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Steel and Mana
Steel and Mana
354.9k Views 12349 Favorites 192 Chapters 5 Chapters/Week 1674 Readers
4.5 (103 ratings)
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Synopsis

Leon was just about to start his new life. Finally, he got everything on track and got himself a place in the late 22nd century; then, his life ended. His bad luck did not end there; he was pushed off the Rainbow Road of Reincarnation, ending up in a totally different world. A new body, a new life, but his original brain. He may have been angry about it, but this was a new opportunity. A new lease on life, and this time, it would not be wasted with toiling away for others just to get a shot at a normal life. In this life, it was time to build up his own place with his own rules!

---- Author's notes:

Hey-ho! I ain't planning to introduce world-changing, thought-provoking ideas here. It is all for the plain and simple reason of having some fun! What you need to be aware of:

- Yes, this is an isekai story. No, there are no 'cheats' or systems involved with gaining skills. He is just a guy reincarnating with a gene-modified brain, so it explains why he can remember things and be smart. That is it. Think of it as him having a perfect memory.
- The story mostly focuses on kingdom-building stuff and slice-of-life elements, not on conquest or curb stomping others. The main conflict will be centered around wars, yes, but it won't be one guy vs. the world or something like that. Magic is going to play a big role in building up the territory, as I plan to branch out into magic technology later on. I am going to rely heavily on magic because I am mostly a fantasy writer and not an engineer. Hence, the magic-technology tag.
- The MC's main goal is to enjoy himself. This also means girls. So there will be a harem. Those who are familiar with my works, how I do groups, and how my characters act will know I don't like doing cardboard cutouts of characters. Most of my stories have more than one character accompanying the MC. The same will be true here, with the extra caveat that they will also be involved romantically with the MC.
- The story plays out in a 1st person POV. There won't be jumping around multiple POVs; I don't like that. Only when the story requires it and the MC can’t be present by himself for some story parts.
- Don't take this story seriously nor look for scientifically 100% real and codex-like solutions for problems. This is a fantasy world, a totally different culture, and with history, that is NOT OUR world! There is magic here, and the MC has a supercomputer for a brain. I think that says it all.
- My main goal is to enjoy writing some whacky but real-sounding scenarios. They will be based upon feasible ideas, but I am not writing a damned textbook about thermodynamics. Laws will be bent and broken when the story needs it.
- Regarding smut, there are some chapters with erotic scenes, but not every other chapter. So expect it when the mood is there in the story and not because I must cram as much snu-snu in as possible... That won't happen.

Also, if you have any questions, our discord is at: https://discord.gg/xvVejMyd4u
You can read ahead one week of public chapters on my Patreon.

Genre
ActionAdventureEcchiFantasyHaremIsekaiRomanceSlice of LifeSmut
Tags
Age Progression Bodyguards Clan Building Clever Protagonist Eidetic Memory Engineer European Ambience Fanaticism Fantasy World Harem-seeking Protagonist Imperial Harem Inscriptions Kingdom Building Kingdoms Leadership Loyal Subordinates Magic Magical Technology Modern Knowledge Polygamy Power Struggle Previous Life Talent Reincarnated into Another World Soldiers Technological Gap
Related Series
House of Amarin (Shared Universe)
Mad God (Shared Universe)
The Last Hero (Shared Universe)
Table of Contents 192
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    New Nyarlako
    Status: Chapter 173 – 3000 vs 300

    In this review, I'll try to break down the most essential parts of a novel like this:

    The main story and its direction

    The way the isekai-part is handled

    The kingdom-building elements

    Characters (how the harem is dealt with)

    The Story:

    It is basic but not in a bad way. We get the usual trope of reincarnating in a different world, with magic and the essential fantasy elements. What we learn, though, is that magic acts like a mix of low-fantasy and high-fantasy. I don't want to call the story straight-up low-fantasy because besides the magic system having limitations and working through the need for magic formations and conduits, it still has the high-fantasy oomph behind it. Especially when it comes down to magical monsters that are present in the story.

