The Salamanders

by JackWake

Original ONGOING Action Drama Fantasy Romance GameLit High Fantasy LitRPG Magic Male Lead Multiple Lead Characters School Life Slice of Life
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

Hadica was built around one of five Towers, an infinite structure filled with floors of monsters, magic, and treasures that the city plunders like clockwork. Most of the city, at least. Growing up in Westhill, Micah's family abstained from all of their Tower's bounties. He became an [Alchemist] at an age younger than most and just wanted to level in peace, but soon ran out of mundane ingredients to brew into potions. Ryan is a budding [Fighter] with the strange ability to mimic beasts, including monsters, but he doesn't understand it or even himself. After a Tower climb goes horribly wrong, their lives and the world around them begin to change as they try to figure out who they want to be.

The Salamanders is a slow-paced story about characters growing up in and exploring a fantasy setting. It updates every Tuesday. Please mind the tags.

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2nd Anniversary
Word Count (17)
Easter Event Search Party - Bronze Medal
Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
1.01 ago
1.02 ago
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Interlude - Sear ago
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Interlude - Sparks 1 ago
Interlude - Sparks 2 ago
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Interlude - Bonfire 2 ago
Interlude - Bonfire 3.5 ago
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Interlude - Embers ago
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Interlude - Embers 2 ago
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Interlude - Torch ago
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Interlude - Fireworks ago
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Interlude - Flicker ago
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Interlude - Flicker 2 ago
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Interlude - Scald 2 ago
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Review as of 7.06 (chapter 126)

 There will be minor spoilers in this review. Find SUMMARY at the bottom to avoid spoilers. There will be a couple of MAJOR SPOILERS in the THOUGHTS section, so really, find that SUMMARY section at the bottom.

It's good. But...... I'm honestly starting to dislike it. It should be mentioned, that I have binge read it this week, so maybe that influences my judgement. But it is binge worthy, so I don't hate this story.

STYLE: pretty sure it's all first person. Might be some exceptions, but you're going to be seeing the world from the perspective of a pre-teen and teenager. Theres a few exceptions in the interlude chapters. Author does a pretty good job of showing and not telling, that is reinforced by his writing style

STORY: Make no mistake, this is a slice of life story. Maybe it's not intended to be, but it definitely became one. Theres dungeon crawling, litrpg mechanics like skills and levels, but the majority of the story is about two teens growing up in a world with levels. Its focus is on the characters interactions in day to day life rather than some overarching theme like "kill bad guy," "save princess," or "conquer the tower." The story is mostly lighthearted but can get tense at times giving the story a bit of depth. Nothing truly "dark" has happened yet, surprisingly.

The pacing of this story makes it a webnovel in the truest sense of the word. Whereas a novel is more condensed, this story can drag on, and on, and on and on....

GRAMMAR: Havent seen any mistakes, so nice job author. I have the benefit of reading after a year since the story started, but it's still a quality piece of writing. That, or I read too many half-translations... 

CHARACTERS: Probably the strongest part of this story. They're real, believable, and are kids. It's hard writing about children, since they themselves usually don't even know who they are yet. But the author has done an outstanding job. I can honestly say I want to see micah grow up. I want to read about him and his journey. ( yeah, fuck Ryan. Not because I dislike him, but micah is wayyyy more chaotic)

THOUGHTS: I can honestly say I'm starting to dislike this story. Not because it's bad. It isnt. Not because I dislike the characters, I'm quite attached. But because it's so God Damn Slow. Which is ironic, because that's literally the best part of this story. Quite the Contradiction haha. But seriously, not even a year has passed since micah broke the salamanders den way back in chapter 10 ( I'm ball parking here. But it was way early). Like FML!

Another point that baffles me is after Micah went back into the tower during the exam and kicked the piss out of the kobold, the story has been directionless. There was an argument to be made about how the story was about overcoming your fears (micah's fear of all things fire) but after that it's all about school. Better yet, micah didn't even conquer his fear. Which is baffling since he spends at least half of his fights getting fire thrown at him. He got some half ass vision of fire essence back but not his candle skill. I loved how the author portrayed his fear of his time in the tower. I loved how he was unable to use his candle skill or see fire essence. So when we wrapped up the pre-School arc, it was very unfulfilling to see him still have those fears after overcoming the physical manifestation of them.

