Worth the Candle

Worth the Candle

by Alexander Wales

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • 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.

This work is complete. You can buy the first ebook or audiobook here.

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Alexander Wales

Alexander Wales

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Royal Writathon October 2022 winner
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Table of Contents
254 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1 - Taking the Fall ago
Chapter 2 - Thickenings ago
Chapter 3 - Solely Responsible ago
Chapter 4 - Reaver ago
Chapter 5 - Goraion ago
Chapter 6 - Cold Comfort ago
Chapter 7 - Twenty Questions ago
Chapter 8 - Diamond and Iron ago
Chapter 9 - Making Magic ago
Chapter 10 - Sewer Rat ago
Chapter 11 - A Winding Course ago
Chapter 12 - Life of the Party ago
Chapter 13 - Time Out ago
Chapter 14 - ELEVATOR facts ago
Chapter 15 - Whys and Wherefores ago
Chapter 16 - Kindly Bones ago
Chapter 17 - Voting Blocs ago
Chapter 18 - Communal ago
Chapter 19 - Montage! ago
Chapter 20 - Desert Course ago
Chapter 21 - Cliff Racer ago
Chapter 22 - Rolling Need ago
Chapter 23 - Siege ago
Chapter 24 - Like a Glove ago
Chapter 25 - Rocket Man ago
Chapter 26 - Superman ago
Chapter 27 - Fears ago
Chapter 28 - The Impish Inn ago
Chapter 29 - Greychapel ago
Chapter 30 - Plot Relevant ago
Chapter 31 - The Loyal Elf ago
Chapter 32 - Be Still My Heart ago
Chapter 33 - Tenth ago
Chapter 34 - Weik Handum ago
Chapter 35 - Friendship is Magic ago
Chapter 36 - In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet ago
Chapter 37 - Paths ago
Chapter 38 - Don't Split the Party ago
Chapter 39 - Strategic Reserves ago
Chapter 40 - The Feminine Mystique ago
Chapter 41 - Truth and Reconciliation ago
Chapter 42 - A Pleasant Interlude in Kansas ago
Chapter 43 - In Search of a Quest ago
Chapter 44 - Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats ago
Chapter 45 - Keep Magic Weird ago
Chapter 46 - The Market of Blood and Bone ago
Chapter 47 - At Arm's Length ago
Chapter 48 - Doe or Doe Not, There is no Try ago
Chapter 49 - Math.random() ago
Chapter 50 - Copse and Robbers ago
Chapter 51 - Blood in the Water ago
Chapter 52 - Culmination ago
Chapter 53 - A Tiptoe Through the Tulips ago
Chapter 54 - Looper ago
Chapter 55 - Bond Girl ago
Chapter 56 - Vacation Vocations ago
Chapter 57 - Place Your Figs ago
Chapter 58 - Panopticon ago
Chapter 59 - All the Myriad Ways ago
Chapter 60 - Aggressive Negotiations ago
Chapter 61 - Animus ago
Chapter 62 - Drift ago
Chapter 63 - The Chemical History of a Candle ago
Chapter 64 - In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet, Again ago
Chapter 65 - A Kindred Soul ago
Chapter 66 - The Long Night ago
Chapter 67 - A Helping Hand ago
Chapter 68 - Seeing Red ago
Chapter 69 - In Mutual Congress ago
Chapter 70 - Moral Agency ago
Chapter 71 - The Soul of Discretion ago
Chapter 72 - Tripartite Talks ago
Chapter 73 - Amaryllis ago
Chapter 74 - The Mouth of a Long River ago
Chapter 75 - Stats for Nerds ago
