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.

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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Alexander Wales

Alexander Wales

Word Count (17)
Top List #50
1st Anniversary
Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Taking the Fall ago
Thickenings ago
Solely Responsible ago
Reaver ago
Goraion ago
Cold Comfort ago
Twenty Questions ago
Diamond and Iron ago
Making Magic ago
Sewer Rat ago
A Winding Course ago
Life of the Party ago
Time Out ago
ELEVATOR facts ago
Whys and Wherefores ago
Kindly Bones ago
Voting Blocs ago
Communal ago
Montage! ago
Desert Course ago
Cliff Racer ago
Rolling Need ago
Siege ago
Like a Glove ago
Rocket Man ago
Superman ago
Fears ago
The Impish Inn ago
Greychapel ago
Plot Relevant ago
The Loyal Elf ago
Be Still My Heart ago
Tenth ago
Weik Handum ago
Friendship is Magic ago
In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet ago
Paths ago
Don't Split the Party ago
Strategic Reserves ago
The Feminine Mystique ago
Truth and Reconciliation ago
A Pleasant Interlude in Kansas ago
In Search of a Quest ago
Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats ago
Keep Magic Weird ago
The Market of Blood and Bone ago
At Arm's Length ago
Doe or Doe Not, There is no Try ago
Math.random() ago
Copse and Robbers ago
Blood in the Water ago
Culmination ago
A Tiptoe Through the Tulips ago
Looper ago
Bond Girl ago
Vacation Vocations ago
Place Your Figs ago
Panopticon ago
All the Myriad Ways ago
Aggressive Negotiations ago
Animus ago
Drift ago
The Chemical History of a Candle ago
In Which Juniper Stares At His Character Sheet, Again ago
A Kindred Soul ago
The Long Night ago
A Helping Hand ago
Seeing Red ago
In Mutual Congress ago
Moral Agency ago
The Soul of Discretion ago
Tripartite Talks ago
Amaryllis ago
The Mouth of a Long River ago
Stats for Nerds ago
Date Night ago
Lies and Damned Lies ago
The Sacrifice ago
Rule Zero ago
The Princess and the Pea ago
Musings on the Elder God ago
Aboard the Lion's Tail ago
The Familiar and the Foreign ago
The Party Line ago
The Great Train Robbery ago
Headwater ago
Down And Out ago
The House of Solitude ago
The Face of a Place ago
Head of House ago
An Open House ago
Shades ago
Bottle Episode ago
Grayscale ago
Time Enough ago
A Portrait of the King as a Young Man ago
Rapping at my Chamber Door ago
Letter 15 ago
Enough Rope to Hang Yourself ago
Immanentizing the Eschaton ago
The Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Contract ago
Consolation ago
Notes ago
The One-Hand Warder ago
Name of the Beast ago
The Dream That Skewers ago
The Veil of the World ago
Bubblegum ago
Peer Pressure ago
Egress ago
A Hell of a Time ago
The Meeting of Minds ago
Communicative ago
Therapy ago
Beast of Burden ago
Breaking Loose ago
Depths ago
Deceptions ago
Maddie ago
Raven ago
Medieval Stasis ago
Fight Club ago
The Remnants of the Past ago
Ever Onward ago
Full House ago
An Open Book ago
Schemata ago
The Abject Despair of an Uncaring World ago
A Cypress Waits ago
Uskine Nervedah ago
The Critical Path ago
Safe Mode ago
Holding ago
Krinrael ago
Darili Irid ago
Stats for Nerds II ago
Piece of Mind ago
Commingling ago
Monty Haul ago
Sound and Silence ago
Manifold Paths ago
Skewered ago
Freshman ago
Terrors of the Black Age ago
Good Vibrations ago
Sing For Your Supper ago
I Have to Hand it to You ago
Than One Innocent Suffer ago
The Mind's Eye ago
The Time to Talk ago
The Temple ago
Above From Below ago
Mome Rath ago
Mome Rath II ago
The Bird on the Fence ago
OP ago
The Dome Away From Home ago
On the Merits of Oblivion ago
Reimer ago
Deus Ex ago
Level Heads ago
House of God ago
Politics, blah, blah, blah ago
Brownian Motion ago
Beached ago
Hollow ago
The No Sleep Club ago
On Treating With Dragons ago
Blood is Thicker Than Water ago
Respec ago
Passions ago
The Blade of the Self ago
High Concept ago
Warrens ago
The Erstwhile Manor ago
The White Room ago
Hilbert's Paradox ago
Dumbest Entad ago
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream ago
Painless ago
Transgressions ago
The Further Adventures of Valencia the Red ago
Mirror Room ago
Paladin ago
Penndraig's Rules of Order ago
Common Law ago
B-Side ago
To Know One's Onions ago
Overwhelming Violence ago
Cooldown ago
Coda I ago
Coda II ago
Family ago
Notes II ago
Second Degrees ago
Prurient Interest ago
Nearest and Dearest ago
Feeling Blue ago
The Aviary ago
Star Pupil ago
Where the Streets Run Red ago
Open Veins ago
A Bloody Mess ago
Parallel Lines ago
An Elevated Monologue ago
On the Merits of Eternal Suffering ago
Orison ago
Push and Pull ago
Gilding the Lily ago
Spilled Ink ago
The Endless Toil ago
Glass Houses ago
Post ago
Bureaucratic Melees ago
A Dragon's Roost ago
A Grueling Calm ago
Homecoming, Part I ago
Doecent ago
Targets of Opportunity ago
Clerical Errors ago
A Lost Friend ago
We're Here, We're Deer, Get Used to It ago
Runination ago
Fires of my Heart ago
Homecoming, Part II ago
The Fel Seed Incident ago

