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
The Road ago
The Palace ago

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i came here following a random recommendation on Reddit, not really expecting much. 

But damn. 

This story is so much better than what I expected. The story is enchantingly intricate and deep in a way that I don’t usually see in web novels/serials. And the grammar/punctuation/etc is all on point and such a pleasure to read compared to many other stories I’ve read on Royal Road. 


Honestly probably the the best web serial I’ve ever read. And the first story I ever decided to support on Patreon. 

Keep up the great work!


An order of magnitude better than anything else

Reviewed at: Doe or Doe Not, There is no Try

I’m not sure how to describe Worth The Candle without sounding like a gushing fanboy because that’s exactly what I am. I have read many published novels that weren’t near as good as this. It is engaging, intriguing, thought-provoking, and every other buzz word you can think of. If I had to pick, of all the web novels I follow, only one to keep reading, I would without hesitation pick Worth The Candle. 

Read it, it’s really good.



Worst MC in history

Have you ever gotten annoyed with an MC when reading japanese light novels? Have you ever felt pissed because the MC was a spineless pussy?


Well look no further, this novel brings you what I call the "Ultimate Beta Male" as our protagonist. He is an emotional wreck, he is the embodiment of the social justice warrior archetype, he is weak and spineless. He has no sense of self-worth, no independence and the way he treats his "harem" companions cause me to cringe so hard that I want to kill myself.


Story itself is nothing to write home about. MC stuck in a (very badly written) D&D world, where MC doesn't try to innovate and doesn't try to use his knowledge to gain advantages. I found myself skipping D&D bits because it was just so boring and pointless even though I generally like D&D.


Overall, very shitty MC, horrible side characters, too much white knighting and social justice warrior shit, even in a bloody ruthless D&D world. Instead of having a rational and ruthless MC, we have a submissive little twat who is not calm and steady, but an emotional wreck with no redeeming traits.


The story has potential. however, I am just unable to relate to the characters, which makes the immersion  difficult for me, what made me stop reading was the direccion the author was taking with the story.

i foresee a  harem tag in it later on in the future, that kill it for me. as well as no getting any sense of wonder about the world that the mc is in.

Again, i still don't consider it a bad story, just not for me.


This is not a story about "fighting", and is NOT about "depression", it's about "Fighting Depression".  If the author hadn't hinted at a happy ending early on, this story would NOT be worth the candle.


Love it, simply beautiful

Reviewed at: Level Heads

Unapologetically callous and beautiful. 

You want to be the hero? Are you sure? Because outside of masturbatory fantasies, it's a shitty job. As in "I would rather bash my balls for a week".

No? Too much? Why don't you come and have a read. Let me hear what you think after... 

Salty Panda

I see no point in repeating praises after all others.

It has a depth, it's no a bland isekai where MC fights goblins, throws fireballs and collects a harem. It's rational, has exceptional world-building and believable characters.

But it's sort of dry, boring after a while.


From all other reviews I saw and the blurp I'd expect a fantasy setting with DnD like themes, but instead we have some dystopian post apocalyptic zombie survival abomination. That's fine for those that like such things I guess, but I can't imagine a less interesting setting, would be nice for some hint of it to be present in the description.

Bayesian Fox

Great story ruined by pathetic MC

Reviewed at: Beached

This novel has some very strong points. It has an array of interesting characters, monumental worldbuilding, meta-discourse and self-awareness. It is a shame that those same virtues are also the novel's greatest weakness because it feels so artificial.

I like every character the author has presented to us (even the MC, to some extent), and I believe he/she did a good job in their characterisation. The characters make the story very enjoyable. The MC ruins it all, as I've said, but I will develop that point later on as it will probably take the form of a full rant.

The worldbuilding is very thorough and pleasant, and I particularly like the descriptions of some places. It does lighten up the reading and foster a feeling of wonder in me when the author shows us the magic in the scenes. Up to a point.  In the last chapters I've been skipping the description because it's simply too much. After nearly 200chapters of force-feeding details to the reader, it didn't feel quite as pleasant as in the beginning.

This novel is also very fond of meta. From meta-narrative, to talking about feelings and subjectivity and SJWness... I also liked it in the beginning, but it turned into an obsession (Amaryliss being the result of it).

Communicating feelings is perfectly normal, but the MC has been stuck with his for 200 chapters. He's such a simp that he would let his crush beat him up (three times), reject his feelings in a way I think is cruel, etc.. he doesn't learn. He's supposed to be a thinker, and even though he knows what's going on he does nothing. He believes he was raped, gets confused because it felt good, then gets mopey and try to find somebody to complain/cry. I'm disappointed, because he can't ougrow his patheticness. He's died several times, or often nearly did, he's been on his adventure for years now. He's supposedly fighting to save the world, blablabla... He should be more mature. If he were the same 17yo nerd as in the beginning, sure, but after 200chapters? (yes, I repeat it because it's important)

If Juniper was less of a scrub, I would probably be continuing reading this story. I don't find it interesting to read chapters full of commiserations when he's got the brain and the power to deal with his problems. It's a shame most MCs are like this nowadays. Lots of powers, lots of ethics, lots of 'smarts', but they lack the guts to be enjoyable. They're weakwilled and underwhelming everywhere but presumably in combat, where they must win or the story can't advance.