August 18, 2018. Earth is at peace.
Then the sun explodes, and the world changes forever.
Sen Salazar, a third year in Dubai's renowned Belmont University, is thrust into a world where only monsters are found aplenty. Resources are dwindling, survivors are scarce, and safety is nowhere to be found. And when it's combined with an otherworldly system designed to bring out humanity's hidden potential? Sen's watched enough movies to know what to do:
...He just has to figure out how to stop himself from turning into one of the monsters, first.
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Saltworld is a page-turner. You will breeze through chapters on the edge of your seat with an overdose of relentless action and litrpg growth every chapter. I find myself liking both main characters despite the constant fight-for-your-life leaving little room for character development. The writing is good, it won't pull you out of the story with mistakes. The author writes good action scenes that are engaging and fairly easy to follow. The dialogue feels like natural joking between friends. At the end of the day it's fun and I will keep following it. It does seem like the author has been incorporating feedback on some of the pain points as of the last few chapters (20-23).
Here are some nitpicks, none of which have bothered me enough to make me consider dropping it or removing more than 1 star. I tend to get more wordy with my critique, but keep in mind this is still a 4 star review:
1) the constant witty comic/action movie banter is too much, as noted by some other reviews. It seems to be a strength of the author and I understand why they use it (it's not -bad- banter, it just feels incredibly out of place most times). I get the gallows humor/coping mechanism angle, but these aren't hardened soldiers or experienced survivors, they're kids having the absolute worst day of their life and basically being tortured and almost dying every 3 minutes while surrounded by the corpses of everyone they knew. They shouldn't be quipping every other paragraph. This does seem like it's being toned down some in later chapters.
2) The 'scenario' feels incredibly unfair and unwinnable. It doesn't feel like anyone would actually survive this, even if they were competent, brave, prepared, and did everything right. It's just a random kid being thrown into a UFC ring with Halfthor Bjornson on elephant steroids. The sun instantly almost kills you unless you get out of the sun and get water. Using your weak powers too much against the incredible odds you're against also kills you. There are swarms of super strong, super fast zombie vampires with big fangs and claws. And the system at first makes people ever so slightly stronger until they rack up a ton of kills to start building their super abilities. And it throws god bosses at people who have barely unlocked any upgrades. Imagine Resident Evil but Jill has no training, no weapons, and they broke her kneecaps for fun at the start. How are they ever supposed to get that without...
3) Plot armor. The author likes to write about hordes of big, scary monsters and intimidatingly strong bosses. But when they get to MC, because he's just a slightly stronger than average soccer player, they basically turn into angry kindergarteners with pool noodles for hands. He gets through something like ten chapters of running from and fighting vampire hordes and I think he only gets a small scratch while taking down a ton of monsters with bare hands and improvised weapons. As of later chapters, he's started to build up his skills and make smart, synergized build decisions, so it feels a little more earned, but the early chapters suffer BAD from plot armor because the author wants to have big scary stakes but also have his average joe character not, you know, die like he should have in the first 2 minutes.
4) Damsel in distress. FMC is basically the only other developed character, and she's fun, but keeps threatening to dip into damsel in distress/sidekick territory. The first 20~ chapters she has maybe 2 or 3 useful scenes and the rest of the time is just following MC, taking his hand-me-downs, being rescued, and occupying space. That being said she has unlocked some skills recently and coming more into her own in their fights, so I hope the author continues making an effort to make her a strong main character.
5) System. At times it feels like, here are ten options, one is obviously right and nine are stupid. So why have 10? Everyone pumps Body at the beginning because they're running from super strong, super fast enemies that will instakill them. If you don't have pumped Body you just die due to the obscene odds and the other options not giving you enough to survive. MC ignores flow/mana at the start but always has just enough to spam his skills as much as he wants and finish the fight. There's only the illusion of choice.
The skill/ability system itself is only ok for now, it's very luck of the draw and doesn't seem like it gives the characters much of a chance to make smart decisions (they just choose the clearly optimal pick of whatever random drop they happen to get). The abilities are fun but also kind of run-of-the-mill (get stronger, get an armor, see in the dark).
