Beware of Chicken
As of writing this review, I have read all 212 published chapters on Royal Road.
I saw this series recommended a few times on various groups and subreddits, but I always put it off because the name of the series didn’t exactly give me details about what it was about. The tidal wave of support for the work pushed me over the edge, so I picked it up… and it turns out that was a great decision.
The premise is fairly simple, and not explored in any great depth apart from an acknowledgement of tropes and slight breaking of the fourth wall. A cultivator at the Cloudy Sword Sect dies during a beating from a Young Master, and our MC is reincarnated in the boys body. He immediately nopes out of the sect, goes to the quietest and most Qi-starved place he can find, to start a peaceful life as a farmer.
Along the way, he meets various people, including a love interest (which is also wholesame as hell and very well done), starts his farm, gets some farm animals, and the—in the fashion of typical xianxia—the chicken gains sentience as it spiritually awakens and becomes the protector of the farm. I can’t say more without major spoilers, but the radically different perspectives between Jin, the Lord Magistrate, the chicken, and various other characters (such as a sentient bee queen) is a highlight of the series. They each view the world in entirely different ways and through completely separate lenses. The Lord Magistrate just wants to be left alone without damn cultivators making his life a hassle. Jin just wants some peace and quiet, but keeps shouldering responsibility. Bi De (the rooster) looks up to Jin and the farm is his entire world that he guards every night.
The first book is a great slice-of-life read. Bi De is coming into his sentience, Jin is figuring out how to farm, and courting Meiling. Their problems are small, from how to actually farm, to dealing with a rat infestation, but they drew me in from the sheer quality of the characterisations and the importance of those problems to the main characters.
Things, as they do in Xianxia land, escalate. Jin can’t stay on his manmade heaven forever, and the second book further explores different characters seeing the wider world. There are some aspects which I think here could have been condensed, but nevertheless it was also a fun, heartwarming, and wholesome read.
And, coming from a back-to-back binge of Defiance of the Fall, The Path of Ascension, and The Primal Hunter, I desparately needed that change of pace from “serious MC needs to grow stronger” to “leave me alone and let me live in peace.”
It’s coming to Amazon soon (as of writing, May 2022 release date), as well as an audiobook, so its a great time to get into the series and support the author.