The Many Lives of Cadence Lee

by vladerag

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

Cadence Lee thought she was a normal girl, perhaps a little well to do, but not exceptionally so.  She had her college classes, she had her job that her uncle gave her, and she had a nice boyfriend who was sweet if a little awkward.

Except, when a mugger accosts Cadence and her boyfriend attempts to wrestle a gun away from the criminal, Cadence ends up shot.  A normal girl, with the kind of wound Cadence had, would die.  Cadence managed to do that part.  But a normal girl wouldn't then open her eyes again and learn that death is not as permanant for her as it is for other people.  She can be reborn again, and again.  Each time stronger and with new abilities.

The catch?  Any world she is born into, she can never return to.  She has infinite lives, but only one life for each.

So begins The Many Lives of Cadence Lee.

[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]

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vladerag

vladerag

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter One - First Death ago
Chapter Two - Second Life ago
Chapter Three - Kidnapping ago
Chapter Four - Escape ago
Chapter Five - Awakening to a Class ago
Chapter Six - Whirlwind ago
Chapter Seven - Debut ago
Chapter Eight - War and Hate ago
Chapter Nine - Second Death ago
Chapter Ten - Third Life ago
Chapter Eleven - The Beginning of Something New ago
Chapter Twelve - Politics and Plans ago
Chapter Thirteen - Slaves and Salt ago
Chapter Fourteen - Bound Reeds and Sharpened Knives ago
Chapter Fifteen - The Flower of Sharon'An ago
Chapter Sixteen - An Order and an Opportunity ago
Chapter Seventeen - Marriage ago
Chapter Eighteen - Departure ago
Chapter Nineteen - The City of Ugareet ago
Chapter Twenty - Travels ago
Extra - Ancient Aliens, Maybe. ago
Chapter Twenty One - Metal and Prayer ago
Chapter Twenty Two - Acceleration ago
Chapter Twenty Three - Many Unexpected Things ago
Chapter Twenty Four - Third Death ago
Chapter Twenty Five - Fourth Life ago
Chapter Twenty Six - The Importance of Acuity and Willpower ago
Chapter Twenty Seven - (relatively) Big Game Hunting ago
Extra - Spooky Ghost ago
Chapter Twenty Eight - Evolving ago
Chapter Twenty Nine - Toadpocalypse ago
Chapter Thirty - Eye of Newt ago
Chapter Thirty One - I could have been a Youtube star ago
Chapter Thirty Two - Small Grind ago
Chapter Thirty Three - I HAVE HANDS! ago
Chapter Thirty Four - Passing Seasons ago
Chapter Thirty Five - Transitions ago
Chapter Thirty Six - Birds of Prey, But Not Birds of a Feather ago
Chapter Thirty Seven - Babel Town ago
Chapter Thirty Eight - Everyone Needs a Friend ago
Chapter Thirty Nine - A Quick Peek Behind the Curtain ago
Chapter Forty - First Quest, Part I ago

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sandro530
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Until now this is nearly a perfect story. Funny, using a good idea and a normal person, as in not someone abnormal. And showing emotional growth while still making a nice story.

Style: Is really good, funny and entertaining. (The only thing bothering me is the Authors low self-esteem, you managed to make (the beginning of)a really good story. Be more confident in yourself!)

Grammar: Haven't found any problems here.

Story: While there isn't an overarching plot like in 'The Ascendant: Endless Reincarnation' we have got some storylines already.

While the first one came to an abrupt ending like her life did, the second one is branching out more, also with notes from the future + an Interlude from the future. Which is pretty good.

Characters: Also no problems here. With emotional growth as I said. (The 4,5 only because I'm petty and don't want to give full stars.).

All in all this is quite a lot better than 'In Loki's Honor'. Considerably better. The author vladerag, like 'In Loki's Honor' also said this was a rough draft in an authors note. But I can't really understand what he meant with that. There isn't really anything that stands out (problem wise), or is needing change. While the first lifes end, kind of was very abrupt, it was very much realistic. And thankfully, different than 'In Loki's Honor' the MC won't have, a too overpowered 'cheat'.