Another thing that baffles me is the whole damn school situation at all. A few points here. 1) This lady (ameryth) made a school so that the next generation would better be able to handle the challenges the tower would have to offer. The whole concept was to let the kids have as much freedom as possible so they wouldn't be tainted by other peoples preconceptions and could follow their own path. It's meant to be extremely tower friendly. So why, in the flying fuck, would you create a school setting? You don't want people with the teacher skill? Great. O wait, you hired teachers, who will probably develop the teacher skill soon enough. 2) Brand new tower to explore? Awesome. Seems like it validates the existence of your school. O wait, now you wont let the little buggers in while they attend your school? Seems pretty counterintuitive. Even when other schools let people in, you still threaten your students with expulsion for wanting to climb. The very reason they attended this half ass school? "But Contradiction, letting children into mortal peril is dumb and immoral." Yes, you're right. But that's literally the society they live in with a small subculture of protective parents (Westhill). I don't understand why micah even goes to this school. He ran away from home to be a climber, yet he chooses not to climb. Is the registry really that awesome? Because I don't even think he spends much time in there for his class or path, and just uses it for exams. The whole school setting seems like a poor way to keep all our characters in a familiar ground to interact with each other. 3) Why would a society that has a heavy reliance on class and skills and levels even care about anything but the most basic of educations? Especially when said education seems to impede many peoples paths or classes. It's not like they need a diploma to get a job. Interviews probably along the line of hand in your Proof Papers as far as credentials go.

I would also like to challenge the author to explore more depth with his characters. Get darker and grimmer for a few chapters. Make them experience real loss. But also to get brighter and happier too. Make them experience those butterflies and happy jitters after they ask out their first girl on a date. That endless energy you have like you could fly after your first kiss. The lighthearted theme is a good baseline for this story, but I'd like to see the contrast of the highs and lows people experience against your lighthearted baseline. I think you (author) could do a really good job writing these contrasts. And I think it would improve the quality of your story.

SUMMARY: holy hell I went on a tangent in the thoughts section. Anywhoo...... This is a good slice of life story about young teenagers. It will either suck you in and want to see them grow up, or it will turn you off and make you drop this story quicker than a hot potato. If you're not a fan of school settings, you're going to struggle reading this story. Because theres a lot of em. The pacing is extremely slow. Think xianxia where you beg for the story to end. Its comparable to me begging for the characters to grow up already; they probably never will. Nor am I sure if they're meant to. The litrpg system is almost non-existent and is more like background noise. As much as I like this story, I have to recommend it as a CAUTIOUS read. It is not meant for everyone, and when you finally catch up, realize you're going to be waiting another year before you get enough content worth driving back in.

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Unexpectedly gritty. A great Magical story!

At first I thought it might be pretty cliche, and I wouldn't have minded that too much to be honest, but really after about 8 chapters the grit and darkness shows itself and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I can't really say its more realistic (what with the magic, and the alchemy) but I definitely like the tone which the story is taking, and the magic system (from what I've seen at least.) seems well thought out and interesting to follow.

Style : 4/5 : I like the style mostly, and certainly I'd normlly give it a 5/5 if not for one of the more recent stylistic choices you made, where it was a sort of diverging time-line to follow 2 different characters as they experienced a certain event. 3 chapters of character A, and then 2 chapters of character B from the same starting point, and maybe its just me but I REALLLY don't like it when those splits happen. It might be because I feel like I'm reading it again when the time-line goes over stuff, and I end up skimming it and only really focusing when it reaches new again. I mean it was hard for me to get through, but overall the style of writing is great so its still a 4/5. And sorry if that seems unfair, but I just haaaaaate it when stories get split like that. Though I'll admit its not as bad as 'Displaced' lol. If I had to suggest something I might split the stories ABABAB rather than AAABBB, just so that there's less divergence for the reader to deal with.

Story : 4.5/5 : Seems like a great story so far, not much has happened as of yet,but there's still room to grow. I don't like too much a split in MCs though, so that lessen's it a little for me, since you did it in a chunk split AAABBB rather than a more even one. Again, if you want to see a train-wreck of a split look at Displaced. A bloody AAAAAAAAABBBBBBBBBB split and I can't even.... at least your's was short. And sorry for being so mean to 'Displaced' in this review, but its the other story which had this huge problem in it.

Grammar: 5/5 : Its good grammar, clearly you are literate and write well, not much more to say. 

Character: 5/5 : Hmmmmm, as it happens I'm writing this review right after a traumatic incident so I'm nigh certain I'll be seeing some character growth ASAP.  It just feels realistic. Flawed characters who make choices which aren't completely brain-dead. So far its great but only time will tell how well they hold up. The interactions are really nice, specifically the dynamic between people at the Guild place, like Linda and that other guy (I'm terrible at names) and I really liked how their character was revealed through the dialogue rather than described directly. When I started writing this paragraph it was a 4.5/5, but now its a solid 5 on the ccharacters now that I think about it, great work so far.


