The Stained Tower
[A LitRPG hybrid for those looking for something unique, yet familiar.]
Book 1 - 'The Tower's Prelude' - Synopsis:
A story & LitRPG told through the eyes of a 16th-century woman. Live through her struggles to understand both herself and the ebbing alien world she now inhabits. Watch as she grows more adept at coping with her various limitations and monster-esque existence. And smile when her silliness and quirkiness bubble to the surface in contrast to her circumstances.
Her journey is a chaotic roller coaster and her destination is an utter mystery, but like she did most of her life, she will find a way to make it.
Book 2 - 'The Commoners Seek Strength' - Synopsis:
A Tower sprouts and rises before the eyes of tens of thousands, and Constance Nightingale, a spiritual & material fusion known as a Kiln, takes her place as the Tower's Mistress. Some cheer, some scowl, and some pray that the Tower shall help them weather the coming hardships. Bear witness to the slow fall of the city that never sleeps and the rapid rise of something new.
Book 2 Tags: Action, Adventure, Dungeon, Fantasy, Female Lead, LitRPG, Low Fantasy, Magic, Non-Human Lead, Ruling Class, Supernatural, & Urban Fantasy
- This isn't a tower climber story.
- LitRPG elements are introduced in Chapter 5. Start increasing Chapter 7/8. The majority of LitRPG fans that read up to Chapter 9 keep reading.
- Dungeon stuff really doesn't kick off until Book 2.
- It's written as a first-person narrative. Experience the world through the MC's eyes, thoughts, and viewpoint.
- The MC speaks archaically, but it's simplified.
- Book 1 & Book 2 covers were commissioned for use with this novel only. Artist (Possible NSFW Material)
Any feedback, reviews, or support is appreciated.
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This story is definitely not your usual run-of-the-mill fiction. There are things I have never seen from other Royal Road stories before. Give it a try!
The review contains a minor spoiler of the early chapters.
Plot and Summary - Magic System that feels Fresh - Constance is a young girl from medieval London. She was falsely accused as a witch and executed. Ironically, after her execution, she indeed became a ‘witch’. She got introduced to the ‘System’ in the purgatory. The way the introduction is done is fascinating. Even though I’m pretty sure, this is not the first fiction to try to write the System introduction that way. I don’t know why, but it just feels fresh to me.
Plot and Summary - Plot Twist - After being reborn, she was later teleported to a place that I did not expect at all. (Although, after reading carefully, it’s stated in the synopsis; I did not read the summary besides the first three sentences). It feels good to experience the twist when you read it (chapter 6). I hope the story contains many such twists in the future.
Plot and Summary - Good pacing - The pacing is okay, not too slow, and not too fast. It seems like there’s plenty of opportunities for the story to delve deep into how the magic works as well as the challenges Constance will face to survive as the witch.
World Building - Transitional scenes could be better - The author tried to make sure each place Nightingale visits feels distinct and different from one another. Some of it is good, like the setting of the purgatory and the atmosphere around Constance’s execution and revival. Some transitional scenes, though, need more exposition to not feel jarring.
Character - A bit meek - Constance should have experienced a harsh past, but I don’t think it shows in her behaviours. Maybe it’s because it’s still too early in the story, or perhaps I read too much into it. But as of now, I don’t really care for her. My main issue is, she should express more of her feelings. She should be resentful for being falsely accused. She should be more fierce and aggressive to survive better and avoid the purgatory again. Instead, she’s a bit meek and taking it easy (in my opinion). It’s not necessarily bad, but I think it just makes it harder to believe her, resonate with her feelings, or be empathetic with her. (I may be a bit too harsh since the story is still so early, but let's see)
Grammar and Style - Monologues - Another criticism for the story is lack of dialogue. As of now, Constance is often alone. Most of the things she does, she does alone (duh). She only talks to the System (that often doesn’t reply). And she does a lot of monologues. That can get old fast. I hope she has someone to interact with, other than the System.
Grammar and Style - Archaic English - One of the most noticeable things in the story is its usage of archaic forms of English. It might seem strange at first, but the author has done an excellent job to make it still comprehensible to read. I learned a few new words here and there. It also piques my interest in word etymology and how language evolves.
Conclusion - It’s refreshing, in a way. Read this if you’re also interested in archaic English, and possibly unique magic systems.
Final Score - 9/10. Plenty of opportunities to grow into a great story.
Hear me out, because it takes everything you knew of Litrpg and instances related to it and twist it like nothing you saw before.
Now, it’s a bit tricky to explain without taking the fun away from you, so exact wording will be necessary to spoil, without you realizing, because you can and will guess as to where some things are going.
