- 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.
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
- Total Views :
- Average Views :
- Followers :
- Favorites :
- Ratings :
- Pages :
Leave a review
Worth the Candle is probably my favorite piece of web fiction. AW blends excellent character writing and fantastic worldbuilding in his classic style, delivering a fantasy story that alternates between keeping you on the edge of your seat with its wonderful action and constantly thinking with its intrigue and deep characters.
Basically, READ IT!! The first book leans heavily into the game stuff but as it goes on the character writing just gets better and better. If you have the time I heavily recommend you read to the end of book 1 even if the game stuff isn't your thing, because the story is so much more than that.
I read most of this story on another site, binge read really. Twice (the latter one mostly because I only vaguely recalled the story at the time and needed something good to read, knowing it had more chapters I just jumped in from ch1 again)
Although this is most assuredly another self insert story, the litrpg parts of this story are top notch, like a serious, no joke, 10/10, never seen it done better. In fact the entire litrpg system is based extremely heavily on tabletop rpgs (like D&D) and this format works really well for litrpgs (Whereas for video games it was never the perfect fit; and vice versa, video game rpg systems are unlikely to ever be a perfect fit for litrpg novels)
The worldbuilding is also seriously 10/10 god tier never seen it done better outside of legendary novels like say Tolkien's stuff. The world building is actually unique, thought out, and has intriguing horrors ini t. It also has some really stupid horrors in it (like uh, no, I shouldn't spoil it, it was sorta funny but timed after my interest in the story started sagging and made it sag even more)
The characteres are better than your average royalroad novel too. A lot better. They have actual personalities. Although the villains tend have a lot less of it than the protagonist and co.
Grammar is top notch too.
And the story, while the story is a pretty basic isekai thing (with a twist that the protagonist is the developer of the world (from the rpg elements down to the worldbuilding, self insert, I tell you once more)) the excellent worldbuilding manages to keep it unique and interesting, and it's noticably darker too than the average isekai.
But it's not all perfect, because I eventually dropped the story, and the culprit was writing, for example, I will not name names to avoid spoilers, but this is still mildly spoilerific since it's a bad writing example that will give you clues about an event in the story.
When it came time to cull the herd (e.g. kill off one of the mains to induce drama and get rid of characters that had to go) most writers will in fact kill a character that needs to go for some reason, or characters that have turned out to be kinda useless and taking up unnecessary space. (Kamina is an example of the former, the guy was basically fighting simon for the protagonist role, and the protagonist needed to get his turn to shine. Boromir is a good example of the latter. Guy wasn't filling any important roles, we already had Aragorn doing the same things better.)
This author however killed off one of the most important characters instead, worse still, this death completely and utterly fucked up the dynamic of the story, and afterwards the most useless, boring, meaningless character in the entire main cast (one that already has a side character that can fill it's role better, and if that fails, the protagonist could easily do it), gets a shitload of 'development' that's boring as shit, and I've already been hoping it'd be killed off since the chapter it was introduced. In truth the characters entire role in the story was already filled a few chapters after it's introduction.
Instead my favorite character (has the most personality and everything) gets killled off that out of the main cast excluding the protagonist is the most vital to the dynamic and ambience of the story... It also leaves a fuckton of loose ends and kills off actually interesting future plot developments that were teased earlier on.
So we had a perfect candidate for a character to be killed off, an entirely (and I mean entirely) useless waste of space and resources with a boring as shit backstory and nothing really to them, yet the author kills off the character with the most interesting development (and the one with the most time invested into their development as well) which felt basically like a copout because he didn't know how to handle that characters straining relations with the protagonist.
For a story that likes to fuck around with tropes and flip them, this decision wasn't that far out there for the author, but it was just badly done, especially the aftermath. Everyone's best friend and some (in-story) people's favorite person dies. They cry for like a chapter or 2, then they keep going as if nothing happened, but something did happen, and as a reader you can feel that the dynamic of the story is completely messed up because it's missing a vital balancing element (I mean I'd kinda spoil it if I told you exactly what element so I'll refrain from that) and worse still, they are presented with an option to revive this character, to go to (literal) hell to bring htem back and the protagonist at least has every motive to drop everything and do so, and yet... And yet he just acts all mopey and decides to ultimately do nothing about it. It is bizarre that I as some reader would care more about this deceased character than the protagonist, and it broke the illusion for me.
All the seemingly well developed characteres seemed more arbitrary, like they followed the authors whims rather than established personas, when he wants him to be a whimp, the protagonist will be a whimp, when he wants him to go all rambo, he goes all rambo, but only the way that suits the author, not the character itself.
And this way a potentially great story crumbles, the fact that the useless little shit I've hated since it's introduction is still there certainly isn't helping either, because everytime it pops up I'm reminded that it should have been them, if it was an author with any kind of experience, this character would not be here anymore because it's been dead weight for the entire story.
Fortunately, this only happens very late in the story (so late in fact the chapter isn't even available on royalroad yet as I write this, but will probably be available soon) so you can have a blast reading it, but if your favorite character dies, that should be your cue to leave because you most likely will not like what follows.