MC's main ability feels too strong and flexible, like it will always be just as strong as the plot needs it to be. There is no real built-in weakness or counter other than the author saying nope, this enemy is too strong for it to work. 'Oh he could just turn the boss into goop? well the next boss will be tier 2.78 instead of tier 2.64 so he can't actually do that.'
6) Minor nitpick but there isn't much of any endgame or overall plot yet besides try not to die/find your family. I would have liked to have seen some hints of something bigger for the story than just 'the characters are thrown into an incredibly shit supernatural situation, lets watch a bunch of action scenes and see how they survive'. I think you can only last so long just pumping the action scene drug into reader's veins.
Again, this is a 4 star review even if I mostly critiqued...
Saltworld: An Apocalypse LitRPG is another tasty masterpiece by Dissonance, the talented indie author of fantastic Lost In Translation!
This time, our artist, singer and goodly word-weaver Dissonance takes on the theme of System Apocalypse, in which the sun decides to hug the earth with Withering, boiling humans out of their skin. It's not a pleasant experience for the thirsty masses, but at least they get to enjoy floating text in their eyes that tells them exactly how thirsty they are, so they have that going for them, which is nice.
Also, the sun will explode soon.
Also, they are blessed with vampire zombies. Setting them on fire does nothing.
The MC: Is a regular normie, named Sen. He liked to water his flowers until the apocalypse killed them. He is a third year student in Mechanical Engineering and also plays Football.
2nd MC: Is Em. She doesn't like the long version of her name. Do you want more? Read the book and stop reading this review.
Maybe they fall in love or die horribly. You'll never know!
The style: is as smooth as always, without any spelling fails, as is tradition, whenever Dissonance reaches for the keyboard. I enjoy the use of awesome words like "acquiesced". I'm stealing this one for my own book and you can't stop me.
An excellent start, totally recommend!
I see great promise in this novel, since it starts already on a different premise than most apocalypses.
Sure there is of course the typical spawning of monsters, but the leveling system is something else. The absorption of emitted esscene also brings interesting power progression, since you have to gradually seek multiple and more powerful monsters if you want to level up. The level up options seem with three choices relatively spare, but I think Dissonance is going to spicken things up. While we are very early in the novel, there has been only one type of monster, but I think we are going to see more variation in the future.
The MC has also already taken an interesting path, picking ’Body‘ and ’Bone Armor‘, making me hope he is going to be some type of Juggernaut Warrior.
The novel is fine, it delivers what your typical royal road user consumes. The only issue I personally have with it is the incessant banter. It feels like I'm reading a marvel movie where the characters are always making cringy jokes and generic "witty" comments. Who knows, that may change as I read further, but at the moment it's grating and I find myself unable to read this for more than one chapter at a time. In summary, this is not for me, but may be for you, so check it out.
This story is an excellent twist to the LitRPG apocalypse genre and has been nothing but a delight to read so far. Overall, I rate this five stars since it fulfils what I want in a LitRPG novel: interesting powers, cool and unique system/menu, realistic and flawed characters, and an enjoyable time. But while I find entertainment in the story, there are things that do not match up to one another.
Style: While the story is interesting and is released very rapidly, the prose (and grammar, which I will get into in the grammar section), suffers a bit. This is very much a horror story in that the monsters are terrifying, and the general feeling it draws out is definitely along the lines of... uneasy? Uncomfortable? It's hard to say at ch 18, but this definitely isn't looking to be a happy, 'yay, I'm free of my terrible life!', kind of story. No complaints about that. I find that change quite nice since it makes the power ups even more satisyfing and the battles even more intense since bleeding out from a cut VS. being eaten by an eldritch horror is very different to read about.
Story: Everything has been cohesive so far. Good plot. Good story beats and development. And a great apocalypse scenario. Every day is just a battle for survival. A true apocalypse, if you will.
Grammar: While the author produces a lot of content, the quality suffers to an expected degree. I often find myself pulled out of the scene by bad grammar, weird sentence structure, and so on. A lot of sentence fragments, meaning it will be just one word. Like, it will just say "Stood."
Why can't you write it out? "Sen pushed up off the ground and stood up." I know it's a stylistic choice to emphasise the tension of the scene, but having multiple in one paragraph really pulls you out of the scene.
