Alyssa Meadows, a worker at a local home improvement store, returns home one evening to her home invaded by burglars. A bad night gets worse when, after accidentally killing one, an angel appears before her and tells her she is destined to die. Alyssa takes exception to that and saves herself, only to find out that angels don’t like destiny being messed with. She finds herself shunted off to an alternate world filled with magic and monsters to preserve Earth’s future.
Story is complete, though you may find a handful of extras at https://tcthrone.wordpress.com/.
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How am I going to tell this?
Okay, right from the start. The story is, in a technically sense, extremely well written. There are no errors and the style of writing is entertaining, if in some places a bit bland. The world building is well done and a lot of interesting ideas are thrown in the mix.
Now the bad part: I genuinely dislike the protagonist. It is very similar to the reason I dropped your other story halfway through. I read hundreds of pages in both stories and over the time my exhaustion with the protagonists will force me to drop the story. My critic: I don't see them growing. Neither in character nor in strength.
First about the growth in character: Like other reviews already mentioned, having a problem with killing in self defense is a couple of times believable. But not again and again and again. That's simply unrealistic and hinders the story. Even after killing half a dozen times and being in fights over life and death she misses with a shotgun over a distance of a room, because she is so nervous.
The other part I dislike is her unbelievable low drive to get stronger. In part 12 or 13 the mimic admires her strife to better herself and it could not be father from the truth. There is a real possibility that she could get drawn in a life and death struggle, one of her main goals is learning magic, she got a whole week of time (it was explicitly said she had at least half of every day) and she is utterly incapable of drawing even one tier 0 spell in that time. Or after being admitted in the library simply going there and starting to Lear seems just to much of a hassle. The protagonist apparently loves being ignorant about her main weapon and has to run and cry about everything to the princess. Seriously, if you made the princess the protagonist I would love this story. And this utter lack of will to improve brings me to my next point.
The lack of growth in strength:
I know that I am a bit spoiled by all the litrpg I'm reading but still. She does apparently not want to improve herself and it shows. She is capable of casting spells of the highest tier, but scribbling them down is to much of a hassle, or going in the library to look them up. It is just straight away stupid. How I would do it, if I was the protagonist: Go in the library, take a photograph with the smartphone of every high tier spell, make the two week journey back to your house and use your printer to make a couple hundred copies of every spell. The journey back and forth would take a month, but you would never again have problems if some random dude with a knife walks up to you (and yes she got a problem with that, even if she should be one of the greatest arcanist). It is simply unbelievable, why she takes such stupid risks with the options she has. And from the other story I know, that it will not be getting better. I hoped the Vacant Throne would do better in that regard, than the previous story, but I simply see the exactly same problems that plagued the old work. I think it's a shame, because I seriously believe that he is a good author, but as of chapter 13.5 I'm going to drop the book. Maybe the next will be better.
I'll try and keep this short and sweet, but I'm neither so it probably won't go well. Spoiler tags for ease of digestion, not actual spoilers.
First of all, the Pros:
The world, as mentioned by other reviewers, is an interesting take on both the isekai genre as well as high fantasy in general. Things don't take the typical turns on this front, as made most obvious by the presence of elven engineers and the absence of dwarves entirely (at least as of the Taker arc).
This world has a lot of things that you don't typically see in, not just isekai but western fantasy in general. Add in the very unique take on religion and you're ultimately presented with a, if not fascinating, then at least refreshing world.
From what I could tell after reading up to the Taker arc, the plot is ultimately about getting home. Unfortunately, because certain reasons, even if Alyssa, our protagonist, actually managed to get home, she'd almost certainly be permanently killed. So it boils down to a series of "but firsts", which, given the content, actually has a lot of potential.
Now on to the Cons:
Alyssa, for the first bundle of chapters, is a pretty good character. She reacts decently to what she's presented with and, while she's willing to hurt others to secure her own safety (sort of the entire inciting incident), she's far from some sort of sociopathic mass murder that a lot of other protagonists ultimately become.
