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WARD

From Worm to Ward – Arc 1 Review

By Feam, member

Dec 10, 2017: [This review contains meta spoilers for "Worm", as this series is a sequel to it. Though if you’ve read Worm and you’re not yet sure whether Ward will give you what you want, read ahead!]

Balancing a consistent theme with interesting twists while retaining reader interest, all throughout a lengthy and complex Web serial, is really tough. Wildbow has mentioned it before.

Yet creating an entirely new piece that manages to connect to the first, approach the same world from an entirely new angle, address the shortcomings of the first work and build on its high points, all the while satisfying old readers and attracting new ones alike – That has to be ten times harder.

And in just a single arc, Wildbow has proven that he can nail that.

Worm had a lot of elements that people applaud it for (World-building, a vast cast of realistic and interesting characters, incredibly cinematic and evocative scenes, an incredibly well executed Power system with heaps of depth and polished concepts), but also some others that were considered controversial or unsavory to certain readers (A constant sense of escalation with an unforgiving pace, a somewhat unreliable narrator that painted the world in a particular light and perspective)

While things may change in the coming arcs, Ward shows conscious effort to address, and at times subvert the expectations and trends built from Worm – all the while retaining the familiar writing style of Worm, with added years of refined expertise.

Worm’s perspective of tactical pragmatism to every encounter and social situation is supplanted by a view based on emotion and empathy, which lets us delve deeper into the characters’ personalities rather than the specific situations they’re at.

Worm’s focus on conflict and escalation is replaced with recovery (both within and without) and resolution, with a main character that has a dynamic personality and strong experiences in the original series that shaped her into the perfect lens for the new world.

As much as Ward feels like a response to Worm, it manages to keep that same sense of mystery, of a grand and sublime world with extraordinary people worth exploring. It also keeps that sense of intimacy between the first-person main character and the readers, allowing you to live through her experiences in a way very few works of fiction can capture.

It may be too soon to come to a final verdict, but to me, Ward feels like the perfect follow-up to Worm. Both for the people that loved every bit of the original, and those who liked parts of it, but desired a different experience.

4 of 7 members found this review helpful.
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WARD

‘Most Emotional Impact In A Story’ – Award in 2018

By Voracious Reader, member

Dec 26, 2018: So, Superheroes, right? Blockbuster action, witty one-liners, physics-breaking powers, convoluted origin stories, sometimes borderline power fantasy and wish fulfillment.

Then, suddenly, Worm.

Where Watchmen was an outright deconstruction of the genre, Worm tried to reconstruct many of the old tropes, giving them justification. And showing us how such a world was basically destined to self-destruct.

Ward?

Ward is a different kind of story. Spoilers, it’s a post-apocalyptic superhero story, with the customary turns into the horror genre that we’ve all come to expect from Wildbow.

It is very much not Taylor’s story. Depending on why you actually liked Worm, that can be a good thing, or bad.

First of all, this new main character is a Big Damn Hero. Yes, there’s a slippery slope, and there are justifications, and there’s escalating justifications, but so far, the protagonist places a lot of value in following the Law, alternatively doing what seems right, and asking for help from friends if that is unclear. The drawback is a less versatile and munchkin-able power, forcing our heroine to fight more based on knowledge and training.

Furthermore, where Worm mainly concerned itself with the traumas that cause people to lash out or reach for power, Ward deals with people trying to cope with or overcome theirs. This red thread can be found in basically every story arc.It helps give the story a more hopeful tone, even as the world lies in ruin.

Last, while Worm focussed very much on Taylor, this new story is just as much about the protagonist’s team as it is about her. When I compare our new group of misfits and rascals to the Undersiders, there is a large difference in how well-fleshed-out they are. Wildbow’s characters were always lifelike, three-dimensional people, but Ward brings them into focus, and devotes much screen-time to party banter and extensive interludes from their perspective.

Some of these interlude contain the finest damn writing I’ve seen in Webserials, delivering the heaviest emotional punches to my psyche since . . . well, since the end of Worm. I never could have imagined that all it would take for my heart to shatter is a little girl smiling.

As it stands now, Ward is my favourite Wildbow work. I’m certain more beloved characters will die or worse. I’m certain I will cry and rage against the cruel ‘bow. And yet, I’m certain that four days afterwards I will greedily read the next chapter, because I know in the end, all the pain and anguish will be worth it.

3 of 6 members found this review helpful.
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WARD

Recommended for all lovers of good writing

By bakerjake, member

Dec 11, 2017: I am writing to share an emphatic recommendation for Ward. Though Ward is only just starting its second arc (Wildbow writes 6-12 chapters per arc, published 2-3x per week), Ward is already showing a degree of evolution and maturity over the already captivating prior works of Worm, Pact, and Twig. Wildbow’s strengths combine amazing and nuanced settings, incredibly creative expansion of genre and theme, with often heartbreaking and impactful character work. The old cliche of you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love this work is true. You ought to read Ward and all of Wildbow’s other works—if you haven’t yet read the earlier ones, you have an intense few weeks ahead of you, but the experience of following along live is too great to be missed.

2 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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