Chapter 76 - Date Night ago
Chapter 77 - Lies and Damned Lies ago
Chapter 78 - The Sacrifice ago
Chapter 79 - Rule Zero ago
Chapter 80 - The Princess and the Pea ago
Chapter 81 - Musings on the Elder God ago
Chapter 82 - Aboard the Lion's Tail ago
Chapter 83 - The Familiar and the Foreign ago
Chapter 84 - The Party Line ago
Chapter 85 - The Great Train Robbery ago
Chapter 86 - Headwater ago
Chapter 87 - Down And Out ago
Chapter 88 - The House of Solitude ago
Chapter 89 - The Face of a Place ago
Chapter 90 - Head of House ago
Chapter 91 - An Open House ago
Chapter 92 - Shades ago
Chapter 93 - Bottle Episode ago
Chapter 94 - Grayscale ago
Chapter 95 - Time Enough ago
Chapter 96 - A Portrait of the King as a Young Man ago
Chapter 97 - Rapping at my Chamber Door ago
Chapter 98 - Letter 15 ago
Chapter 99 - Enough Rope to Hang Yourself ago
Chapter 100 - Immanentizing the Eschaton ago
Chapter 101 - PPROM ago
Chapter 102 - The Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Chapter 103 - Contract ago
Chapter 104 - Consolation ago
Chapter 105 - Notes ago
Chapter 106 - The One-Hand Warder ago
Chapter 107 - Name of the Beast ago
Chapter 108 - The Dream That Skewers ago
Chapter 109 - The Veil of the World ago
Chapter 110 - Bubblegum ago
Chapter 111 - Peer Pressure ago
Chapter 112 - Egress ago
Chapter 113 - A Hell of a Time ago
Chapter 114 - The Meeting of Minds ago
Chapter 115 - Communicative ago
Chapter 116 - Therapy ago
Chapter 117 - Beast of Burden ago
Chapter 118 - Breaking Loose ago
Chapter 119 - Depths ago
Chapter 120 - Deceptions ago
Chapter 121 - Maddie ago
Chapter 122 - Raven ago
Chapter 123 - Medieval Stasis ago
Chapter 124 - Fight Club ago
Chapter 125 - The Remnants of the Past ago
Chapter 126 - Ever Onward ago
Chapter 127 - Full House ago
Chapter 128 - An Open Book ago
Chapter 129 - Schemata ago
Chapter 130 - The Abject Despair of an Uncaring World ago
Chapter 131 - A Cypress Waits ago
Chapter 132 - Uskine Nervedah ago
Chapter 133 - The Critical Path ago
Chapter 134 - Safe Mode ago
Chapter 135 - Holding ago
Chapter 136 - Krinrael ago
Chapter 137 - Darili Irid ago
Chapter 138 - Stats for Nerds II ago
Chapter 139 - Piece of Mind ago
Chapter 140 - Commingling ago
Chapter 141 - Monty Haul ago
Chapter 142 - Sound and Silence ago
Chapter 143 - Manifold Paths ago
Chapter 144 - Skewered ago
Chapter 145 - Freshman ago
Chapter 146 - Terrors of the Black Age ago
Chapter 147 - Good Vibrations ago
Chapter 148 - Sing For Your Supper ago
Chapter 149 - I Have to Hand it to You ago
Chapter 150 - Than One Innocent Suffer ago
Chapter 151 - The Mind's Eye ago
Chapter 152 - The Time to Talk ago
Chapter 153 - The Temple ago
Chapter 154 - Above From Below ago
Chapter 155 - Mome Rath ago
Chapter 156 - Mome Rath II ago
Chapter 157 - The Bird on the Fence ago
Chapter 158 - OP ago
Chapter 159 - The Dome Away From Home ago
Chapter 160 - On the Merits of Oblivion ago
Chapter 161 - Reimer ago
Chapter 162 - Deus Ex ago
Chapter 163 - Level Heads ago
Chapter 164 - House of God ago
Chapter 165 - Politics, blah, blah, blah ago
Chapter 166 - Brownian Motion ago