She had that restraint going for her... Right up until it stopped being reasonable and started being outright detrimental to the story.
It was at the moment when she'd killed more people than most infantry soldiers, not even inculding the goblins, but still couldn't hit something with a friggin shotgun at point-blank range due to nerves that I started to check out.
The first "woe is me" moment is fine. The second shows that she's properly human. The third is the beginnings of tedium. The tenth is flat out aggravating.
Other characters see some action by the end of the Taker arc, but most of them are set dressing. They have personality, but they don't actually contribute much.
The arcs in this story move very slowly and yet have no regard for time, in some cases unreasonably so. In one instance the author would have us believe that something like 5 arcs all happen in the same day, or at most two days. It's flat out unreasonable.
Then there's the content. Though most of them are reasonable enough, the Taker arc is by far the most frustrating for me. Without spoiling anything, just know that there's a point where it feels like I'm watching the Goku/Frieza fight all over again. Except instead of Badass Goku, we have incompetent Alyssa that can't hit the broadside of a barn with a friggin shotgun.
Let's not forget the old "You can't see me/Yes I can, because plot armor" gambit the villain pulls on Alyssa.
She literally bends light around her using fractal magic, yet he can see her because reasons? It's just one of several flimsy justifications for dramatic moments in a fight that our protagonist by all rights should have won.
That whole fight was my "Nope, no more" moment.
Like I said, I'm neither short nor sweet. If I had to boil down my review to its most fundamental concepts, it'd be:
+ Unique worldbuilding
+ Interesting twist on isekai and getting home trope
- Mildly annoying protag that becomes plain aggravating
- Arc structure that plays with time too much or not enough
Where even do you begin when you're talking about a work this impressive? The story was incredible, hooking you in the start and constantly keeping you enthralled. The characters are all very human and well written, even the ones that aren't actually human. The world it takes place in is fully flushed out with enough detail to almost believe it real.
First off, despite some shortcomings I really enjoyed this story, I personally found the MC much easier to like than the one in Void Domain.
From a technical perspective this story is very well written, there are very few, if any errors, that break you immersion.
The story is well thought through, though there are some parts I personally found boring, and was disappointed there wasn't a longer act for rising action towards the end.
My biggest criticism of this story is the forced morality and hypocrisy of the MC, as well as a general lack of drive throughout the story. To be clear unlike some people I actually did like the MC, but her repeatedly being bogged down in moral quandaries is frustrating at times.
Needs to be at least 200 words, which is stupid because a review doesn't need to be extra long to fully encapsulate my thoughts on the story, especially when I don't want to give spoilers, it's basically how term papers require a minimum amount of words or pages, which just encourages pointless bloat. I don't know how I haven’t hit 200 words yet, but if I don't get there soon I'll just start writing Flanders sucks until I hit it.
Compared to every other fantasy setting/ thrust into a fantasy world from Earth, this novel pulls an entirely different spin to the story and adventure. Personally, I really enjoy this because I have read hundreds of isekai stories and they all seem like rip-offs of each other with small tweaks to the trope.
I don't know if this is by design, but the story doesn't impress massive suspension, thriller, horror, or dread for the safety of the characters. It feels like a much more mellow story with the main characters always having a degree of a safety net and the threats to their livelihood never being too great. Personally, I don't see this as a bad thing because if you want to read a massive drama lama of a story, where the main character can never catch a break and the world is literally on the brink of destruction every 5 seconds, go read 'Worm' or something. This is a much more relaxing read that won't keep you up at night if you try reading it before bed or something, imo.
I really like the set up for all the characters and enjoy that every character has their own personality. A lot of authors fail at this with their characters having either no personality or a lot of them having copypasta traits of each other. My only gripe is that there isn't much character development once the character's foundations are established.
This Review is written after having read the 52 chapters available on the Authors Site.