Character: Nothing to say really. The banter between them is a bit awkward and stilted at times, maybe because of the style/prose of the author. They have flaws, and feelings, and unique ways of talking, so I'm happy. My only complaint is who the author chose to kill off. Man, I really liked that character. You did them dirty, author. You did them dirty.
To end it off, this is just constructive criticism. I mean no harm since I do enjoy this series, as you can see by the five stars despite my four star advanced ratings. If these little issues can be improved, it will make the greatest improvements to your writing, Dissonance. It's an excellent and engaging start that has really drawn people in, now you just need to maintain this quality to keep us here.
Binged the available chapters, super fun read. Looking forward to the next arc! Well written with few grammatical errors. Dubai is a new setting for a system apocalypse, and the system for advancement is unique. I don't usually review stories but I felt that this one deserved a five star.
it is just great, honestly.
good characters, good story, interesting system, and good writing come together to create something great, as in, good enough to be published professionally.
his descriptions and ability to build tension are noteworthy and beyond everything else is his idea, I mean, a scorched, dry earth prowled by monsters of the night
This is one you’ll want to get into right from the start
the intro introduces folks who speak right to the heart
but when things get exciting at the end of chapter one
it’s clear that the slice of life has passed and hell’s begun
You’re pulled into a world with Sen, a normal, friendly guy
he’s a good main character and here’s the reason why
he reacts to situations like real humans would
cautious but intent to survive, his instincts are good
The style is quite elaborate, but it doesn’t drag on
the author makes sure very clear and precise scenes are drawn
I think it needs blue boxes, but it’s not a big deal
how the stats are presented has a casual feel
There’s pop culture references, and some humour is great
there may be less vomit than you would anticipate
the action is well done and has a creepy, eerie feel
but things get light as characters come to terms with their deal
The story is a solid survival apocalypse
with a focus on systems and new relationships
nothing out of the ordinary so far with it
I’ll update the review if things get spiced up a bit
The grammar seems to be just fine, it feels well edited
most people should find it easy to read like I did
there’s a sort of artsy feeling which gives it some class
the internal monologue has also got some sass
The characters are great so far, they’re written like they’re real
some feel inspired by real people, which has an appeal
it’s a diverse cast, to the dialogue’s benefit
the world is changing fast and the lead’s keeping up with it
Overall, it’s fun and if you like the tags, dive in
I suspect a pretty unique tale may soon begin
it’s just getting started but it isn’t too cliche
it stays quite refreshing, in a grotesque kind of way
Given it has apocalypse in the title, I had to go check this out. Glad I did so!
As of chapter 6, the story has fun characters that I'm rooting survive, the enemies faced are utterly horrifying and the fights are tense and excellent to read.
In this story, the sun basically belly flopped into the world before calling it a day and ditching the earth. Now everything's dark and if it's not dark it's because there's a building on fire nearby.
We follow a football player named Sen who's among the lucky (or unlucky) few that happened to be both shielded from the sun's temper tantrum, and also nearby a source of water to rehydrate. Now even if someone does manage to make it through that two-punch whammy requirement, they'll also have to deal with monsters that appeared and are hunting around in the new pitch black A-la-stranger things. The kind with very sharp teeth that can scale buildings. Can't possibly get worse right?
The monsters spawn from the dead bodies of people who didn't get lucky at the start and died as dried up corpses. And there are a lot of those. It's monster city and they're quite hungry given the lack of food sources.
I'm curious to see how the rest of the world has fared. If there are any armed responses or how people are surviving this bad set of cards. Not a great place to be in, either dead and turned monster or barely living and immidiatly getting mobbed by said monsters.
Life's tough in this world. Not great odds for anyone really, but that's the reason we're not following their story ;]
Looking forward to where this goes!
As the title states this book just isnt what it says it is. There is quite literally no horror in this book. They are constantly cracking the same three jokes over and over while flirting as people are dying around them. Others are trying to say " that's how some people cope". Sure, in instances of real life when it is just maybe a single death or so. Not mass extinction of your entire species. You need to put realistic tags for your book. No horror and add the comedy tag.