Mother of Learning - Serialized web novel, magic school, groundhog day

In the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality thread (which is an excellent story btw, all I’d recommend it to all Harry Potter fans), @Gendal mentioned Mother of Learning, a web serial that’s well received online that takes place in a magic school.

I started reading it, and was delighted to find out that it’s a groundhog day type of time-loop story. I’m still only near the start, but I’m really enjoying it so far, and if this particular combination of genres tickles people’s fancy, they should check it out. It certainly pings several of my interests, being a “students learning things together” story as well as a time loop story. Nice.

Didn’t realize it was a ground hog day type scenario, that’s actually a small negative in my book but it can be fine if handled well. Will be starting in on it next I think, the rest sounds like I would love it.

I read this over the weekend. It might have the best overall time loop plot I’ve seen, and is quite inventive when it comes to how the magic system and the time loop interact. (The prose and characters are serviceable.)

Definitely the kind of thing that I’ll be recommending to some friends just so that we can schedule a debrief over beers.

Daaamn. I just finished it last week, took me a lot longer than 2 days. Very much enjoyed it. He doesn’t spend much time retreading past events unless it’s interesting, so any fears I had about that were pretty quickly allayed. Lots going on with the world building, magic systems, and time loop, enough to easily carry it through the lengthy book.

Yeah, I’ve been reading it every day since I created the thread. Sometimes even at work, in between tasks. Obsessively. And every spare moment at home. I’m on Chapter 100 now, so I’m almost done. But daaaaamn, reading this over a weekend?

I finished the story. Overall, a good yarn. It was really long, so it’s tough to judge the whole thing as a cohesive whole. The overall story idea is great. How it all plays out is great for the most part. The action scenes are well written and evocative.

My main complaint is that there was too little exploration of characters and relationships in the story. There were the occasional chapters here and there that did do that, and those stick out in my memory as my favorite parts of the story in retrospect. I wish there had been more of that.

Overall, still a good time though. A tentative thumbs up.

Today I’m suffering from universe withdrawal. It’s weird when you’re reading a book intensely for 3 weeks in a row in every free moment, and suddenly you’re finished. And you’re back to the real world, which has no repeating time loop. And yet it feels like it does.

Damnit, I love timeloop stories. You guys are gonna make me read this now.

Woah. There’s an audio book of this now? I might have to revisit it sometime as an audiobook.

Yes, I agree, my evaluation of it landed in about the same place. I thought the additional powers and such was a function of getting the story where it needed to be. The limitation of a time loop and starting over with the same things every time has to have a shortcut built in, which makes the character feel overpowered I suppose, but you kind of need that in order to be able to do things on a big scale considering you have to start over from scratch.

That’s the main thing to me though in a time loop story. It’s an opportunity to explore characters in a way not possible in the same way as a non-time loop story. And Mother of Learning did do that, but it could have done more of it.

Yeah, there was a HUGE opportunity for interesting character studies in that series, particular in regard to the protagonist and his family and also the protagonist and Zach. Zach seemed a thin character at first but there were hints of depth that were never fully explored and then a whole emotional finale that kind of came out of nowhere. Also, there were hints of some very interesting character arcs with the Lich but again, not really developed. That could have been quite interesting. And the Red Robe antagonist, I felt that was fairly weak for a key antagonist.

But still a good fun series.

I’m actually curious how some of these authors would perform if they had the opportunity to write in a more conventional manner, with rewrites and editing, etc. I’m fairly certain it would improve the quality in many ways but would it stifle the manic energy that often infuses these books?