First the easy stuff, grammar (heh, grammar... easy);
It’s not easy to write with the PoV of a MC with the background of Constance, but here it is done, well executed, without errors or misspelling and a lot of humorism. Really, nothing I found to complain about.
Story and Style I like to mesh into one: like a said in the preface, here the Author takes Litrpg and make it its own. You have stats, but some work with unique mechanics for applaying, other are a bit more obscure and probably work differently and have varying, if similar, effects depending on your origin (this is speculation based on recent happenings with MC). The world settings are something you can be familiar about if you read “system integration” stories, but yet again I found it personal enough (to the story) to feel fresh and unique.
Now, to the Character scores. I always find this the hardest to review since it’s arguably the most important part.
Costance. Our little “Fairy” is a person who struggled in life. A lot. Striving for something she was always denied. Pettiness, mistreatments, hunger and cold of both body and heart, constantly on the move, always the other, the different, the pariah, the cast aside. Flung into something she has not the means to understand and the support of no one that can understand.
Don’t thee get scared away though, for this is not a gloom and loomy story. Yes it is dark at times and more is to come, but despite everything that happened and happens to her, Constance has a candlelight brightness to herself, strenght to keep going and a bit of bantering to keep herself in, well, good spirit.
A second major character, that we saw for some time, was introduced in more detail recently and they bring more understanding for themselves and Constance personalities, and those chapters were what convinced me to give this review. For both of them, not just the MC. I won’t go in more details because I don’t won’t to give it away. Those were well written by the feelings and char development PoV, while moving forward the plot. A win-win by writing standards, if I may say so.
While there may be more I could say, I feel anything further will just be rambling on on my part, I’m out of thoughts. Give it a try. It takes a bit to start going but with 60 chapter already out and the plot kicking in, I’m fairly sure the story will convince you to keep on reading it.
It has been a while since a read something as original as this.
The main character is not really good or evil, her main objective is to simply survive in a very strange world. There are many elements that you will see in other novels in RR, but where in most others those elements fell overused, here there are used in a refreshing way.
Many, many stories that focus exclusive on the POV of a single main character, end up failing and fizzingly out because the main character just isn't interesting to carry the full weight of the readers attention.
So far, this doesn't seem likely to happen with The Stained Tower.
We have a MC whose amusing, goofy, mischievious and clearly traumatised. Each of those aspects are very convincing. On top of that she's believably feminine, intelligent in her own way and yet not displaying any of the "I'm the author" symptoms that so regularly plague single POV stories.
Combine these successes with this stories REALLY fun and unique twist of a relatively common setting, and you've got yourself a triple-7 on the slot machine.
Simply put, this story is a really rare find where the author is set on progressing the story at the pace that they can comfortably tell it. None of the chapters I read felt meaningless or rushed. They all had their place, building in experiences and explanations and questions.
My main (and only) nit-pick would honestly be the system screens. While it's apparent the "Cosmic System" is going to play an integral role in this story, they seem to be a bit over-used as info dumping, while still being remarkably confusing and unexplained. That said, I have no doubt much of this will be satisfactorily explained in the future, and I honestly cannot wait to read it.
I don't give out to many 5 / 5's but this one absolutely deserves it. Frankly speaking, it's leagues better than a decent number of other Trending novels i've read. Keep up the good work Author.
Although this story is still very much in its infancy, it is a unique and interesting enough tale to warrant a preliminary review even though I generally shy from such practices. I have read up through chapter 27 at the time of this review.
Many litrpgs start off with a quick sterile reincarnation sequence and an exposition dump about how the new world and its system work followed by the protagonist adapting almost imediately to thier insane new existence. This tale, in contrast, begins with a subjective whirlwind of confusion and emotion that is anything but clean, straitforward or sterile.
The story is written from a first person perspective and has a very stream of conciousness feel to it that leaves the reader experiencing much of the disorientation and uncertainty the protagonist does as she goes through the nightmare of her death and what comes after.
Reincarnation litrpgs almost universally suffer from a tendency to have absolutely aweful opening setups to the point that "truck-kun" running over generic self-insert crash test dummies has become an outright meme, so it's nice to see a protagonist with a unique origin story and a fun and distinctive voice for a change.
After the initial disorientating rebirth of our MC, the story really begins to pick up when she starts exploring the world around her and interacting with the people inhabiting it. Each character has a distinctive voice and thier own thoughts and agendas and other than one quite obvious instance, it's not even immediately clear who may end up being friend or foe.
Like almost all the titles in this genre, it takes a bit of time to weave together the innitial premise and get to the meat of the story, but there are already hints of over arching mysteries and larger plots unfolding in the world that Constance has awoken to, and she has been a fun and interesting enough lead to carry us through to this point where the story begins in earnest. I look forward to what lies ahead. This story has a lot of promise.
