Novel Review: Death Progress Bar

Death progress bar official art

Last Updated on May 23, 2020 by Lizonka

Chinese Title死亡进度条
AuthorCan’t Play Chess (不会下棋)
Genre: Action, Drama, Romance, Mystery, Shounen Ai, Slice of Life, Yaoi
Chapters Read at the Time of this Review65 / 167
My Rating4 / 5

Summary

After his death, Shi Jin transmigrates into a book as a different person who has the same name as him. The System, Xiao Si, tells him that he has a progress bar in his mind that will rise whenever his life is in danger. But aside from his progress bar, he also sees the progress bar of one other person. This person is Lian Jun, the leader of an underworld organization called Annihilation.

Xiao Si says that Shi Jin must not let his and Lian Jun’s progress bar reach the maximum, but avoiding danger is difficult when Shi Jin’s own brothers are out for his life. And somehow, he even ends up joining Annihilation as Lian Jun’s subordinate…

Review

Death Progress Bar is probably the most well-balanced danmei novel I’ve ever read. The pacing is neither too slow nor too fast. The plot seems simple but turns out to be more complex as you read on. There’s also the right amount of tension and action to keep you at the edge of your seats. 

When I first started reading DPB, I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be like most transmigration novels where it’s merely about the MC having the advantage of being at an age that is older than the body he is occupying, making him seem like a genius and whatnot. Then he’d go on beating bad guys, face-slapping the enemies of the body’s original owner, and then end up at the top of the world.

But there is more to it than that. In DPB, Shi Jin finds himself more involved in the life of the original owner than he expected. I haven’t finished the novel, but I sense a conspiracy regarding Shi Jin’s birth and identity. The existence of the System is also very suspicious; Xiao Si seems to have other reasons for bringing Shi Jin into the other world, aside from wanting to save Lian Jun’s life. (Why do they even call Lian Jun “darling”? Just what is this system and what is their real relationship with Shi Jin and Lian Jun?)

And the more I read, the more it feels like I’m not reading a transmigration novel. The world of the book seems too real. Moreover, Shi Jin eventually loses his advantage on knowing the book’s plot as the story progresses. And unlike other transmigration stories, the MC doesn’t “suddenly” find a hidden plot point that the “author” has concealed, without any proper explanation as to why it was concealed. Everything just reads like a regular story, if it weren’t for our dear Xiao Si constantly screaming in Shi Jin’s head.

Regarding romance, DPB has adequate doses of it too. The build-up may be slow, but it’s steady.

I just love reading about how the feared and respectable underworld boss is actually a big dork who’d go giddy over indirect hand-touching. Shi Jin, on the other hand, is an adorable but oblivious guy who unknowingly drives Lian Jun crazy.

And when they finally get together, they. Are. So. Damn fluffy!!! Their love is so wholesome, and everything they do is consensual. Unlike other ML’s, Lian Jun isn’t overbearing and doesn’t try to restrict Shi Jin. Shi Jin also won’t settle being some pampered lover; he continues to improve himself so he can stand by Lian Jun’s side.

I strongly recommend this novel. It’s one of the few novels that I could recommend without having to warn potential readers of some triggering content, as danmei is wont to be. Give it a try; you definitely won’t regret it.


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