Review: The King's Avatar
|Author||Hudie Lan (蝴蝶蓝)|
- A massive ensemble cast from multiple teams all with their own stories & personalities.
- Well-written, strategic game matches that makes the protagonist earn his victories.
- Heart-warming found family and friendships.
- At a whopping 1728 chapters long, this book is a huge time sink. I personally think it's worth it, especially if you break your reading to smaller arcs every day, but it's an intimidating length for sure.
Yes, I can already see everyone running away at top speed at the sheer number of chapters. But if you're willing to give this a chance, and are interested in a humorous slice of life book with a great ensemble cast you can read for the long-term on your daily commute, this can really put a smile on your face.
The book follows the fall of Ye Xiu, a professional eSports gamer who got kicked out of his old club in favor of a hot new star Sun Xiang, and Ye Xiu's subsequent rise to re-join the world of professional gaming with a new character and new team. If you've ever played an MMO or MOBA - the fictional game Glory! is a hybrid of both - you'll find a lot of relatable gaming moments in the book. If you're not a gamer or into the eSports genre, a lot of my non-gamer friends who've read this book say that they enjoyed it regardless because they loved the characters. I personally loved the strategic aspects of the game, and the mental battles and the tricks and schemes, but I know others skim the gaming descriptions and just focus on the character interactions out-of-game as well.
In the genre of "OP protagonist rises to the top," it's really common for a book to completely lose all sense of suspense because the protagonist never loses. TKA overcomes that very skillfully by mixing wins with losses, and making the protagonist work for his wins. Yes, he's pretty overpowered, but he doesn't win through sheer power difference, but a mix of strategy and shamelessness. I literally spent a whole weekend reading the Challenger League arc in this book because it was so suspenseful. All sports novel writers could take from tips from this book on how to do this right!
The novel is gen with lots of supporting and minor characters who are very likeable. I especially love the variety of female characters in this book, all of them are so great, and don't fall at all into the typical cliches (Tang Rou gets a special mention). My personal favorite is Huang Shaotian, competent blathering idiot extraordinaire. Bonus mention to Zhou Zekai, for being one of the best opponents to go head-to-head with Ye Xiu. Just pure competence and brilliant technique to read about when these two fight against each other.
Because the book is about competitive gaming, there's no real over-the-top villains as you would normally find in c-novels. The worst of them might be the overly cocky bullies in-game who serve as cannon fodder for Ye Xiu, or the people who sabotaged him with Excellent Era. But the most significant opponents that Ye Xiu encounters during competition are all friends outside the game, so there's always fantastic banter.
I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking a "journey to success/journey to championships" story with fun characters, humor, heart-warming friendships and plenty of suspense & well-written competitions.