enjoyable for his wife because he doesn’t want to be a bad husband which provides a huge disparity between the male lead in this story and male leads in several other series that I’ve dipped my toes in recently.

Did I enjoy this series? Yes, I did. The plot was solid, characters compelling, romance satisfying, action sequences delightfully flashy and the payoff at the end was gratifying. All in all, I am happy with how this series panned out and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a mature, action-based fantasy romance.


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World of Keiko 2020/08/27

Last week’s posts:

SHOUTOUTS
I would like to offer some shoutouts to some peeps that stopped by the blog this past week:

READING
The clear standouts for this week are as follows:

  • [wn] I Raised a Black Dragon ch 61 – 70
  • [wt] A Capable Maid Ch 21 – 30
  • [wn] The Landlady and the Amnesiac Ch 1 – 10

Notable finds of the week:

  • [wt] The Great Wish: a fantasy romance with some solid world-building, an intriguing plot, solid characters and some amazing art.

WRITING
Saint and Hero FTW!!! I’ll talk about that one sometime in future. Suffice it to say that things are going well.

MUSIC
This week, I spent a lot of time listening to the following music:

  • The Human Contradiction (album) by Delain
  • Via (album) by Monoral
  • Birds Of Tokyo (album) by Birds Of Tokyo
  • Pandora’s Pinata (album) by Diablo Swing Orchestra
  • A Long Time Listening (album) by Agent Fresco
  • Nothingness and No Regrets (album) by Mew
  • Worlds Collide (Special Edition) by Apocalyptica

OTHER STUFF
Over the past week, the area where I reside has seen numerous bushfires. The sky has been ashen for days.

CONCLUSION
I am happy to say it has been a productive and enjoyable week on my end. Here’s hoping that the next week is just as productive for you guys and me. Anyway, I leave you with the following music clip from one of this year’s Eurovision entrants.


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WN Review: The Landlady and the Amnesiac Ch 1 – 10

Year: 2018 (completed)
Author: Lin Mian Mian
Genre: Josei, Fantasy, Slice of Life, Drama, Romance

This review reflects the first ten chapters of an ongoing English translation of a Chinese web novel available at WordExcerpt. As of this post, fourteen of the completed 118 chapters of this series have been translated.

As a child, Luo Bei’s family became rich. However, a gambling addiction soon lead to the family returning to their former status. In her teens, her parents ended up disappearing with what remained of their fortune bar for a crappy apartment in the slums.

Years later, she and her grandmother run the apartment building which has its share of colorful tenants each with their own unique situations. One night, she has a dream about a pregnant tenant named Zhao Pianpian that reads like a “CEO’s secret baby” romance novel. Sure enough, evidence begins to stack up suggesting that the life of her “adopted” big sister may be exactly that.

When I came across this series earlier today, my curiosity was immediately perked. The synopsis, however, didn’t really reveal the odd nature of the setting beyond indicating that the female lead and her grandmother had some unusual tenants. I found this to be a good thing given how subtle the “cannon fodder” nature is within the story so far. Luo Bei is at one time both an onlooker and a participant in Zhao Pianpian’s story. However, it is also implied early on that some of the other tenants are like Zhao Pianpian as well, creating a wealth of possibilities for the novel as a whole.
Luo Bei is a solid female lead currently being hounded by numerous people in the neighbourhood to marry into their family. She is a good granddaughter currently trying to pay off her parents’ debts even after they abandoned her and Grandma Luo. Whilst she is a thoughtful, hardworking young woman, she never views herself as anything special beyond the obvious. She isn’t under any illusion that somebody will show up to rescue her from the situation and has a dream to buy her own house in the city once the debts are paid off. Being privy to the past, present and future of Zhao Pianpian create an interesting dynamic and even admiration.
The community in the slums is a character in of itself, one that often centres around Grandma Luo. Beibei’s grandmother is a strong figure that treats each person that she comes across with kindness and this behaviour has resulted in friendships and great respect from numerous big players in the district. She doesn’t make excuses and tries to always set a good example to her granddaughter.
Beyond Beibei, Pian and Grandma Luo, the first ten chapters also introduce the reader to numerous other characters. This ranges from several women that Grandma Luo plays Mahjong with to the skinny hottie that rents the basement. The interactions that we see of these characters, as brief as they sometimes are, teach us about the world and provide context for the action that takes place. For instance, Grandma Luo’s Mahjong playing has led to Beibei being introduced to numerous potential husbands in spite of her not being interested.
Also, the way in which the story deals with romance cliches is refreshing so far in that the characters don’t feel flat or unrealistic. There is never this feeling of convoluted drama in spite of the references to romance plot premises. This adds to the slice of life aspect of this web novel by showing people “getting on with it”.

To the storytelling style and translation, it is top-notch so far. I didn’t notice any typos, grammatical errors or issues with scene breaks. The story is told in third-person POV, allowing for consistency in style as well unlike the series The Heavily Armoured Noble Girl Monette.

So, did I enjoy what I’ve read of the series so far? It is a resounding ‘yes”. The story flows easily, the characters are interesting and the low-key tone is consistent without being boring. All in all, this series is off to a great start!

 


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LN Review: Armoured Girl Monette Ch 31 – 40

Alternate Names: The Heavily Armoured Noble Girl Monette: How To Break a Curse You Don’t Remember Casting, Juusou Reijou Morenet: Kaketa Oboe no nai Noroi no Tokikata
Year: 2017 – 2018 (completed)
Author: Saki
Artist: Masuda Megumi
Genre: Shoujo, Fantasy, Adventure, Drama, Comedy, Romance

As the trio continues their journey, they are joined by Gina and Concetta. After reaching the border, an incident at an inn leads to Percival realising that he is in love with Monette. As they reach the royal palace, Alexis is accused of illegally using funds and all hell breaks lose. Robertson makes a grand appearance and Monette ends up using a naked palm as a scroll in order to protect Percival and the others before the quintet flee the city into the forest.
As they walk, Alexis declares his desire to return in order to avoid getting his companions into more trouble than they already are. However, Gina states that it will only result in him getting in the way as she wants to devastate the kingdom due to a lack of hospitality and mockery of witches. Almost immediately after this declaration, Alexis’ morally questionable and familial-challenged uncle Ordo Radoll ninjas out of a bush and they soon find themselves drinking tea.
During the conversation over tea, Ordo is open about his desire for more power, previous attempts to kill his older brother and shows an interest in using Alexis’ witch connections to take over the kingdom. Alexis and Monette soon have a meaningful exchange leading to a moment of growth.

This week, resident male lead Percival Gallette’s behaviour moves even further into adorably weird territory. The repeated bouts of cuddly and affectionate weirdness make him an endearing character in spite of the numerous readers that have an issue with him. Whilst he is not necessarily the typical male lead, he makes sense to the tone of this light novel. Let’s just face it, everybody in this story has their own oddities and eccentricities. I won’t even go into the clues that we already have about him or the other lingering questions about where those fifteen minutes bouts of weirdness come from as that would be a lengthy post in of itself.
This week also saw an escalation in conflict as well as confirmation that Emilia and Rodell are tied to Prince Alexis’ situation. The introduction of Ordo Radoll also pushes us closer to the end of the series in a realistic fashion. That is to say that allies aren’t always squeaky clean and sometimes they can be outright b*stards.

In spite of the amusing direction that this series has taken, the translation still suffers from a lack of POV breaks as well as corrections for typoes and grammatical oddities. It seems to have got worse over time. This week, I found it becoming more and more disruptive. Here’s hoping that the remaining chapters and bonus content for this series improve.

If you are interested in reading this series, there is an English translation offered by Experimental Translations (series page).