I would definitely recommend this. Regarding the title... here is what I think:

Cadence Lee is pretty much just a name and the first chapter. We don't know much about her other than that she went to school had a boyfriend and a good family situation. While her achievement list kind of explained a lot of what she did with her life, other than that. There isn't much else we know about her. So another title would definitely be appropriate.

On the other hand though. It is quite difficult to find a good title for short and especially for long stories. This title gives the story a starting point and the following stories as an anthology a good summary, what would be of concern though would be the endgame. Will she remain only as a relic and a memory to all the worlds she visited, or will she become something different and continue living. Well better worry about that after some hundred chapters. (Hopefully)

Anyway I hope this story continues as it has and doesn't stop at a hiatus as 'The Ascendant: Endless Reincarnation' did.

Falc0n
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

An all-around enjoyable read. While I originally found the idea of rapidly changing settings off-putting, the good main character, well-built worlds, and enthralling story quickly changed my mind.

The main character finds herself shunted into fantasy realms, complete with the generic 'system', but that is not the focus of the story. Generally, the story is focused on how the main character interacts with these different realms, and what she accomplishes through her time spent there. Seeing how her actions affected the different worlds far into the future keeps me going chapter to chapter. While the first realm might seem generic, it does a good job setting up the MC's development, leading into a beautiful second realm where she makes good decisions (though not perfect, thankfully) and confronts the ancient land anew. 

Both the style and story are well put together for a serial of this type, and the characters are relatable, and period-accurate. As the story can feel un-planned as the periods change I gave it less than 5 stars, but they are assembled well, and each individual experience feels planned.

The grammar leaves nothing to be desired, so five stars there.

If you have the time, give it a read!

starvingsloth
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The story's premise is so simple yet so original that I'm baffled and perplexed that I've never come across any with a similar hook with Many Life of Cadence Lee. If done well, this story could very well be the next Mother of Learning (*at least on Royal Road). And no, I'm not comparing them because they have the same premise, not even close. But in terms of the story's potential, there are countless possibilities where the next life could possibly take place or what kind of adventure Cadence would face. It's all only limited by what the author can imagine, and that's the magic of reading this story. 

Warning: this review may contain minor spoilers of the early chapters.

Plot Summary - Multiple Lives - Experiencing a tragic death, Cadence woke up in a white room dubbed as an Incarnation chamber and soon reincarnated into another world - possibly with magic. From the event (and the title of the story, duh), we can imply that this won't be her last life. Soon, we will see the Incarnation chamber again when Cadence's second life ends. What surprised me is how soon that is.

Plot Summary - Countless Possibility - Reincarnation is one of the generic tropes that is already tackled in many other stories. It's rare to see it used multiple times in the same narrative. On top of that, there is a unique twist in that she won't return to the same world. She only gets one chance in each world. That fact alone makes it feel original and refreshing. It opens the potential that the events introduced in each planet can be (and will be) different while simultaneously guarantees that the plot thread will be resolved (or at least attempted to be finished) by the end of the world run. This is so exciting! I can't wait to see how many worlds we will experience with Cadence. 

Plot Summary - Time, literally, jumps - I really like that the time jumps aren't used sparingly. It is frequent enough - at least in the first few lives - to have time jumps in the range of years. In a typical isekai or time loop story, we often get a growing-up montage about how genius the protagonist seems. I love how the author has skillfully spared the readers from unnecessary details and always cut to the meat of the actions, if possible - which makes each event in the world feel even more important and meaningful.

Plot Summary - Missing Overarching Plot - The only critic I can give is the missing overarching plot of the story. But that can be attributed to the mysterious nature of the Incarnation chamber, and hopefully, we'll learn about it more in the consequential runs.

World Building - A new life, A new world - Cadence's first lives are short, but they are unique enough to warrant a distinct feeling for each of the worlds we experienced. The author is also smart enough to acknowledge the possibility of variance in how the System may work on each individual planet, which opens up exciting opportunities we may experience with Cadence.

