Worth the Candle
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- Traumatising content
A teenager struggling after the death of his best friend finds himself in a fantasy world - one which seems to be an amalgamation of every Dungeons and Dragons campaign they ever played together. Now he's stuck trying to find the answers to why he's there and what this world is trying to say. The most terrifying answer might be that this world is an expression of the person he was back on Earth.
Note that this work follows a slightly different update schedule than most, posting several chapters at once every month or two in big batches, which helps me maintain quality and not burn out trying to push out words about as fast as I can.
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This review is a waste of time. The story is near-perfect. The author is Top 5 material. This is the best pure LitRPG story I've ever read. It takes crunchiness to an ultimate level. Honestly, I doubt I will ever read another story that betters this one in terms of defining what LitRPG means.
HOW THE ABSOLUTE FUCK HAVE I NOT HEARD OF THIS STORY?!
In terms of its place in history it should rest securely at just behind Mother of Learning. Yes, I know, horned bunnies. Dakota has his place. But Dakota's place is in the LitRPG as fun fantasy domain.
This story is a meta take on the story told by a Dungeon Master and narrative structure. The only downside here is, um, the occasional wall of text. The author does tend to wax on, and I'll admit to skimming here and there was began to get the gist of their thinking. Story is character and action , and the lengthy philosophical discussions were at times too much. But overall, damn, this story is quite simple a seminal work of the subgenre and demands recognition.
Oh, and at a rough count, I've caught less than a handful of errors. A similar number of times I've reached for a dictionary. Not literally. This is the 21st century. But the bastard definitely has access to a thesaurus.
Also, character is generally a strong point BUT not within dialogue. Almost universally the characters sound the same: wordy and long-winded. Nevertheless, the characters have their own agency and one or two have something of their own voice.
All in all, I'm already looking forward to a reread in the future.
I've been following this for a while. It's nice to see it on another platform where it can get more exposure.
This is a pretty neat story. If you are a fan of DnD and other such dice-rolling adventure games that require a game master, you will probably really enjoy this.
I think by far what keeps me reading this story is the characters. These are some of the most authentically crafted characters I have read in a fantasy story. This genre usually is more known for plot and worldbuilding than it is for nuanced characters. Not so with this story! I would argue that the characters are the real shining stars of this story.
The world building is good, don't misunderstand me. It can become a bit cluttered at times due to how complex the world is set up to be, but that is ok because it is merely the stage and props with which the characters bring the story to life.
Continuity is good. Logical coherence is also good, and of critical importance considering the premise of the story, so kudos to the author on that.
This story has authentically portrayed romance with a twist that I will not spoil for you.
There is abundant action and adventure into new and interesting lands. There are a seemingly limitless number of species. So if you only want the classic human, elf, dwarf trio with maybe an allowance for a few others, this is not for you. All the races in this story are original to the author except for humans. So I hope that interests you. There are creatures inspired by those in other fictions, but none copied directly that I have found so far.
Also, I know some really hate stories with a "person pulling strings behind the curtain" character that guides the journey of the MC, and this story does have that, BUT it does it in a way that I personally think adds to the story and is very directly and consistently addressed by the main characters such that it is a valuable plot point as well as a character development tool.
I don't want to give too much away. It's a good story. I say give it a shot.
It does deal with some heavy and unsavory topics like canibalism, suicide, etc. So be ready for a not so light-hearted read. I personally do not reccomend for those under the age of 10.
You can find this story on https://archiveofourown.org/works/11478249/chapters/25740126
This fiction is underrated, it has worldbuilding, characters with real problems(maybe too many problems) and a stabile magic system in a crazy world.
While not being interesting all the time it has a good and nice storyline, while having, a 'kind of' fourth wall.
It isn't a very good story but it has good enough content to be in the top fifty list(which it is).
No probs with grammar.
While seeming like a normal boy I still find the MC kind of pathetic, maybe it's just me, but you know those protagonists where you think: What an IDIOT if I were him I would have done that, and that. It mostly occures with OP MCs while the MC isn't that OP yet where I am he still has a very strong ability with an incredible growth ability(, ok not thaaat strong....).
While I'm only halfway through I do think it will get much better, because while there were times where I'd rather read something else this fiction does have its moments.
Btw 5stars because I support this story it deserves more of a 4.7
Edit: After reading quite a bit more, I still think, that this is a good novel, yet it also is a bit confusing. With that I partly mean the information influx. A lot of things are mentioned, names, entads, powers, entities, etc.. It gets easy to forget some of them, but that isn't really a problem, the quick appearance and disappearance of some characters do bump me out a bit though. This novel is also quite heavy to read in some way. Partly because of the long chapters (which sometimes are quite boring).
I've read up till chapter 64, and i have to say that it's a well written story, with likeable characters, and an interesting world setting, but...:
1. The story is incredibly rant-y in almost every chapter, there's way too much meaningless drivel, unneeded math and the MC staying inside his head for unrealistic amounts of time compared to the different situations he/they experience.