This Review was edited as of Chapter 37.009
Tower Curator (Commitment):
This section is somewhat off topic with regards to the scorring required in a review, but is in my opinion relevent to the Royal Road Experiance. The author, TowerCurator, is an establish serialist with a very lengthy, fully rounded series already published. I personally kept pace with Void Domain while it was ongoing, and TowerCurator was able to consistantly produce a high standard of writing, both in the gramatical and technical sense. Again, while the current update schedule on Royal Road appears initially rocky, the author has previously shown commitment to their work, and continues to do so with Vacant Throne. Take this as you will, but I have found many excellent serials dropped unexpectedly, or updating so sporadically that they might as well be dropped, and I do not forsee TowerCurator and Vacant Throne going down this path.
I'm going to keep this somewhat concise; TowerCurator does have a consistent first person point of view narrative with various key characters having their own chapters. These chapters appear to occur when an event of importance occurs out of view or access to the protagonist Alyssa Meadows, and help to flesh out some of the (as of now) supporting cast. The prose is written with little to no errors in style, with consistant tense, conventions, and literary technique being used to show rather than tell the story of Vacant Throne. I personally have found the use of style, and the consistancy of style above the standard of Royal Road, with no real faults to mention.
As I mentioned in the title Vacant Throne so far appears to be a unique take on the 'Transported to a new world' trope so often found on Royal Road. The story so far is centered around Alyssa Meadows, as the reader takes a backseat and watches as she explores the world and its unique circumstance. There are various teasings, certainly initially that the serial might blow up in scale, something TowerCurator has successfully done in the past, and so far the serial has maintined its initial momentum and is picking up speed in a way that doesn't feel contrived. I would not go so far as to say that the serial is epic in scale, and that it can't be put down, but so far Vacant Throne has consistantly kept my attention through its multiple arcs.
The story takes on a slice of life feel, although there certainly is action, mystery, and suspense, it is the story of Alyssa Meadows and her life in the world. The means that it flows organically and 'realistically', but that there are inevitable periods of downtime.
There is not much to say on the side of grammer for Vacant Throne, and the abscence is a point in its favor. The serial has consistant use of and respect for the various grammatical standards and rules, and at no point have I had immersion broken because of it. This is a serial which flows smoothly, making use of a variety of sentance structures and techniques. I have no more to say, the grammer is, at least from the layman's perspective, on the level of many published novels.
In some ways Vacant Throne has a jarring mix of well rounded and flat characters. Likely due to the 'showtime' that some characters have such as Tenebrael and Irulon, there are some characters which currently feel one dimensional, given that we have only seen one side of them. Alyssa on the other hand feels almost hyper-realistic, having raw reactions that reveal who she is and what the pillars of her personality are. I don't want to analyse every character, but suffice to say that there is a varied cast with room for character growth, and I look forward to the way TowerCurator will achieve this.
At the time of writing I feel that the serial hasn't even touched the surface of what TowerCurator has planned. Alot of this confidence comes from the prior serial I mentioned, and because of the way TowerCurator has in the past taken the time to create fully formed characters and fleshed out worlds over the course of many chapters.
I personally wish to commend the story for being well written. A lot of other novels on the site averages 3-4 mistakes even months after they are pointed out to the author. This was well written up until where I quit.
The main character is pretty relatable with a bit more courage than I would expect most to have. Likely there will be some big reveal after where I quit explaining why she is so extraordinary.
The things I disliked and that made me quit is the actual premise though. There is a plan for the world and due to an "angel" messing up it breaks. The continuation of the plot line from this point is not something I enjoy.
She then proceeds to try to fix it using the most convoluted logic I have ever seen. This is the first place it breaks down for me. Why does this make sense?
Then it moves on to a specific world where the angel has made herself a god and is trying to reshape the world in her image. This entire plotline did not connect with me either.
The setting we explore more and more of breaks my immersion as well. Thus after 200+ pages I decided it is not a story I enjoy reading. I force myself to continue when I could be reading something else.
All in all it is well written and mostly connects its story line well. It just isn't interesting to me.
