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You Need To Twig This (ohgod I’m so sorry but the pun was right there)

By Billy Higgins Peery, author of A Bad Idea

Jun 13, 2015: You should be reading Twig.

For all the serials I’ve reviewed, I’ve never said that, because I don’t like telling people what they should or shouldn’t be reading. Everyone has different tastes, life can get busy. I get that.

But if you like web serials, if you’re interested in seeing someone play with the form, if you want to see one of our best authors get better, or if you just want a strangely gripping read, you should be reading Twig.

Most people here have probably read something of Wildbow’s. At the least they have a vague idea of who he is: that guy who writes really dark tales. His worlds often have a lot of imagination and the conflict is always rising, but the dialogue and characterization can be hit-or-miss.

Here, Wildbow switches things up. While the world of Twig is fascinating (alternate history shaped by Frankensteinian science), the characters are even better.

Sy the protagonist is a real stand-out: he’s a little prick of the highest order, a 12-year-old agent of chaos who gets the job done while still managing to give the middle finger to the Man. The supporting cast is good too, though the various things that make each of them interesting are best left for surprise.

The dialogue’s great. This is something worth mentioning, because it’s been the weakest element of some of Wildbow’s other works. Usually the characters talk strategy with each other, but lack the nuance, the tics, the rapport that one expects from actual human conversation. Here it’s different. The dialogue has all of these things, which serves to enrich the characters themselves.

The way conflict works is also worth nothing. In both Worm and Pact, the conflict rose and rose, with little to alleviate the tension. But Twig is structured differently; it’s episodic.

Each arc, which is roughly ten to twelve chapters, tells a story about Sy and co. taking down an enemy. They learn about the enemy, fight it, deal with setbacks, and eventually take it down. In this way, Twig is as much a series of novellas as it is one big serial.

It gives a fun, different vibe—one in which not everything feels hopeless. The myth arc is still there—this is all building up to something, and Heaven help the main characters when it does—but Wildbow’s having a lot of fun here.

Fun, funny, dark, intense, strange, appealing: this serial’s got it all.

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