I’ve been in a bit of a book coma ever since finishing Hate List, so I decided to continue reading some webtoons (manhwa) while recovering from the sheer amount of feelings that Hate List gave me. I started reading Tower of God a while back, paused for a few months, and then came back to it recently.
Well, if I wanted to recover from whatever I was feeling at the end of Hate List that put me into this book coma in the first place, Tower of God might not have been the best choice, because if anything, those feelings just got stronger. (Although, they are mixed with the sheer happiness and joy that reading this gives me, so I guess it’s a win…?)
Tower of God, when I first started reading it, reminded me of the beginning of HunterxHunter, what with the whole “make it through tests administered by highly ranked people in the organization the main character’s trying to join and make some true friends along the way.” Now, this isn’t a bad thing at all- that’s what got me to start reading it. But soon, it grew into something much more…intriguing.
It starts off with the main character, Baam, getting into the tower from an unknown place, searching for his one and only friend, Rachel, who had gone into the tower before him ‘to find the stars’. She tells him not to follow her, but he does anyway, because he has quite literally nothing without her. He gets past the first floor guardian and reaches the second floor, where he meets most of his new friends, and they all begin doing the tests to pass onto the upper floors to achieve their dreams.
Tower of God certainly has an interesting premise, but its execution was part of what really made it great. The plot, while slightly dragged out over 78 chapters in season 1, did not fail to retain my interest and make me binge read the entire season in just about a day. I just had to know if the characters were going to pass the test, how they were going to do it, and who, if anyone, was going to die or be left behind. Each cliffhanger made me completely ignore all the things I had to do and just read the next chapter.
The best part of the whole series, however, is definitely the characters. Within the first three chapters, I was incredibly attached to anyone who had entered the story so far, and with each new introduction, I became attached to the new character who came in. I don’t think fictional characters have affected me this much in anything else- normally, I don’t feel anything for them, but this was different.
The main character, Baam, was quite innocent and naive, but with good reason- before he met Rachel, he was completely alone in a cave for an unknown amount of years with nothing. However, he was also quite powerful, and learning to control that power. Sure, he was a bit of a special snowflake, but he was the lovable type instead of the obnoxious type.
Other characters were also quite interesting- each had their own special type of power, and everyone varied in power level. Each had their own distinct personality and felt very 3-dimensional. Like, every new chapter, I always looked forward to what plan Khun (or Koon, depending on which translation you read) was going to come up with. And Rak, the comedic relief who wasn’t simultaneously a complete idiot? He was my favorite.
As for Rachel, well, I’ve never hated a character more. Usually, I find it very difficult to hate even the worst villains simply because they have their own personalities, and Rachel most certainly is fully characterized and has a well rounded personality. However, she was characterized so well that even with her few appearances, knowing some of her motivations and her attitude towards Baam, I can’t help but hate her.
Overall, Tower of God is an absolutely fantastic series that even more people should read. It has its problems, but even so, it’s far better than a lot of the stuff I’ve read.