Chapter 167 - Beached ago
Chapter 168 - Hollow ago
Chapter 169 - The No Sleep Club ago
Chapter 170 - On Treating With Dragons ago
Chapter 171 - Blood is Thicker Than Water ago
Chapter 172 - Respec ago
Chapter 173 - Passions ago
Chapter 174 - The Blade of the Self ago
Chapter 175 - High Concept ago
Chapter 176 - Warrens ago
Chapter 177 - The Erstwhile Manor ago
Chapter 178 - The White Room ago
Chapter 179 - Hilbert's Paradox ago
Chapter 180 - Dumbest Entad ago
Chapter 181 - To Sleep, Perchance to Dream ago
Chapter 182 - Painless ago
Chapter 183 - Transgressions ago
Chapter 184 - The Further Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Chapter 185 - Mirror Room ago
Chapter 186 - Paladin ago
Chapter 187 - Penndraig's Rules of Order ago
Chapter 188 - Common Law ago
Chapter 189 - B-Side ago
Chapter 190 - To Know One's Onions ago
Chapter 191 - Overwhelming Violence ago
Chapter 192 - Cooldown ago
Chapter 193 - Coda I ago
Chapter 194 - Coda II ago
Chapter 195 - Family ago
Chapter 196 - Notes II ago
Chapter 197 - Second Degrees ago
Chapter 198 - Prurient Interest ago
Chapter 199 - Nearest and Dearest ago
Chapter 200 - Feeling Blue ago
Chapter 201 - The Aviary ago
Chapter 202 - Star Pupil ago
Chapter 203 - Where the Streets Run Red ago
Chapter 204 - Open Veins ago
Chapter 205 - A Bloody Mess ago
Chapter 206 - Parallel Lines ago
Chapter 207 - An Elevated Monologue ago
Chapter 208 - On the Merits of Eternal Suffering ago
Chapter 209 - Orison ago
Chapter 210 - Push and Pull ago
Chapter 211 - Gilding the Lily ago
Chapter 212 - Spilled Ink ago
Chapter 213 - The Endless Toil ago
Chapter 214 - Glass Houses ago
Chapter 215 - Post ago
Chapter 216 - Bureaucratic Melees ago
Chapter 217 - A Dragon's Roost ago
Chapter 218 - A Grueling Calm ago
Chapter 219 - Homecoming, Part I ago
Chapter 220 - Doecent ago
Chapter 221 - Targets of Opportunity ago
Chapter 222 - Clerical Errors ago
Chapter 223 - A Lost Friend ago
Chapter 224 - We're Here, We're Deer, Get Used to It ago
Chapter 225 - Runination ago
Chapter 226 - Fires of my Heart ago
Chapter 227 - Homecoming, Part II ago
Chapter 228 - The Fel Seed Incident ago
Chapter 229 - The Road ago
Chapter 230 - The Palace ago
Chapter 231 - Hellfall ago
Chapter 232 - Department ago
Chapter 233 - Tartarology ago
Chapter 234 - Heck if I Know ago
Chapter 235 - Interval ago
Chapter 236 - More Dakka ago
Chapter 237 - Long Story Short ago
Chapter 238 - A Certain Kind of Longing ago
Chapter 239 - Old Sins Cast Long Shadows ago
Chapter 240 - The Long Haul ago
Chapter 241 - Long Shot ago
Chapter 242 - A Long Row to Hoe ago
Chapter 243 - Long Memory ago
Chapter 244 - Long Pig ago
Chapter 245 - Long Live the King ago
Chapter 246 - Reflection at the End ago
Epilogue 1 - The End of the World ago
Epilogue 2 - Princess! ago
Epilogue 3 - There's No Knowing Where We're Going ago
Epilogue 4 - The Ongoing Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Epilogue 5 - It All Depends On What You Mean By Home ago
Epilogue 6 - The Narrator, the Angel, and the Devil ago
Epilogue 7 - Multitudes ago
Epilogue 8 - Nevermore ago