Vacant Throne is a solid portal fantasy that handles the 'transported to another world' aspect a bit differently than usual, leading to a very interesting premise that has been very well used so far.
The writing style is easy to follow and decently sized chapters are released regularly. The grammar is good. The story somewhat alternates between action and slice-of-life in a way that is well executed. One of the story's biggest strengths is its main character who approaches problems maturely and pragmatically. Finally, the scope of the story has been rapidly expanding over the last few arcs in a very exciting way.
I would strongly recommend this story, as it definitely deserves some more attention.
(as of Chpt 22.05)
The story starts with a young woman, Alyssa, who is about to be murdered. Except she happens to see the angel who's come to collect her soul, and is able to avoid her fate. Since she's supposed to be dead on Earth and would interfere with the fate if she was alive and walking around interacting with people, she gets dumped on a different planet, Nod. Like many Isekais, it's a world of magic and monsters in a medieval setting, and Alyssa decides that if she's going to live here she'll need to adapt, learn magic, and get a job. She has to start from scratch and survive in a dangerous world (though she does have a gun where other people fire arrows) while her power grows.
The world is pretty well described. There's history there, though often it's more alluded to than explained. Alyssa does travel around a bit, and we get to see more of Nod a she does, and it feels lived in, with politics, factions, religion and class differences.
The writing is well-done. The style is pretty straightforward, and (to my recollection) there were no spelling/grammar mistakes.
The characters are well-written. The story focuses almost exclusively on Alyssa, but we see the story develop through some of her companions in some interlude chapters. Side characters don't get that many lines, which I felt was a shame since there were some really interesting ones, and would have helped flesh out the story a bit more instead of it centering just around the main character.
I did have a bit of a problem with pacing. Sometimes I felt the story went on longer than it should have, especially the parts that involved travelling. Though even those parts were enjoyable, to a degree. There were also times when I felt like Alyssa's character development was a bit too slow, or even took a step back, mainly in the way she looed down on some other characters for something that wasn't their fault, or even was spiteful to someone who was helping her.
Overall, I very much enjoyed the story. That Alyssa has to work and earn her power made the payoff that much better than if she had simply stumbled into it. I like how genuine the character were, even the more outlandish ones. I'd recommend the story mainly to people who like stories that focus on figuring out and developing magic, since that's a huge part of it.
When writing this review I've read through 40.004 (arc 40 chapter 4, is how I think of it). I'll try to keep it brief.
Will You Like It?
Whether you'll like it depends on how much you care about the main draws: a fairly light tone, an interesting magic system, and an interesting world.
The story starts really slow. I was predisposed to like this and it was still something of a chore to push into the fourth arc where I finally started to like it. I'm glad I pushed through, but it took me a couple of tries because the interesting parts of this story are introduced so very slowly.
The magic system and world are interesting. I'd call it "unique" but nothing really is, so I'll settle for "different". I'd expand on this but I feel like that'd be spoilers.
Depends On Taste
The tone of the story is overall fairly light (and is far from grim-dark). There's still plenty of action and fighting-based plot development, it's just not super depressing in tone. I consider this a major draw of the story, but not everyone likes a light tone.
Characters and Characterization
The characterization is competent and the characters are likeable (but not super quirky or amazingly unique; I'd call them realistically different). The characterization is almost great (it's better than a mere "good" but "great" feels a little bit too strong), which on this site is like a 4.3+ even though it currently has less than a 4.
Basic Writing (e.g., Grammar)
This story does basic writing plenty well: the grammar is fine, the point of view is consistent, mispellings are rare, etc. But those things aren't why people read a story, so that's all I'll say about that.
There's a major lack of well-written stories with a light tone and this one is a very good story (that lacks little in any aspect). Also the magic system and world are interesting and different which is rare enough that this is a breath of fresh air. On RoyalRoad the ratings equivalent is a 4+ all around (RoyalRoad ratings are weird IMO, but when in Rome...).
Feel free to message me if you want to comment or ask a question.