My luck has been good recently when it comes to late-night updates. I've found some interesting stories that I would have missed earlier in the day. The story solves a mystery that archeologists have struggled with for centuries, so good on the author, and I actually care about the MC. Most people will probably enjoy this, so check it out.
This is a slightly early review as only 3 chapters are out right now but I love the other novel from this author so I figured I may as well.
So far this novel is very interesting and engaging, it has an exciting premise and plenty of potential to progress and stay interesting. Spelling and grammar is basically flawless (I'm not that knowledgeable about older English but from what I know the author has done a good job), the character development is great and I'm definetely looking forward to more. Would definetely recommend.
I want to be clear, it is not perfect but this is a hidden gem that was an incredible read. I loved reading it and if you like a occationally comedic misunderstanding and sassy response in your semi-dark fantasy you will love it. (Darkness fluctuates discussed below)
It has real-feeling emotions for the MC, who has personality who progresses emotionally in the story. (Some issues below) Meanwhile the MC almost always feels like she is actually a 16th century woman, not a temporary mask that is taken off the chapter after talking to someone. (Which again was great!)
Now that I have clarified that this is probably the best story I have read in several months (and I read a lot), it does have a couple issues I want to bring up if the author reads this.
MC maturity level fluctuates, sometimes dramatically.
Morality fluctuates occationally (it would have been good to tie it to her past)
She starts to trust people a bit too quickly in my opinion about the middle of book 1.
Her abilities in the tower are pretty vague. (Some mystery is good, but it is not clear how much control she has and differences between the tower and exterior monsters, EXP boost? Treasures? Etc)
Detailes in spoiler
You made your MC a tough emotionally mature character in the prologue (I loved it). But while she walked to her own execution instead of trying to flee, dissects and kills animals often. She even acknowledges she was a thief, sometimes she acts like a kid.
I know the darkness scars her mentally... But that maturity just fluctuates. It might be better if she acknowledged in the story.
However i love that she is making progress on being mature, I just want it to be clear she is addressing the scars as she was already pretty tough before.
The story darkness also fluctuates a bit too. Being wrongly stoned and hanged then lost in never ending darkness is dark... Then later she hangs out with mr gentleman monkey. I am NOT saying comedy is bad, it is actually one of the best points, but very little is dark anymore... Making it feel a bit weird... Honestly would be fixed by forcing terra to personally kill an assassin and having Miss nightingale watch someone die in the tower.
Sometimes she is afraid to hurt people by using her mist, and other times she perminately cripples a man and would have absolutely killed him (16th century injuries like that would absolutely have killed him and she is still not aware how advanced medicine is... even if the rapist might deserve it)
Honestly she was a theif most of her life, so tying some of her choices to her atitude of 'whatever it takes' would help when she makes decisions like making a tower for people to die in. Because otherwise she seems too nice to make that decision.
Finally the bennifits, limitations, and risks of the tower need to be explained. I think it is implied that you can get treasure from the tower to help you grow, but it is not clear so sometimes it seems weird to wait so long to go in when you could just hunt in the sewers.
Even with some minor issues personally I loved it
A very original story. It will take some odd turns, that's for sure. It doesn't have a simple system. The system is a little hard to fully understand.
It starts out as an accused witch and colonial America. She gets burned at the stake even though she wasn't really a witch. After that it gets a little strange. She is returned from the void a changed person. By that I mean she isn't human anymore. I'm not sure wtf she is but she definitely isn't human.
Now she ends up in the modern world during a system apocalypse. Given that she is more of a monster than a women I think this will go badly for her.
A good read if your into stories that are a little different. Even though there is a system and she has a class it a not anything simple.
Definitely recommend this, if only for how new and fresh it is, especially for a litrpg.
The writing style is immersive af, Tilted_Axis can definitely set a scene. The very first words of the first chapter drop you right into an idyllic New World sunset. Just before the MC gets hanged. Everything gets described in terms a 1500's woman would use and its very consistent. +1 for authenticity.
The story is my main gripe. Nothing particularly egregious, but like most litrpgs, the system is basically the whole plot (at least as of chapter 10). I don't mind overmuch, since this particular system is actually different from all the rest, but it's something to be aware of.
The grammar is great, the author blends the Elizabethan era english of the MC with the modern, concise english we use today and, despite a few hiccups, it works well. People unfamiliar with this specific way of speaking may have trouble however.
The character is by far my favouroite part of this story, you can really feel her confusion at her new environment and curiosity at the system that saved her life. Her interactions with the futuristic system are always a pleasure to read, since she has a 16th century education and basically every word used is new to her. Very strong character building, full five stars.
Overall this is a definite follow. Read this story