Character - Smart, calm, and emotionally healthy - So far, the impression I got from Cadence is that she's relatively smart and knows various trivia from her early life. She is capable of making intelligent decisions on how to live her life. We were also shown that she could cope with her emotions, although it may take years. Living multiple lives, with the grief of the past, must take a fair amount of mental fortitude on her part. Other than that, knowing she's the only reincarnator (for now) and nobody is ever going to understand her makes us want to root for her. I like her a lot, but maybe I'm also reading too much into her psyche.

Grammar and Style - A vocal author with many typos - There are lots of typos and some minor POV mistakes, but the author has acknowledged this and is willing to fix it (he/she is working on the story late at night). I'd say that the author is very knowledgeable and reachable. The author's lengthy discussion with another reader in the comment sections is fascinating, and I think having a vocal author for a web series is definitely one of its strengths. I know this isn't a valid point to review, but I just want to put it out there.

Conclusion - I think I'm lucky to have found this story. Definitely going to keep an eye on it, and I hope you will too. If you like a smart protagonist, episodic stories, and the idea of multiple isekai, you should definitely read this story. Some parts in the earlier chapter may get repetitive (the achievements), but it's only temporary, and I think it's just a minor quirk of the story.

Final Score - 9,5/10. Not perfect, but I could see this blows up in the future!

melzelaya
Overall

I really enjoyed the idea of this piece, however it doesn't hit all the right spots for me. The second life cadence has(battlemaid) isn't as impactful as I feel it should be to the reader. The side characters are pretty shallow with few insights into who they are, and even with the Egypt life I still found myself uninterested in cadence in that life or with the people surrounding her. What really stopped me reading though, was the sex and I know there's a warning for it but the whole arranged marriage reminded me too much of A Thousand Splendid Suns. The book itself is pretty good but I found the sex bit too unenjoyable and the characters too flat.

OblivionCultist
Overall

World hopping multi-life adventure. The MC reacts honestly to loss of families and the trauma at the end of a life and the start of a new one. I've really enjoyed this story so far and the updates come steadily. I'll avoid spoilers but so far the jump between didn't styles of tropes has been fresh and non-repetitive. The MC isn't a mary sue and perfect at everything.

A Sword Saint
Overall

Fun concept, boring execution.

The author seems to be writing this story as a kind of reaction or satire of it's own concept. With the amount of times the story teases a development that would actually be an enjoyable payoff or progression of the narrative, and then goes a different direction that falls completely flat, it get's old really fast.

The primary example of lack of satisfying payoff is the core mechanic itself - the 'incarnation system' that causes the MC to reinarnate in a new world each time she dies. After every death, there is a full chapter wrapup where the MC visits the white space between worlds to have her life graded by the system so that she can recieve points that can be spent in order to improve her abilites. This isn't a unique concept and it has been done in many stories before. It's actually one of the most fun parts of a story, seeing the 'xp' roll in all at once, seeing how the MC's abilities improve, guessing the end game 'build' based on the current direction, and getting excited to see how the MC takes advanatge of these new strengths going forward.

 

In any other story with even a remotely similar premise this would be the case, not in this one though. Here, this is a tedious and unfulfilling process that you will begin to roll your eyes at after the first few deaths.

The main issue here that makes this such a slog is how incredibly little it matters. The mc on her first death is in denial that this is really happening and so makes some poor choices, then on her second death she is too depressed to care and so dismissively makes some bad choices to get it over with and move on... so we end up going through this long process (and it is a long and tedious process filled with very weak attempts at humor) several times before the first time where the MC makes any legitimate effort into spending her points in a useful way... but that doesn't really matter either because the system is so stingy its rediculous. 