2. At first i liked the idea of the breaks from the present to the past, (to the D&D POV's) but it gets tiresome very fast, and completely breaks immersion all the time. Also most of the "breaks" are overly long, and feels like a poor tool for exposition and for the MC to remember something that is vital to a given situation.
3. For a story with such an interesting and different world filled with unconventional magic, there's no feeling of wonder, or "magic" in any of it. It's all framed inside a system, and feels even less mystical and magical than a video game would feel like. It all comes too effortlessly to the MC, and there's no mysticism in it. It's too clinical and too bound by rules of tabletop and math. Personally it has no impact for me whenever he "learns" something, it's just boring and contrived.
Later on when we find out that it's basically a "game" with some kind of omnipotent/omniscient DM, framed inside a system, it lost any of the tiny bit of mystery there was to be had in the beginning. And this was honestly a dealbreaker for me, since i now feel it's just a slogfest of predictible outcomes, and overly long rants and inner monolgues
5. The story is incredibly predictable, and there's too much "telling", and too little "showing"
6. For having a rational and logically thinking MC (who honestly has far too much knowledge, about way too many things for his young age, especially since he's not supposed to be a genius or anything like it), he keeps committing enourmous mistakes all the time, and for someone who've been playing as a DM for countless rpg sessions, he has no sense of wonder or adventure when it comes to the magical systems he learns to use, and the ones he learns that exist.
He doesn't experiment with ANY of his skills, he doesn't try to combine knowledge or abilities, he doesn't adapt a specific "style" of using what he has. He's flat and uninspired in his way of doing things, and completely bound by, and set in his knowledge of tabletop earth knowledge.
6a. And so is the narrative and the whole "level up" mechanic. There's too many boundaries set in place, fx: If he learns something to a specific degree or level, he has to progress further in specific stats to further improve them, meaning he would never be able to master all the skills he accrues throughout his journey/the story, because everything has limiters tied to his level, and level cap. Which means, he can never "train" or use the experiences/knowledge he accrues from different plots, and outcomes, to further or improve his abilities. UNLESS it's in the frame of a level up and adding points into something.
So basically he can't grow or evolve.
This was a lot of negative i know that, but i feel this has unrealistic reviews and an undeserved rating. It's basically been "hyped" too much. I DO recommend it for people who play, or have played tabletop RPG's, and who like stories that puts everything into "boxes" and rules. This just isn't for me, i'm more into the "show" not "tell" kind of stories, like: a Practical Guide to Evil, or Mother of Learning.
I can easily say this is one of my favorite stories ever, as it touches on a number of things I consider important.
The characters all feel very real, rather than just placeholders with a single defining character trait, each their own person, without falling into any trite cliches.
Speaking of cliches, this story does a great job of examining several common tropes of portal fantasy, tabletop rpgs and the like, deconstructing, reconstructing, subverting and sometimes playing them straight when you least expect.
The grammar and overall spelling is excellent, with the author consistently correcting any slips that are pointed out.
But more than anything, what truly gets me in this story is the world building. The breadth and depth of the world is truly fantastic. The hundreds of species, the dozens of magic systems, the way societies have organized themselves around the existence of magical items, everything the author reveals, just keeps showing more and more of how immense the world of Aerb truly is. If I have only one complaint is that there is no way this story will ever be long enough for us to see the full scope of what the author has created.
Formerly the top original novel in AO3, what separates Worth the Candle from the other stories in the genre is the maturity with which treats its main characters.
The heroes are shitty to each other, but they're called out for it, and learn to become better people. They get hurt and still continue to deal with the consequences several books later. Denouement is denied even when it would make for a "kickass" scene. And the eventual payoffs are so much better off for it.
All this combined with the right amount of action, humor and messing around with extremely original magic systems make this one of the best fantasy stories I've ever read. Glad it's finally here.
I've read a lot of LitRPGs, and Worth The Candle is the best of them.
The first chapters of Worth the Candle will be very familiar to most readers on this site, and seem very similar to other stories. The main character, Juniper, has a special ability that makes him grow stronger faster than everyone else. There are standard blue menu boxes and skill pop-ups all over the place.
However, if you continue to read the story, the levels, skills and quests eventually take a backseat to excellent worldbuilding and lots of character development.
Juniper travels to many different locations in Aerb throughout the story, and the author makes every city feel like a place where people actually live. There are explanations about how the local government works and descriptions about the most important parts of their economy. The side characters have distinct personalities, interesting backstories and motivations that exist independently of Juniper.
If you are a fan of LitRPG, this story has everything that you enjoy in the genre. There are level ups, detailed and creative magic systems and awesome magical items. If you aren't a fan of LitRPG, I would still recommend you give Worth The Candle a shot. A complex plot, immersive worldbuilding and multifaceted characters are waiting for you if you do.
Love this story. Great detail, world building and a great sense of humour
This story is fantastic. Right from the get-go, it captures you with it's intriguing world, interesting characters, and well thought out action. I wish he would write more.
So one of the best stories I have read in a long time. My one complaint and reason I stopped reading for a while is they sometimes get stuck discussing what ifs and theory to the Nth degree. I'm all for it but it just got to be too much for me.