Solo Leveling (Volume 1) – The Weakest Hunter of All Mankind

Solo Leveling Volume 1 Cover

Hunters, chosen from humanity at random, appeared not long after the gates. Jinwoo is widely regarded as the weakest Hunter, but he continues to enter the dungeons to pay for his mother’s healthcare and his sister’s education!

Solo Leveling (Volume 1) – The Weakest Hunter of All Mankind

What happened?

All the money he makes in the dungeons goes to taking care of his family which means Jinwoo can’t afford to buy equipment or weapons. He’s such a low level that the weapons would break every time anyhow. So, he goes in barehanded and does what he can to survive and come back with an Essence Stone which he can sell for money. Everyone is pleased to see Jinwoo as it means the dungeon will be easy… well, for everyone but Jinwoo.

The gates started to appear ten years ago and with them people began to awaken as hunters, developing powers beyond normal humans. If the gates are not closed within seven days, the monsters within can enter our world. The hunters are sent in to make sure that doesn’t happen. For some, it’s become a lucrative career, but for Jinwoo it’s a matter of survival.

After clearing their latest dungeon, they spot another gate. A gate within a gate and decide to investigate. That way, they will split the loot between them and not include other hunters. However, this new dungeon is unlike anything they’ve encountered before. Giant stone guardians watch over the dungeon, killing anyone that doesn’t follow the rules with a single blow. Surprisingly, Jinwoo is the one that spots the rules and tries to keep everyone alive. But, that’s easier said than done. Will anyone get out of this one alive?

Solo Leveling Volume 1 The giant statue changes

What did you think?

When I finish a book, I jump over to MAL to update my records and while I’m there, I occasionally scan the reviews. I was a little surprised to see all the negativity for this series, especially as I loved this book. This was an incredible opening to the series. We were introduced to Jinwoo and the world without feeling like it was all rammed down our throats. We saw everything go horribly wrong and how Jinwoo was able to respond to it. It all made sense given all the crap he’s been through. He’s had to fight to survive, whereas the others are just fighting for money.

I loved the idea of the dungeons connecting to our world and regular-looking folks meeting up to take them on in regular clothes. There was something weirdly wonderful about the whole thing, especially as it took me a moment to work out exactly what was going on. I thought that Jinwoo was going to die and be transported to a new world, I was not expecting the world to come to him. I can only assume all the criticism of Solo Leveling comes from the snobbish views that only Japan can produce manga, similar to the arguments about dubbing and subtitles. Then, when you throw in the idea that it’s cool to bash power fantasies or isekai this series must be an easy target for those who think they’re above enjoying stories.

Solo Leveling Volume 1 Jinwoo Sung is killed

Volume highlights

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What did you think?