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A medium grim and anime-influenced western take on xianxia, with a transmigrated protagonist

By Naeddyr, member

Jul 20, 2017: Despite the title, I actually am making a recommendation for Savage Divinity, a light western take on xianxia with a medium dark tone, tons of anime influence, a transmigrated (and mostly benign) protagonist, and a ridiculous output. It hasn’t been a year yet, and there’s 180 or so chapters, and those chapters are not short.

Xianxia is a genre of Chinese fantasy about ten steps of ridiculousness above the level of something like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; in these stories immortal super-people cultivate magic powers and have magical fights while surfing on magical flying swords. Usually it’s the Worst Genre alongside all the other Worst Genres, filled with amoral protagonists murdering and looting other bigger dinguses, while leveling up in power one magical medicine or secret technique at a time.

In this case, your usual random amnesiac Earthling transmigrates into the body of a 12-year old slave in a world obviously inspired by xianxia, with a lot of hot animal-eared people running around.

The prologue is basically: Raine / Rain has amnesia in both lives, suffers horribly, gets thrown into a plague pit, crawls out and is finally saved by what is basically a loving commune of super-ninjas where polygamy is not uncommon and everyone is hot (literally).

And it’s actually good! Readable, gripping, infuriating, I love it enough that I put something towards it on Patreon for a while.

It’s one of those first-we-kick-in-your-teeth wishfulfilment fantasies. Our protagonist gets a bunch of adventures, accolades, rewards, and so forth, but is also crapped on regularly by fate, and things don’t feel too undeserved. Also contains a legit harem, YMMV, though happily I think polygamy in this world can go both ways, at least among the People, and tangentially there ARE a lot of strong (or "strong") women characters (who tend to be hot . . . )

There’s lots of gore, and the setting is set at low-medium grimdark, meaning that 90% of all nobles are terrible people, slavery is common and magically enforced and there’s a grubby gray Imperi^W Empire fighting slobbering hordes of cannibalistic, torture-loving and genocidal cultis^W Defiled. Most of the conflicts are provided by the normal society of the setting and the stupid, stupid blood-feuds the protagonist (that idiot) collects like he’s been appointed Grand Sommelier of Terrible Vendettas.

The writing is perfectly fine. The biggest fault with the craft is that in later chapters during big, sprawling conflicts, the author gets bogged down with boring, annoying, or irrelevant side-character chapters, dragging things out immensely. There should be a much more pin-pointed focus on the real main cast, and the infodumps / situation dumps in those side-character chapters should be integrated and cut into main character chapters and point of view.

Savage Divinity, besides the ridiculous title, has a high Your Mileage May Vary quotient on several issues, but it’s not the worst power-leveling fantasy by a long shot. Raine and the other characters close to him are more cuddly than not, and the edges of xianxia and these kinds of power-leveling fantasies are subdued and softened a lot. Give it a shot.

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