Overall: 5/5 : Its just really shaping up well. My only complaint so far would be the diverging timeline thingy, and while I get that you had to split it to show different perspectives, maybe try to incorporate a good break point so that it can switch back and forth faster, as suddenly having CHUNKs of different POV is really jarring to read.

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Good but insanely slow

Reviewed at: 8.10

This Story is as already stated in the title good overall in terms of worlbuilding, characters and grammar, however it is also insanely slow and aggravating, since a lot of the subplots are just insanely bloated and suffocate the main plot in boring forays, that take up the same subplot over and over without resolving anything. Most Storys resolve or dismiss personal problems the characters face too quickly, however this Story, does the complete opposite and drags those out literally forever. Over 3 THOUSAND Pages and the main character (Micah) still isn't anywhere close to a breakthrough in terms of character development and his friend hasn't even started to even try to deal with his shit. Furthermore the Dungeon has been neglected in favor of said Subplots that aren't going anywhere. 
All in all there is way too much unnecessary drama and no end in sight to it any time soon, especially since only more characters, with even more baggage that won't be resolved get introduced. 

tl;dr Too much unnecessary drama, no real character development, too much fluff, no conclusion to any subplot no matter how minor.
This Review is  as of 8.10 
Read it if you are a fan of boring drama and Romance that goes nowhere I guess.

  • Overall Score

Quite good but very slow paced

Here it is not just an OP mc and fast pace.The author takes his time for each part of the story and describes everything in detail.The characters while capable are have their flaws.The pov is mostly of a young boy Micah(MC) and a few of his friends occasionally.It is litRPG but a soft one with a lot of limitations.It is character driven and there is no greater overarching plot as of now.The slow pace can be somewhat frustrating as there can be entire chapters of 10k words describing a single day.But the writing is quite good and if you put in some effort,it can be very rewarding

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Possibly the best story on here

Been reading this story more or less since it started and it's update is the one I most look forward to every week. It's a slow story, exquisitely written, that focuses on its' characters. It's setting is interesting and well thought of, with a fascinating magic system, and the fact that that's not the hook is kind of jawdropping, because it's good enough that in any other top tier story on here it could be. But it's characters, and the way the author has allowed the reader to invest them, that sets the story apart from the rest. Would highly recommend this to anyone interested in really good fantasy writing and really hope to see it published one day.

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A great, slow paced, character focused story

Reviewed at: 8.10

One of the longer stories you can find on this story, i doubt it will be for everyone, since it is essentially a slow paced slice of life story about characters growing up in a Fantasy world.

The story starts with the young boy Micah, who lives in the city of Hadica thats built around one of the Five Towers. He gets the Alchemist class at a age younger than most, and is eventually forced to go in the Tower for new ingredients, so he can level up, but the Tower is a harsh dangerous place. Soon another character comes in focus, Ryan who got his Path early, but in his case his Path is a weird one, that nobody does truly understand, not even Ryan himself. He delves in the Tower, in the hopes of learning more about his unique path. But the times are changing, and so do the Towers.

The Characters are the strongest point of this story, and it seriously does excel there! I just do love all of them, they are all realistic, with a lot of time spent on building them up, making them feel real in their interactions with eachother, they actually do feel like teenagers in their behavior, their thoughts. There are simply so many of them, all well developed, the focus is on the two main characters, though the other characters also get their time.

This part alone is a reason to read this story, if i have to find a story that can compare in terms of characters, i would pick Wandering Inn (which has by far better characters.)

The world, oh my. While not fully unique, its a very well constructed one, that does feature a lot of original idea's in how its built. Theres for example, the litrpg aspect of the story, while at first it may not seem to be much, over the course of the story, its shown that it is a very deep one, with well thought out rules and mechanics. There are also limits to power one can have, even if they arent that well defined, they are still logical. One weird thing a reader may notice is, that it may be not clear at all, during which era this story is set, due to it using terms from multiple era's, this aspect may confuse people. The author has explained that the setting is a late 19th century technological level, i find that the author can sort of improve in that aspect. On another note, the backstory of the world is deep and mysterious. It is barely explained at all during the story, with there being snippets at once, that just bring up more questions.


Grammar well, this story has especially good grammar if you consider how long it is and how few errors there are in the length of this story, yet those grammar errors are still there even if rare, and mainly remain uncorrected, but let that not scare you, they do not hinder reading.

The author has chosen to go with a slow paced style for this story, and that is working really well with this story. Even if its slow paced like this, the story is seriously well written for a slow paced one. The exposition here is done in a natural way, as the story does progress more information about the world, the system and the characters is revealed. The author also writes detailed scenes, that a reader can personally imagine at times, without overdetailing it all. Through at times, i personally feel like it could be done better.