    The story is being revealed at a slow pace, so if you want quick action, power-ups, and all that, you won't get it here. With 170+ chapters, we are still piecing together the history of the land that spans thousands of years. We were fed information here and there, characters dropping clues, but as for what it means, we have no idea yet. It could be great, but it could be a disappointment; we will see. But if you want to know everything, from the start or very quickly, you will hate this story. It is a slow burn.

    Isekai:

    It is there. At least it isn't a system or anything with numbers, but basically, giving the MC a perfect memory. Was it necessary? Eh, not really, but it gives the backstory of why he has his ideas. It lets jokes fly, or modern inventions reappear inside a fantasy setting. What at least is a bit new is that the MC comes from our future and not the modern day, so more sci-fi-ish elements can be implemented.

    Kingdom-building:

    If you read the author's synopsis, it explains everything. Will it satisfy you if you want to see engineering marvels? No. The story, as mentioned in the synopsis, is about magic technology. It is the end goal, and since reaching the point where all the pieces have fallen into place and the author began using them, it turned into a mix between fantasy and sci-fi. At the point of this review, we already have giant walking machines, which is an obvious point towards the fact that later on, we will see some Pacific Rim-styled robots versus big-ass monsters duking it out. It isn't what I expected, but at least it is kind of unique.

    If you thought about modernization, inventing modern-day infantry and tanks with pew-pews, then this isn't it. We got magic knights instead, piloting robots and dressing in monster-based power armor. As I said, at least it is different, but not everyone will like it.

    Characters:

    The best part of the story is that everyone has personalities, including the harem members. They are distinct enough to feel like a team rather than simple trophies. However, I would like them to get more time to do their own things and show them to us, but I can't complain because it is way better than usual harem stories where the girls get left behind all the time when a new one enters the scene.

    The supporting cast is vast, so not everyone has time to shine, but for those who matter, you will start to remember because they also shine through, thanks to their quirks. I don't want to spoil everything, but let's just say that the MC is not the only reincarnator in the story. (Still, the others are not from our world, before you think that.)

    The characters make the story work. No question about it. At least, that is what I think. The most interesting parts happen between them and the power balance between other rulers and the MC. Some may say the MC is a d*ck. Maybe, but I think there is a difference between being cold against your enemies and warm toward your allies. Each to their own, I felt at least he wasn't a pushover.

    Conclusion:

    You won't be surprised if you read the author's notes in the synopsis. Is it the best novel ever? Nah. But it is a fun read if you are willing to be in for the long haul.

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    I'm not any different from other reviews when I say it's well written. The prose is nice and while the details can get a bit obnoxious at times, you can twist that into being part of the novel's strength.

    The biggest weakness of this novel is undoubtedly it's characters. Not just the MC, even though he is a mess, but lovers, enemies (of what few are actually present at the moment), friends (once again, few exist), and even parents.

    Our MC is unpleasant. He's arrogant, brash, inconsiderate, emotionally unstable, and even cruel at times. If you've ever read a Wuxia novel then you know this type of MC. But the issue here is that the world around him reacts, not like he's courting death, but more like bad reactions to his autism are a hindrance. You feel this the strongest during the first 16 chapters. He has the cardinal writing sin of speaking out loud so other characters can parrot his words, just for our MC to hand wave them away. It feels like this is supposed to be whimsical or carefree but, I promise you it doesn't come off that way. It's even more baffling for someone with a military background. Something that is beaten deep into your very soul during basic is the concept of teamwork. Cooperation. Interfacing with other humans, no matter where you end up after basic, requires this skill. It's touched on in the story that -

    Spoiler

    MC wants a military force of his own, and he's transferring teachings from his time in the military to this new world. That should include teamwork.

    [collapse]
    But our protagonist, once again has none of the characteristics of a background that he supposedly should have. I'm not far into the story (I'm dropping it) but I'd be jumping over the moon if it turned out our protagonist has psychosis or is actually just a liar. In truth he larps as what he thinks someone of his fake background would behave like. He is a failed engineering student (who did hobbyist Karate) who couldn't make his tuition payments on time so despite having surface level knowledge of physical and chemical sciences, he couldn't finish up before he isekai'd. Of course this is wishful thinking. He's actually just an unpleasant MC, with no real reason as to why.