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Gilgilad7
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

Rational Take on Tabletop LitRPG

Review as of chapter 161:

Worth the Candle is a portal fantasy tabletop litRPG by a well known rational fiction author.  The story subverts as many tropes as it adheres to with expert execution of the plot.  You won't find a story on Royal Road with more comprehensive world building.  Even the bizarreness of the world starts to make so much sense as it continually intersects with the narrative and the wide variety of magic systems.

The world’s mystery is derived around the MC noticing many of people, creatures, and items that appear are directly related to RPG lore he invented himself in his own pen and paper games back on Earth. Unraveling this mystery keeps the narrative flowing. There are many flashback scenes to his games he played with friends in his old life and they tie into the plot of the story.

The world happens to be single player; only the MC has a character sheet.  So to put it in video game terms that many may be more familiar with than tabletop RPGs, it is like Skyrim with a mod to allow 5+ followers.  As he levels up, so do his followers and the difficulty of challenges thrown at them.  

The followers are NPCs in the loosest sense of the word, but in actuality they are highly complex real people with their own specializations.  His party works together as a team, each bringing their own skills to make a sum greater than its parts.  But their relationships with the MC and with each other are deeply explored and character growth happens to all of them, some for the better and some for the worse.  Even as we learn more about the MC's past, it changes our perspective of how we view other characters.  And they are so well written!  Character writing is probably one of the author's greatest strengths.

The author is also writing this story for the rational fiction genre and it really shows. The main character is highly logical and introspective as he questions the world he is transported to and the reasons he was brought there. He is a min-maxer and he studies his character sheet in depth, going so far to even do the in-depth math to min-max his build. The litRPG elements have more of a tabletop RPG influence as opposed to the genre’s more common video game RPG inspiration which is quite refreshing for the genre.

This is a meta story where the "narrative" of the story itself is part of the narrative which really is intriguing and lends a lot of credibility to the world and the character's actions and reactions. This isn't litRPG written just because stats are cool, the worldbuilding is logical from the ground up and the stats make sense in a narrative way that many other litRPG stories completely lack.

While the story is brilliant, it isn't for everyone though.  The readers who might not enjoy this story are those who don’t like stories with flashback scenes or just can’t get into the deep philosophical discussions.  There is a lot of subtext that is easy to miss and subtle foreshadowing that some may not pick up on.  If you are looking for a pulpy read without thought, then this is not the place to start.

But for those who want to read a litRPG story that actually strives to be rational, this is the closest you will likely get. 

binary_pineapple
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A must read rational litrpg

I am definitely going to regret reading this as it has probably cost me tens of thousands of dollars. More about that later; into the review.

I knew about this fiction since a very long time, especially since I was subscribed to the subreddit that it was posted on . Hpwever, the name didn't ring a bell, neither did the author seem familiar, so I gave it a pass. It was a mistake.

Fast forward to when the story was posted on royal road. It didn't have the author as cthuluraejepson, but Alexander Wales. The name seemed familiar, and I went on his website. He had made another nickname for himself, and was the same author that had written Shadows and Metropolitan Man, the same stories that I raved about to my friends. As I went through the list, it seemed that all his written stories were the ones that I had liked and stuck with me such as the Randi Prize. Oh, what a revelation.

I started binging through the novel and stormed through till the last chapter (161).  And what a ride it has been. Somehow, the story touches upon and coagulates widely dissimilar topics into a meta narrative. The "meta" aspect is something that is dealt with so regularly, that I felt that this story should have been the one named "Meta World" (Could we swap the titles?). It includes a range of topics spanning from economics to world building and therapy. 

It is one of the very few "system" litrpgs, where the character actually discloses everything about the mechanisms to his companions. Here, the world that he is transported to is one that highly mimics the ones that he created on Earth as a Dungeon Master. It meshes well into the story as the character and his companions figure how they all fit in to the "narrative" (a word that you will hear often).

The characters are actually what sets this story as the best charterizations I have ever read. The way the characters deal with situations is very realistic. The MC is not the smartest person, he is great in some aspects, poor at others, just how a normal guy would be. The others are not dumbed down either, and not everyone is overjoyed to throw themselves at the MC, with the females ready for a harem, unlike common webnovel tropes. The MC, other characters face a variety of issues from relationship issues, procrastination to depression.

The magic system is phenomenal and has a broad variety. Different species, different magics requiring different costs, just shows how much work has gone into creating it. While revealing too much would be a spoiler, it would not be and understatement to say that the world emerges as a land full of possibilities for the future. Truly makes me want to play D&D. And yeah, for all you flat earthers: rejoice!

Some of the critique would be some decisions taken by the characters that don't really seem optimal given the time they spend on decision making for even trivial stuff. Some world building or character interactions just seem to go on for much longer than what is needed. All of them being issues which can be solved with a bit of editing.

All in all, it is a work of fiction that is so addicting that you can't stop until you reach the last chapter. And this is a positive point unless you really don't have time (like me). As I write this review, I accept my fate that I am not going to clear my interview for Amazon as I have spent the last week just reading this novel instead of prepping for it and I am probably going to regret this for a long long time. Yes, addiction has an opportunity cost. (Interesting tidbit: the author is a former software engineer too.)

