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Street Cultivation

Street Cultivation, Book 1
Written by: Sarah Lin
Narrated by: Travis Baldree
Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

In the modern world, qi is money.

The days of traveling martial artists and mountaintop masters are over. Power is controlled by corporations, modernized martial arts sects, and governments. Those at the bottom of society struggle as second class citizens in a world in which power is a commodity.

Rick is a young fighter in this world. He doesn't dream of immortality or becoming the strongest, just of building a better life for himself and his sister, who suffers from a spiritual illness. Unfortunately, life isn't that easy....

©2019 Sarah Lin (P)2020 Tantor

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  • Overall
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  • Austin
  • 13-01-20

Listen.

Okay. So. I wanted to set a few things straight from a few conflicting reviews.

1. While the MC does get beaten to a pulp, and often, he does not always "lose". He is dealt a crap hand in life and has some terrible luck, but everything isn't all bad. He first gets beat up roughly by a client, (He works as a personal trainer/practice dummy), but in return he gets a few nice drinks from his coworker and a little bump to his defenses. This isn't exactly an huge boost, but their is an exchange. Next he gets the absolute **** kicked out of him by some bratty rich kids, but he gets healed by a nice client and gets to keep a large bonus. You see the pattern?

2. There is a give and take relationship in this book. Nothing is free, and everything has strings attached. If he gets beat up, he gets a break. If he gets a break, something bad is usually around the corner. Everything has strings attached to it. This advances the plot from point to point rather nicely.

3. I have read reviews that this book is depressing because the MC keeps getting continually beaten and "nothing good happens". This is FALSE! There are some undeniably good and heartwarming moments in this book. Especially surrounding the MC's sister. Their relationship is an emotional rollercoaster, and I am glad she actually has character and a sense of humor rather than just being a two-dimensional motivation tool for our MC.

4. While I did enjoy the author's "Changing Faces" book a lot better, this book can't be compared. This book is cultivation while that one is definitely a LITRPG. The writing style, prose, characters, and entire genre is different. IF I didn't know better I would say this was written by entirely different person because of how different it feels and flows. This isn't a bad thing though. On the other hand, it is quite extraordinary.

5. Just as reference, other cultivation books have MC's who go through a lot more shit than our MC here. For example the characters from "Buryoku" by Aaron Oster and "A Thousand Li" by Tao Wong go through some exceptionally brutal beat downs. Even in Will Wight's "Cradle" series, the MC never gets a break and is thrust into new problems as soon as he finishes the last. At least here, our MC has days of down time and semi-relaxation.

6. If I had to critique this book, the thing that irritates me the most are the speech patterns. For example, Granny continually uses "Dearie" every other sentence. The (bad) Uncle calls him "Boy". His other crappy family members call him "Dick". There are others, but each time they are said they are used as a slur to degrade him. This doesn't bother me so much as how often they are used. Having to hear them said over and over is grating on my ears. It is not quite as bad as "Kitten" from the Undead Rogue series, but it is pretty damn close.

7. Travis Baldree does a fantastic job as always. All his voices are practically unique, He can go soft or loud, portray male, or female, young or old. His words carry emotion and there is forethought to his reading. It's fantastic

Overall. It is a great book with a ton of character development. Don't get hung up on his defeats because he always bounces back. I highly recommend you listen to this book for yourself. It is worth a credit. Give it a try and make your own opinion.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Jim Balkwill
  • 11-01-20

Fantastic Cultivation Novel

Travis Baldree like usual is a 6 star performance. Love the take on a genre I had an addiction for. Looking forward to book 2.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Sardan
  • 12-01-20

A breath of fresh air

This is a very creative take on the cultivation genre. The setting is basically modern America if cultivation was a real thing. It's fascinating to see the mix of normal tech side by side with "lucrim" magic.