    Love interests are... Unusual. MC is a harem-seeking protagonist, so it's understandable that every hole is a goal. But

    Spoiler

    A mentally broken bandit that's missing a breast? Author said "story is dark deal with it" but this seems more slap-stick than dark. There's mature ways to tackle the redemption of a raped/damaged/traumatized character you know? The MC of this story is woefully inadequate for this type of love interest to exist. In the end she's comes off feeling like a token. I didn't drop the novel over this but I might've made it to chapter 100 if she died doing a mission and nipped that "romance" in the bud.

    [collapse]
    Other love interests and characters in general are unable to perform the role of being a character outside of being a tool. This one is a scholar. This one can use magic and I really need a mage. This one can lead my future army. This one can act in the shadows for me. I hope I'm not coming off bad faith but this is tragic quality of character conceptualizing. The depth of each character is equivalent to a novelized Morrowind NPC and I'm not being hyperbolic. Here's my history before I met you. But now that I'm here, my personality will twist into something convenient that can fit the existing social fabric. Author tries to develop inter-character relationships a bit later. Harem members becoming friends. But their main topic of choice is our MC and how s*x with him feels. This doesn't have to be bad. People meet over common interests all the time. But they STAY together because they connect even beyond the initial spark. That was not done here.

    Plot is a bit slow and grinding. It's not terrible but you can start skipping paragraphs and get the general idea of what's going on. That is not uncommon in kingdom building x engineer novels like this. Naming sense for the world and the things that inhabit it is a mixed bag. CC? Terrible. Magic system is intricate, detailed, and fun! Unique stuff there. Shame our MC isn't a mage so he can't do more than analyze and theorize magic. To experiment he always needs a tool or person. Those 2 things aren't always separate. World politics are interesting. The secrecy needed to keep our backwater miracle from turning into a beacon to take over wasn't thought out at all. Maybe civilians are immobile. But outside of keeping the city a secret, the politics have potential to be very interesting. 

    If you can turn your brain off, I'm sure it's good time fodder. But if you're like me, unless this gets a re-write, wait for the author's next work. Hopefully they evolve past whatever happened in this one.

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    deadlywolf234
    Status: chapter 132 - shock & awe

    Extremely well written story. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets taken off the website because they put it on amazon for sale. Smart protagonist who gets reliable people to prop up his ideas for making a kingdom. World building is insanely detailed.

    A bit slow for my taste but that's mainly preference. I would recommend this book if you're looking at the reviews. 

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    2 Likes · Like
    BDF2
    Status: chapter 48 – winter experiments (3)
    I would say I enjoy this story, but also that I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it.
    .
    What the story does very well is set-up an interesting world to learn about, and to see how political intrigue and power plays are made back and forth between new and established powers. Balancing keeping competition at home appeased and enemies aborad at bay.
    .
    Dialogue and character interaction is a bit shallow and paint by numbers, hitting a lot of the same story beats of isekai manga flooding the market. Vague mentions of some modern or japanese idea gets instantly applauded by supporting characters without any set-up that might explain this medieval society would value it. Everyone is an instant hot spring enjoyer type thing.
    .
    As far as inventions and societal uplift go, think more season 2+ of Dr. Stone rather than Season 1. Most logistics and hard science get hand waved away for the sake of delivering a gag. Sometimes a good effort is put in, but other times the author's lack of a technical background shows through with misuse of words (not specifically, but things like interchanging energy & power, or heat with temperature).
    .
    If you're looking for a civ builder isekai that doesn't get too nitty-gritty then this may be the story for you.

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    2 Likes · Like

    Its a alright story I think it does the reincarnating bit really well and it is fun to read. It is not for everyone and if your looking for plot holes you will find them but its interesting. 3.5/5

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    2 Likes · Like
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