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Richard Dain

I don't write overly long reviews, but I know getting a review helps the authors so there. This story is very good, sometimes the desciptions of scenes or surroundings can get a bit long, but a good thing about books is that you can skim parts you're not interested in. The story does get very dark at points, and even made me feel quite bad for a period in the middle of what's available. Regardless, if you can get over the trigger warnings at the top, this is worth a read.

Sam Williams

Incredibly well written, with some large flaws

Reviewed at: Sewer Rat

 I stopped reading when he got raped by a house

That wasn't my only problem with this fiction, but before I say anymore negative aspects I'll address what this fiction does well. It is incredibly well written, not just the grammar but every aspect, the author is truly talented. I also thing it is an excellent and unique take on a common trope.

I had two main problems. Firstly the characters power levels, I think the biggest example of this is the house. Giving a character that large of a gap in power between it and the rest of the party was a mistake. I'm aware it was used to explore power dynamics but it completely drew me out of the story, especially when the power gap was highlighted by showing how easily the house could have killed raven, a character from Uthers original party. (Also I think the way the author dealt with the consequences of the protagonists rape was wrong, the idea that the house and the protagonist could eventually come to trust eachother again seems like a strange avenue to explore, and while ot could just be me, i have no intererest in exploring it along side the author)

My second complaint is how much of the story is consumed by the protagonist being in situations where nothing can be trusted. This took up so so much of the story (at least a significant amount upto where I stopped reading) It is well written so I'm far more lenient but it still gets tedious relatively quickly. I think my problem with this is the pacing of the story is relatively slow, yet the author maintains these long periods of tension that (at least when binge reading) mentally drain the reader.


This is my fourth attempt at writing a review. 

I really like how Alexander Wales brings a fresh view on a lot of media and tropes. 

Alexander also uses a bunch of fancy words and terms that I have to look up during the story, which means I actually get to learn new concepts while reading an amazing story.

Reading this story feels like playing dnd with a bunch of really smart friends (at least when it comes to tropes, media, and science; as for emotional intelligence, they're working on it, since most of the characters are either in their teens or dealing with some sort of emotional baggage).

I like the way reading this book makes me feel, and so I recommend other people give this book a shot.

Thank you Alexander for writing this story; I hope this rating helps boost this story to a place where more people can discover it.


Phenomenally innovative and moving

As another immigrant from AO3, I've read all nine hundred thousand and change words of Worth the Candle that have yet to be released here, and there's one thing I feel comfortable spoiling: it's fucking great.

The worldbuilding is meticulous and expansive, reconciling a wide range of ideas into a coherent, interconnected whole. Part of the premise is that the setting is built from many worlds invented by the protagonist, and the depth of thought shows. There are throwaway lines that could serve as seeds for stories in their own right, dozens of species, and more forms of magic than you can shake a stick at. 

Worth the Candle is technically an isekai, but Juniper's relationship with the world he now inhabits is a crucial part of the story. Some parts are played straight, others subverted, but it's a more serious exploration of the genre than anything elsewhere. The characters themselves are all as compelling as they are flawed, and to paraphrase one of them, it's beautiful to watch the cast struggle against and overcome their weaknesses. 

Honestly, I wish I could forget everything and dive back in to experience the whole thing all over again, which is just about the highest compliment I can pay to fiction in any medium. That's unfortunately impossible, but fresh readers can and should savor this story.