Anyhow that's it, it's a great story up until the point at which I was so bummed out over an event that I quit the entire thing, and I gave it's ratings based on the good stuff. But I won't forget the bad stuff, I will not be picking this up again, it's been months since I read it and I'm still bitter over it. On the other hand you can take this as a sign of how good the story was, I wouldn't care this much if it was just another mediocre amateur webnovel would I? No this was something more, until it wasn't.
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.
Worth the Candle is the epitome of the LitRpg Genre, speaking as someone who has been reading it on AO3 for months now. This story takes the genre in directions that I haven't seen any other even try. All the while having some of the best character writing in any webfiction ever.
If you enjoy LitRpgs, if you enjoy table top roleplaying, if you enjoy fantasy, or if you enjoy deep characters and complex character progression, then you simply cannot pass over this story.
Read it now.
Worth the candle is a name which can be mentioned in the conversation regarding the very best web-novels, ever.
If that doesn't make you sit up and take notice how about the fact that there's literally a sub-reddit dedicated to discussing each and every chapter as they're released.
This is seriously good stuff, comparable to The Wandering Inn & Mother of Learning in quality.
Plus there is 160 chapters of the stuff. So sit back and enjoy the ride, I know did!
Despite its seemingly hedgy premises, WtC is a great read. The beginning can be of lower quality but the real value of this story becomes apparent when the different magic systems interact the complex Universe gives out glimpses of itself in a relatively "realistic" way (the author is following the "rational" style of writing) and when you discover what drives the story forward.
The characters are well fleshed out and very diverse, with heavy cultural influences from their world.
You probably will not find any story with a similar setting be it in the nature of the world or in the way the characters approach the quest/levelling system.
And last but not least, the author and community are also super nice!
A good beginning based on D&D mecanics, al little bit of PUBG and some delusion. But as the story progresses it becomes more and more an ode to the dead freind of the protagonist and their D&D sessions.
What stars with funny and interesting problems and psychological elements becomes unreasonable especially considering the age of the protagonist. From the was he behaves and acts he should be alteast in his mid 20s.
This total over the top fixation on his friend Arthur, barly a word or emotion about his family. In my opinion Arthur must have atleast filled the roles of mother father and lover all together to pe this prominent in the protagonists thoughts.
So I'm reading this, I'm over half-way through it and the MC is still immensely entitled and whiny (plus a rape arc that wasn't handled well in my opinion where it feels like the author just has a checklist of things he wants to add to the things the characters must go through, it wasn't compelling, just hollow) so yes, I'm half-way through and the MC is still whining and I remember that it makes sense narratively because it's only been 5 or so months in the story so of course the MC will still not change that much. . . BUT, there's the disconnect. Because yes, with a narrative sense, it's reasonable. But physically, it's been thousands of pages and it's only been 5 months and not much growth.
So yeah, lots of great things about this novel. Definitely well written (for the most part) but you need to sorta temper your expectations that the MC will be whiny for a long time and that even tho it will make narrative sense, it will also grind you down because of the page count where he's still whiny and the page count dedicated to his whininess.
Overall, not bad.
An honest reading of the story makes it worth finishing. However there were a few major weaknesses in the overall experience that come down to authorial weaknesses. The piece that makes worth the candle well worth it, and outstrips all the other parts by a massive margin is the worldbuilding. The worldbuilding, or in terms of my review, the style of the world itself, was one of the most interesting and exciting I've read in a long time. For this alone I found the story worth reading till the end. Unfortunately that was the high point of the entire experience. The overall story itself was a little bit haphazard, and mostly tumbled along by author fiat. Definitely with lots of really fun stops along the way, but unfortunatly held together only very loosely by pieces of the previous stop. That along with a fairly lackluster and rushed ending made the overall story just better than readable. Grammar was impeccable, so I didn't find myself ever stuck on simple mistakes. This made the reading experience very smooth. Lastly, and with all honesty I wish I could give a different take, was the character quality. The characters all seemed like they were naturally one dimensional with lots of author exposition as to why they were all special and interesting. Only Juniper read as even remotely complex. The problem is with him, he never had much besides "angsts earth teen dropped off in fantasy world" to make him compelling. Overall this was a fun read, but left me more disappointed that the author failed to live up to the intersting world he created. Would recommend reading till the end but wouldn't get too hopeful for some incredible reading experience.
This is a story that changes as it advances, so it does happen that some readers are put off by the changes and stop liking it at a certain point in the story. However, one thing does not change throughout: the style is quite good, and characters feel alive and are wonderfully written.
In the beginning, this is a more or less regular litRPG, with some "numbers-go-up" that did certainly appeal to me, but probably the best in terms of (again) style, depth of the characters and possibly worldbuilding.
As it advances, the relationships between the characters and the personal growth of the main character become more and more important, and this is honestly what made me fell in love with it.
And, during all of it, metafictional elements also gain relevance, in an exploration that is well done in a way that I honestly didn't think possible, right up to the ending.
All in all, 5/5. Congratulations and a big thanks to the author.
(I only gave 4.5/5 to story because now that it's done, reading it from start to finish it surely must have arcs that are too long, or too short, or whatever. I read it serially for the last ~3 years and had no issue with that, though.)