In addition to the various skills that the MC learns throughout their lives not carrying over to later lives, the amount of points that the MC must spend to make the tiniest permenant power gain makes the process just so dull and unfun. To put it in perspective - the MC can spend her points either to add to the base stat bonus she recieves in every life or she can buy a skill that is derived from her accomplishemnts in a previous life. This would be fine, except the cost-value of these purchases is extremly poorly tuned. It takes all of her points from a whole life to raise a few of her stats by a few % (less than 5 usually) and she starts on a scale that puts her at average or below average human. As an added kick in the teeth, every 10% the cost actually doubles because it wasn't steep enough of a price apparently. So youre looking at probably dozens of lives spent only raising base stats before the MC starts to approach being significantly above average (not super impressive mind you, just above average) and so far after 350 pages the MC has gone through less than 5 lives (and thats including the 1 'free' life she got from starting the story dead).

Stat gains during the life also don't carry over to the next life. So raising stats is extremely tedious. 

As for buying cool skills instead? Forget about it. Any skill that's not the lamest and most restricted version costs literaly 2-10x more than what shes been earning for entire lives where she's done things as impressive as make a huge impact on history. So she can get 1% in a handful of stats per life, or pick up something like 'read books 25% faster' or 'deal 5% extra damage if you attack with killing intent'. These numbers might be meaningful a thousand lives later when the MC actually has enough other abilities and base stats for a few % to be meaningful, but for now and the vastly forseable future don't expect the MC to do anything interesting with these 'incarnator' skills and stats.

Now, you may be thinking 'those numbers are small but they add up over time and in a mundane world even small supernatural abiltiies could be leveraged into a huge advantage!' That's true, if the author had the foresight or interest to base this story in an otherwise mundane setting it would be very possible for the MC's accumulated minor advantages to be strong enough that with clever use the MC could actually make interesting progress. Having a few % more endurance, strength, or speed could help her in a life as a pro athlete for example and surely then MC could find some way to turn a minor power like '25% less fatigued while doing math' into a tool that could be used to accomplish much in the way of a career path. That's all irrelevant though, because instead all of the lives so far have taken place in fantasy worlds with magic and their own systems that allow any 10 year old (literally) to have so many crazy powerful skills and abilities that the things the MC gains from her incarnation system are basically completely worthless garbage in comparison. That extra 10% intellegence stat doesn't mean anything in front of literal Skills that give people the abilitiy to be gifted knowledge and calculation answers just by looking at things, let alone the ability to turn completely invisible, teleport, or throw magically heal wounds. 

I can't be sure whether the author is just being extremely overly cautious to the point of tedium about not wanting the MC to get too strong too fast or whether maybe they didn't want to give the MC any kind of long term growth in the first place and only incuded that because it could make the story more popular or what the deal is. I do know that the author has made a habit of rushing through parts that they admit they got bored with and outright killing off the MC whenever they feel like moving on to a new world, so perhaps it would be best to just view this 'story' as a collection of short stories featuring a single reused character rather than the jump-chain through original settings that it advertises itself to be.

Honestly can't recommend this story if the description is what drew you in since it paints a picture that doesn't match at all with the actual content. You may still find that you like it because you enjoy what is effectively a string of historical slice of life stories with a side of system flavored handwaving on how society is structured, but its not what I came here for and I doubt most people did either.

gte22
Overall

At long last! You won't regret reading this one :)

Reviewed at: Chapter Twenty Three - Many Unexpected Things

It is a wonderful story and I highly recommend reading it, absolutly fantastic. A story where you live one life after another with your achivements allowing you to improve upon your chances in future lives. An excellent premise that can be very difficult to do sucessfully. The author has here very much manged to do just that.

I'm happy with the pacing, some parts of a life going by very quickly with other more important and interesting parts being detailed and very well written. As of the twenty third chapter I'm sitting between wanting to see how the life goes, because it has been an amazing life so far, and wanting to see how highly such a life will be scored. The little glimses into the far future where the characters impact upon history is the subject of study is a great touch, absolutly love it! On that note I would love to see a glimse at Hemetra taking part in designing her own tomb, specifically the stela, with some toughts about how this will really make them wonder in the future. Would be very fun to read.