I understand some other reviewers didn't like the pacing of the novel, or the fact that the main character has such a rough time through most of the book. It's important to realize that this is the first volume in a series, possibly a long one. I think it's helpful to adjust expectations and not think that every problem in the main character's life is going to be quickly resolved.

It's good to note that this isn't an epic story. There's no world-threatening crisis, the main character isn't the forgotten heir to incredible power. It's more like a slice of life. It's a guy who is starting off with two strikes against him, and his hardscrabble journey to the top. In some Chinese cultivation stories, the main character works his way up in a sect. Well, in this story he's working his way up on his own because he couldn't join a sect.

This is the opening part of Rick's journey. He has his victories for sure, but at the end of the book he's not a world-beating badass. He's just more of a badass than when he started, and he has a looong way to climb yet. And I'm more than fine with that, I eagerly await future volumes.

And special shout out to narrator Travis Baldree, who does a terrific job as usual.

4 people found this helpful

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  • kevin
  • 11-01-20

Stick with it tell the end its worth it.

Yeah the MC gets kicked into a pit of despair for the first half of the book and he isn't some mary sue, its about how he deals with and overcomes the challenges so stick with it the ending is very satisfying.

9 people found this helpful

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  • M. Knight
  • 08-01-20

Very entertaining and enjoyable.

This is a well written cultivation book. I loved the concept and the cast of characters. The action was great and I was throughly entertained from start to finish.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcia
  • 08-02-20

Just depressing

The performance is amazing. Travis has a gift for narration. Unfortunately the story itself is bad.
It’s not written bad, the writing actually is pretty good. It’s just unenjoyable. In cultivation stories the MC usually goes through trial and tribulations and grows stronger from hard work and dedication. In this book the MC is actually weaker most of the way though than he started out because of the constant and unreasonable beat downs and poor turns of fate. There is no hard work and improvement, just constant random people making the main characters life worse and making him weaker. It’s just honestly depressing and not at all inspiring like a good cultivation book should be. There is nothing to look forward to or victories to savor. Just beat down and poor turn of fate after another. Think he’s finally earned a victory? Just kidding the reward is actually him getting weaker. Secret thing that could be an advantage? No it’s actually shitty and makes him weaker

1 person found this helpful

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  • Richard Jansen
  • 14-01-20

So good I'm downloading her other books

Super, super good. Fun. Strong writing. LitRPG for the masses. Dear Author, write more faster, thanks.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Noah
  • 29-02-20

Unique LitRPG

I loved this book, the characters were unique, had fantastic growth and, they are very relatable. Furthermore, the magic system lends itself to the development and made the world feel real. Also, keep listening until the end for an April Fools chapter that was featured on the author's Patreon, it was hilarious.

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  • Tanya
  • 18-02-20

A good story!

I admit that in the beginning I was a bit bored because the story felt more like a Rocky/ underground fighting movie as opposed to a cultivation story but I enjoyed the care put into the characters.

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  • Bryan S Guzman
  • 14-02-20

pretty great

I have to say how well it avoids the tropes and plays it straight no sudden hooks and unexpected twist just soild story and character work that was fun and very actiony would read sky sequels

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 09-01-20

interesting premise but convoluted story

I found the story entertaining but sometimes events felt random and disjointed. I usually preffer a more cohesive structure to the main plot.

2 people found this helpful

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  • hudefa
  • 09-01-20

great <br />overall:5/5<br />performance:5/5<br />story:4.5/5

Good book, fun to read and impeccable naration from Travis Baldree, as always.

The funny little april fools chappter was a cherry on top, really had me doubled down laghing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-01-20

Great book

Very solid book in a developing genre,
The pacing was good.
Characters felt real.
Progression was tangible throughout the entire book.
The book didn't feel short.
The only problem was the amount of sub plots, could have taken it down a notch.

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  • Simon
  • 09-01-20

Good story

Cultivation in a modern western setting, an enjoyable listen about haves and have not's and the struggle to improve ones situation that's well read by Travis Baldree.