Tower of Cards 1: Spell Thief [A Progression Fantasy]

Tower of Cards 1: Spell Thief [A Progression Fantasy]

by J Pal

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

No one knows why Gaia's Ark came to Earth, but with it came the secrets of her runic cards.

Almost half a century has passed since prison ships enroute to Australia discovered the mysterious tower. Monarchies, republics, and trading giants came together to build a city around it, and contain the monsters spilling out of the rune-covered structure. The few that dared enter and climb it, learned the magic of Gaia's runic cards. Now, people delve into the tower's depths for fame and fortune or in search of power.

Diya Sen climbs the tower hoping to find clues regarding his missing brother and solve Gaia's mysteries. However, the warring noble houses stand in his way. Only allies and powerful cards will help him overcome obstacles and function outside the nobility's control. His mission won't be easy. Not all cards are made equal and sources of power are outside his—an ordinary man's—reach. If the direct approach won't help Diya achieve his goals perhaps the talents of a Spell Thief will.

This is a rewrite of The Pen Is Mightier. The magic system has been completely changed and the protagonist's fighting style/crafting and everything else is different as a result. There have also been major story point changes. The characters and settings are still mostly the same.


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J Pal

J Pal

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Interesting but strangely written

Reviewed at: Chapter 10

The story is really well-written grammatically and has an interesting premise but all of the writing exemplifies the tell instead of showing flaw. Throughout many points in the story you are told exactly what people think, where things are, people's stances on events happening in the story, and in general poor characterization of people. For example, one character's entire personality is being rude to everyone and clumsy when adventuring with a group in an actual life and death situation. This issue is brought up yet no one denies allowing this individual with them even though his actions have consistently put the rest of the group at serious risk (this issue is pointed out in the story yet no one tries to rectify it). Additionally everyone except the main character seem to have no personality whatsoever. While each one has some interesting tidbit about them, their actual individual personalities don't seem to show with how the author writes them. A good example is how the man interested in the MC's love interest has absolutely no personality besides being described in looks and when out with the party seems to be written in as an afterthought. This person has absolutely no real character or personality besides a weak and rather hastily written motivation to make money. Regardless of these personality writing and show and tell issues though, the story is interesting and written well enough that I absolutely think it is a must read.


I write this review hoping that i can edit it in the future, but for now i'll keep my overall score.

Style: quite cool use of the card system, it's hard to be over powered. The soul cards all begin weak and an upgrade may not be a good one, so the characters have to plan a lot before making changes.

Grammar: english is not my mother language, so i usually don't pay attetion to this, but i have found some commas in wrong places, nothing that break your reading to understand the sentence.

Story: The tower concept is a common trope, author makes interesting by using the colonial era plus fantasy, but i'm hoping for more world building.

Character: the greatest weakness for me, at least for now. MC is a hormonal teen/adult, i only enjoy to read his thoughts when he thinks about fights and cards. The side characters are strange, or they are too good or too evil, no gray characters for now and in a world that have monsters and powerful people, you would think some would be more paranoid about things and have more 'danger sense', but nope, so it's just weird.

Tldr, it's only the beginning, too soon to say it is good or bad, i recommend to give a chance.


Improved take on the original

Reviewed at: Chapter 23A

This is a revised reversion of the authors previous story the Pen is Mightier which was a well written story in an interesting setting with a few issues.  In my opinion all of the changes to this point are improvements.  The new System is more flexible and works better and the changes to events also fix some issues with the original.  I am interested to see where it goes from here.


This story has an interesting premise, a tower-climber with a runic card-collecting system. The setting is unique and captivating, while the action-oriented parts flow smoothly. Writing is generally high quality, with few errors. I'm excited to see the characters develop more as the plot progresses. I reccomend this to anyone willing to give it a shot! 


A likable MC fighting to find his way (and himself) through a collorful and unforgiving alternate fantastic reality. World building is more than adequate so far but is honestly outpaced by the action. Lots and lots of action.

Looking forward to the MC powering up. He's so damn fragile atm

Alex M

Really cool card based system

Reviewed at: Chapter 14A

Tower of Cards is an amazing example of a clever protagonist with badass fighting skills, and it's been executed extremely well. Diya is a great protagonist, and I'm looking forward to his progression as the series continues. It's clear this story has been through a lot of editing, and the end product was definitely worth the time.

I really enjoyed the previous version of this story, The Pen is Mightier, and this new version has seriously improved on it. I absolutely love the new card magic system. It's made for a really fun and inventive character build, and is a ton more flexible than before. A massive improvement. The plot has been ironed out nicely, and some of the minor plot holes or oddities in the old version are fixed.

JP brings his usual style of fast paced, comedic action with fun characters and inventive ideas. The grammar is excellent - I've not spotted any mistakes that have taken me out of the book. If you read the previous version, enough has changed to start from the beginning again. And for new readers, you're getting an extremely polished book. I highly recommend you give it a go. I've been really enjoying the card based litrpgs lately, and this one is great!


Rewrite but almost all new

Reviewed at: Chapter 23B

This is a rewrite of the story Pen is Mightier than the Sword, but almost all of it has changed.  Its a bright fresh story that has ensnared me in its well written prose and view of a Colonial Era that has a fresh view of the era with a spice of life.  The story starts a little slow and you can see the characters start to come to life with their cliche' archtypes already being shown. At this point we are over the toutorial and now looking to see how his run of the GAIA's ARK goes. There are quite a few questions that still need to be answered in the story but that is the fun of the story.