I have been on the lookout for a story with a similar premise to this one ever since The Ascendant: Endless Reincarnation stopped updating. This story followes a similar premise with its own unique twists. The fact that it is more focused on the characters impact upon the world and not just an ascension to something greater gives in a fresh new feel while still satisfying the itch that The Ascendant: Endless Reincarnation left. The fact that it is written from a female perspective also gives the lives a different tone than most world transfer fictions, as the main character is more vunerable and is actually aware of this. No destory everything scorched earth style. This is a character that plans and works to avoid getting killed, using charisma and personal interactions (including just hiding from people). Will also be honest here, chapter Seventeen was amazingly well written. If you try reading the story at the very least read up to there, when I'm saying it was well written I really mean it. 10/10 great job!

To summarize for the TLDR crowd: A really well written story that I would recommend highly! Definetly read up to chapter 17, you won't regret it. Absolute masterpiece.

TheDragonBeyondTheGate
Overall

While the story is just beginning, we see our protagonist move into her second life with advantages from her first, but over all modest ones. She's not setup to be the hero who can change everything. While her knowledge from earth gives her a better starting point, she hasn't leveraged that into anything big, which is understandable.

She also has the power to buy advantages "between" incarnations, but what she got the first time was modest.

It's looking like her second life won't be a long one, which makes sense. Concidering the point costs of the various advantages she can buy between, it seems like most of her lives will be short.

It's an interesting start, but we'll have to see where this goes.

 Jimjam
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Watching someone die has never been more fun.

Reviewed at: Chapter Forty - First Quest, Part I

The premise of the story is fairly basic: the main character dies and wakes up in a fantasy world with RPG mechanics. Stats and Skills dominate life, society is stratified with the rich and powerful living almost like gods compared to the lower classes, and the main character needs to fight their way to the top.
Until they die again, and have to start over.
This is a story that rewards proactive character who try to make a difference in the world, but who can't wave their hand to get their way. The protagonist needs to think and act rationally across different time periods and worlds. The more they live (and die) the more they grow.
The worlds are interesting and diverse. The author is inspired from real-world history, which leads to settings that feel real.
The characters are interesting, though unfortunately the nature of the story means that we don't see other characters aside from the main one really grow as people.
The writing is well done. No real issues with spelling/grammar. e: Since I wrote this review, I've noticed the writing has some issues. I'm not sure if the author changed their style, or if I just didn't notice, but it's going to take some points off.
All said, I give this story a 4.5/5. It's a very good read that I think anyone would like, not just those who are fans of litRPGs.

Sayeth We
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Interesting concept with a pretty good execution.

Reviewed at: Chapter Thirty Seven - Babel Town

It's a really cool concept. cool enough that even though this is my first story with it, I imagine it's already an archetype of its own somewhere. Multiple reincarnation, but in different worlds. Kind of a loop-light, I suppose. I do look forward to each life, and the intermissions of previous worlds after she leaves them.

First, I must adress the outlier:
I rated Style low because I, personally, do not enjoy using square brackets to denote [Skills] or [Classes] when any semi-intelligent reader could have figured it out from context. I find it breaks up the story. Cadence Lee does that with its representations. If that's fine or even good for you, go for it.

With Grammar:
I don't notice many issues. That's not to say there are none. It just means I don't recall the ones I've seen, if I even made note of them the first time. No glaring spelling issues, maybe(?) a misplaced punctuation mark here or there. Nothing that would turn you away from reading unless you're the worst, most annoying pedant I've ever met, and that would be something.

Characters:
I'm not a great judge here, especially as I can't articulate what's good or bad about most characters. But what I can do is give you comparisons to other stories on RR I enjoyed and didn't like so you can draw your own conclusions. I didn't like Vainquer's characters, so it's fair to say these are differently written from that. I enjoy the characters of Seaborn, The Menocht Loop, and Blessed Time. So if you enjoyed those characters and how they were portrayed, it's a fair chance you'll enjoy these ones too.