 

The Wadapan
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Worth the candle a hundred times over

I've been following this story for a good while on AO3, but have never taken the time to write a proper review - an oversight which I intend to correct here, because I'd hate for anyone on this site to be missing out on what I think is easily one of the best pieces of web fiction of all time (certainly one of my favourite stories, period).

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hooked pretty much from the word go, but - fair warning - most people will tell you to stick with the story until at least its fourteenth chapter before drawing any conclusions. If you're not fundamentally enjoying it by then, it probably just isn't for you - but if you are, then I feel confident saying that it will surpass your expectations at every turn.

This isn't a story where progress is about unlocking new levels and skills and perks. Well, okay, it technically is, but - more importantly - it's about trying to do the right thing and becoming a better person.

Alexander Wales manages to deftly weave an impressive amount of introspection into the events at hand, thanks to clever use of dialogue, observations, asides, and (most notably) flashbacks - none of which negatively impact the story's strong pacing. The romantic elements of the narrative are handled with a astonishing level of depth and nuance - somehow managing to be simultaneously sincere and deconstructive. Truthfully, the same could be said for pretty much every aspect of the story: its prose, worldbuilding, conflicts and characters. You'll find a lot of twists on classic tropes and setpieces, but there are a wealth of original and evocative ideas to be found here too.

At every level, Worth the Candle feels like a labour of love - and you'll probably end up loving it too.

BobGuy
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I've been following this story since sometime last year (2019) and it's honestly pretty good. There's hardly any grammatical errors or typos the plot is entertaining and the world building is fairly consistent.

.

Despite all that, something has been eating at me the entire time I was reading this story. Nearly all the interactions between the characters feel one dimensional and monotonous.

I think this is because whenever any characters are having a conversation, all I ever read about is the words they say to each other but I find it hard to envision anything else about their interaction because  almost nothing is mentioned about their facial expressions, body language and tones. Even on the rare occasion that anything like that is explored, so little is mentioned that it's almost pointless.

It makes conversations feel like it's just one guy talking to himself.

Conversations also sometimes feel like infodumps even when that might not be the author's intention, and it can get so bad that even parts that might've been meant to be entertaining start to drag.

All this also makes the characters hard to relate to because they are not fleshed out properly in my head. I'm not saying that there's not any attempts to flesh out the characters because I always read descriptions of what they look like and  what they wear and what the other characters think of them, but I can't help but want to see what they see as they're talking to each other. 

Conversation has many more dimensions than just the words spoken but almost all of them are missing.

If the author could deal with that issue, then this story would be a masterpiece.

Spoiler: Spoiler

 

ujer
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Good but flawed fiction

Since almsot everyone already elaborate how good this fiction is, i will write the flaw that i see in this story from my own perspective. You may not agreed to this but this is what i saw.

 

1. Info dumping

This is quite critical aspect for story to make sure that the reader felt compelled to know more about the world, character and lore of the sory instead of felt being forced with info. This is where this fiction failed quite few times. I would said sometimes the info is being well written into the story while sometimes i felt being forced to read. This make the story is quite boring to read at that times.

2. Phycological aspect of MC

Now, as I read along, I can see that the MC done a lot of thinking, questioning everything in this world like a mature adult. So when it comes to death of his friend, suddenly he became a edgy, selfish and spoiled teenager that think the world is revolved around him. It really, really hard to sympathize with teenager losing his best friend when you know out there, some one there is losing his family and has bleak future becaused his country is in war.  Not to mentioned, the jaring feeling between this two personality. 

3. Magic system

SO MANY praised the magic system when i felt this ones is the aspect that failed the most. The magic system is a mess and all over the place. The reason is the law governing the magic is not well explained. There is the sentence where the princess said the magic is already demystiquefing. If this is the case, why there is so many unexplained law of the magic. Does you can do magic with oly the will? Warder done it with the ritual, while skin magic done magic with art? Gem magic need to be understood that it is operate using light? if understanding the principle can help MC learn the magic, why he cannot learn about elemental magic since surely the TEENAGER who knows so many thing would know about the principal of element. Why there is no resurrection if you can create soul. What does define death? Why can't you catch soul and put back on the body? There is so many thing can be explored about magic and the MC is busy thinking about the stat. The magic system is so flawed, dude. 