Quite some readers will not like a story like this, but those that would, i highly recommend you to come read this, it will be well worth your time!


  • Overall Score

Really spinning your tires here

Reviewed at: 8.06

I'll just get out of the way that I enjoy the story. Mostly. I skimmed a whole lot of it, because there is just so much fluff. It's been 3,000 pages, and Micah is still dealing with many of the same issues he had in the first few. There are so many plot points that have to be explored. Like, I'm at 7.06, and I just want to see some plot advancement. Micah has made no attempt at facing his inner turmoil. That would be a great start!

Edit June 9 2019 (chapter 7.08): I don't like it. Keeps bringing back minor characters I thought we saw the last of around page 100 or something way back in the beginning, that I literally do not care one iota about, back to page 3000-something where there was literal no character development at all for them and expects me to care about the relationship they have with the main characters, which is completely contrived/arbitrary. All for some weird drama. I did not get sucked into this serial for drama in the first place, so the fact that all-of-a-sudden the focus of the story did a complete 180 from adventure to this weird slice-of-life crap, with characters that I had forgotten about for some 2000 pages that pop up out of nowhere is making me lose interest really quickly.

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Slow (but well) paced character driven story

Updated as of chapter 4.15 and 2k pages in.

Not much of an expert on grammar. Though imo it's quite good with most errors being misspellings from time to time. 

Story wise, pretty much slice-of-life most of the time. In some of the earlier chapters (one of) the main driving factors of the story is introduced. Right around the 2k pages another major event happens, and not many really impactful events happen inbetween. But things are happening a lot faster now than in the beginning (in the story development) and there's still been a lot of worldbuilding (original-ish world, different unoriginal themes put together in an original way that fits, plus really original elements) and a lot of character-building. But it isn't a riveting action-packed story.

Which brings us to characters. Well the story is character-focused, and it does it really well. Characters are coherent in their actions (in the way humans are) and develop over time.

Style-wise, well it's character focused and uses multiple POV's (mostly the same 2, but there are other in the interludes). Action scenes (which've become more common and longer) differ a great deal in clarity. They're well written and engaging imo, and they're written from the POV of, well the POV, so not everything is clear all the time (and neither is it for the POV). This might not be for all but i like it (also might just be bad at keeping track of things).

Also it can get pretty grim/brutal but in a realistic sense and not the gory/depraved sense. And the magic system is pretty thought out and there is a skill-system/system-system for everyone, but it's not the typical sort and more of a non-invasive/meditative thing. It's hard to describe, easier to read about ;)

Earlier i wrote that if you really don't like the slice-of-ife you can skip the 2.xx chapters and skip to more action-focused stuff. This still holds true, but i re-read some stuff from earlier chapters as it stays relevant and i forget it, so i wouldn't recommend.


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Good Premise, but slightly flawed execution

Reviewed at: 8.08

The Salamanders tries to be a character-driven slice-of-life dungeon delving story, and while it suceeds on some of those points, it doesn't on others.

The story mainly follows two boys, both who recieved classes at a young age, and have gone on somewhat unique paths. It has an system with some interesting features such as Paths, a fairly standard tower dungeon to delve, and hints of more of a world beyond the city. 

The story started very strong, establishing the neccessary aspects to get the plot moving, but things started to slow down a lot in the third volume or so.

I get that it's slice-of-life, but it feels even slower because it feels like things just move in circles for ages until anything of significance happens. Part of it is that the author introduced a litrpg system and setting conducive to faster plot advancement and lots of action, then tried to write a really slow story in that setting. Another part of it is that the slice-of-life segments we see are often not that interesting.

The first two volumes were the best, when it was the two main characters pretty much developing solo/paired, but now a ton of space is taken up by cyclical character interactions and repeating plotlines.

I've criticized a lot of things, but the story has succeeded in establishing an interesting setting and done a pretty good job with characterization.

Currently, I usually leave the story until a volume finishes, then come back and read it all at once to help alleviate my pacing misgivings.

I'm a bit hesitant to recommend it, but it will probably be a decent binge when its done.

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Worth a read!Potentially one of the top on RRL

I like the story very much.There is nothing i have a problem with.The grammar is good-pretty much no mistakes.Very nice style of writing.The characters are believable and feel real.They do things for explained and understandable reasons and dont randomly turn reatarded to advance the plot(which is very important for me).The story is grabbing and can go many different ways.There is much to be explored and the ideas are interesting.The main characters also have very intriguing powers with a lot of possibilities.So if the author expands on his ideas about the world and takes the characters development in the right way this can become an epic story in a vast and interesting world.