Shia LaBeouf Shia LaBeouf Shia LaBeo-cvfhg

Reviewed at: Overwhelming Violence

A DnD gamemaster is taken to a world that is built from his ideas and creations.

amazing world-building, subverting tropes from fantasty, harem stories, lit-rpgs...a mix of hard magic and soft magic...Original and inspired races. The last few chapters have become watershed moments for the book where the character, Juniper, is utizling the maxiumum extent of his magic.

People have some hang-ups when there's a scene-break to Juniper talking with his friends around a dnd table, those scenes are purporsed towards immediate foreshadowing and help explain the actions of other characters that we don't get to see the monologue for. They also can serve as a way to explain concepets and ideas occuring in the story that the author believes needs a better explation.

There's tons of concepts that the story will introduce you too, memetic warfare (not related to memes), exclusion zones that contain world-breaking events, people, or creatures (examples being someone going through a groundhog's day every month, or an entire area populated with clones of a single indiviudal).

I think it's resonable enough to say that the author has gone through a similar tragedy as the main-character and is processing his grief through the transformative work of writing. It's a story with reoccuring themes of depression, loss, and friendship. If you haven't had your heart-broken it may be hard to relate to the characters in the story, but there's a lot more to it than that. The action and build-up is amazing, and the intelligence that the main-character utilizes stops you from rolling your eyes. This is one of the top ten stories on this website.


Interesting and Well Thought Out

I'm not very far along in the story as I write this but what I've read so far is excellent. The story is an eclectic mix of genres so far and it's interesting and makes me want to keep reading to find out more. Grammer, spelling and prose are excellent. The characters are well done and the author makes good use of "show, don't tell". I'll keep reading along and unless something drastic occurs I'll be upping my review to 5 stars after I get further along.


An actually good self insert

Reviewed at: Warrens

It's almost like the writer took two genres I dislike the most and than proceeded to make a great story out of it. 

For me at least, the main draw of the story has so far been the characters. They are believably flawed in a way that makes them more interesting and the character development has been pretty well done so far. The writer clearly understands how relationships work. 




Something a Little Different

One of the major reasons that I get pulled out of enjoying LitRPG stories is that the stories often focus on the game systems to the detriment of the human story at the core of the narrative.  WtC turns that on its head by having the characters acknowledge and focus on the personal impact of the plot, and even engage in some flirtation with the fourth wall when they turn to contemplating the nature of their own narrative.  

I truly enjoyed this story so far and hope that it continues to go strong.


Love the Story, Love and Hate the Author

I started reading this on AO3 shortly after the one with the Actual Cannibal, and the ultimate aftermath, which was the one part of this i really hated, but mostly because i was attached to a certain character.

I thought then, and i still do, that it was a misstep, fridge-stuffing someone for the sake of just developing MC. It rather undercut the sudden waking call he received just one chapter earlier, for the sake of culling a character who's outlived their purpose in relation(s?) to MC, and we haven't really been given time to process that, not counting the wait between chapters. Did the author just hate that character? It felt like they did, making MC repeat how he could not undo what happened, felt like they grew tired of writing for that character. I'm still hoping that event does get somewhat undone, regardless, albeit with consequences, perhaps by the hand of an other party just to show MC/s that the world doesn't revolve around his/their Narrative, at least not completely.

But that's just my opinion. I'm not writing this, La Mort de le jepsen or no.

The story is good though, very well crafted, from the characters to the worldbuilding, magic systems, game system, everything was well thought out and original in a way that literally no other work on royalroad can ever equal.

Especially not those particularly popular and prolific authors with questionable grasp of the language and really narrow vocabularies, who've been uploading near daily for half a decade, and who wrote more than half of all the top rated fictions, you know the ones. Full offense intended, I don't care, cos cthuluraejepsen is just that good and I love this story at least as much as i personally hate its author for hurting me with his writing. Which is a compliment of sorts.

This is a story where even the fucking GAME SYSTEM is original, and the way it's handled is just--ugh. And the character work . . .  there are plenty of character defining moments and introspection on the part of most characters that I actually like to read, rather than just skip past due to the inanities of most inexperienced writers.

I can write more but I just realized I won't have the time to do this story justice. Ah well. I'm no Jun, Arthur, or Tiff so . . .

Anyway, story is good, its got substance and meat and I respect the author even though I hate him.

My profile pic is me flipping him the bird.


Definitely one of the best stories out there

 Really glad to see this on RR, read it on Archive of our own ages ago, definitely going to be re-reading it, some people wont like it, but I highly reccomend at least giving it a shot, in my own oppinion its one of the best storie out there.