4. D&D system is confusing

This is where many will not agreed with me but i am saying this as someone that never played D&D game. The way he explained D&D sytem making me think D&D game is one hell boring and confusing. This is fiction, not complex mathematic question. I always skip the D&D thing since it is confusing and bland at the same times. 

So yeah, i do think other reviewer is over exaggarated this story. It is good flawed fiction, that's all.

Kaminarion
Overall

Overall couldn't enjoy it

Reviewed at: Panopticon

The plot and the characters are great and all but this is more about reading the thoughts of a narcissistic mc than the story.

Gask
Overall

A quasi harem story with a cuckold protagonist

There are good things about this fiction namely the setting and its variety of magical systems.  If you want an elaboration on those elements then go read one of the many glowing reviews. 

Your reception of this story will depend upon how much you’ve read and what you’re looking for in a protagonist.  At first the story comes across as dynamic and fresh but as things proceed the plot becomes bogged down in a repetitive cycle of tedious debates, forced exposition, emotional diarrhea and unresolved relationship issues.  This pattern repeats ad nauseam and as a result the reading can become quite tedious at times.

Apart from that the main character “Joon” is the embodiment of the standard beta male.  His only accomplishment in life was the creation of a detailed series of tabletop campaigns which he played with his friends.  Conveniently the story revolves near exclusively around this detail and rewards him for it excessively with riches, companionship, super powers and good looks.  But this is never enough to stop him from being an emotionally damaged doormat which contrasts starkly with his unearned prowess in battle.  In fact, outside of combat, I would say that the typical gender norms are swapped between him and Amaryllis, which becomes more obvious as the story progresses.

Joon has a distinct lack of self-respect and conviction, except for when it comes to social justice and game mechanics, and you’ll frequently find him apologizing during the many bouts of pseudo psychoanalysis that litter the story.  (Imagine a character who constantly whips himself while trying to play counselor, especially whenever he talks to one of the women who surround him.)  While this attitude may be fitting for the character as he was, at the start of the story, it becomes exhausting 100+ chapters in when you realize that he seems incapable of developing any sense of self worth and independence as a man.

This weakness and subordination to those around him is novel in a genre littered with lone super humans who generally do as they please but in this case the author went too far in the opposite direction. In fact you will rarely find him apart from his “companions” for more than a few pages before they’re reunited and the status quo of constant interrogation, debate, relationship/sexual tension and apology is restored.  

Things didn’t improve with the introduction of the “DM” who’s literally controlling the game world so that Joon can advance through his “campaign”.  This further compounds the difficulty of taking the characters and their world seriously when coupled with their endless and tiresome social issues. 

 

Makin
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The good kind of mature

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.

Chimeric
Overall

This is basically the best LitRPG that I've ever read. The writing and editing is professionally tight, the characters are well-fleshed, and for the most part, the story is engaging, the MC is both likeable and relatable, and (of course) the world-building is very good.
Everybody loves an OP MC, but there's a twist to being OP in Aerb that keeps the tension high that I appreciate 

alewif
Overall

I started reading this story at the beginning of this year, though I had known about it for much longer than that. I started on a whim, trying to find a way to burn some time between assignments. I quickly discovered that doing so was one of the worst mistakes I could have made, since I could not stop reading even when the next assignment was nearly due.

Needless to say, I like the story. Like its characters, it has some flaws, though I think that is fitting. Also like the characters, the plot develops along the way. In the beginning it felt like a pretty cut and dry isekai; become strong, complete X goal for Y reason, happily ever after. And at the end of the day, it is just that. MC gets stronger, completes goals, happily ever after. What really makes this story special is that X and Y evolve as the characters develop and polish their flaws.

There were points along the journey that I didn't love, as I'm sure everyone could agree, points where I wanted to stop. But looking back now that I've finished, I'm very glad that I didn't. I may not have enjoyed every second, but I think the fact I read all 6k pages is a testament to how uncommon those seconds were.

I can't put into words how cathartic the resolution was. It was perfect, a final bit of character development that completes the journey perfectly. Sadly, I can't say more without delving into spoiler territory and as much as I would love to do so, I have standards to uphold (no I don't, I just like to pretend I do) and this review is rambling enough as it is.
(Side note: I've always found it ironic how people say 'I've no words to describe ____', as saying that is a way to describe the thing they say they don't have the words to describe.)