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WORM

Something special

By Fluff, member

Jul 5, 2012: From the depths of a failing and ruined city to the heights of a hinted at wonder, Worm charts a world of super-powered individuals with flaws and hopes that seem all too real.

I stumbled across Worm without planning on spending my time on what is now quite a lengthy piece of prose after a year of regular updates, but instead found myself being drawn in immediately and devouring the chapters in only a few sittings and loudly demanding more. The two great strengths I find in Worm are the depth and creativity of the main characters personality and actions, and the richness of the setting and mythology.

On the former, as the protagonist Taylor Hebert/Skitter tries to escape the trap of her dreadful school life, you realise this is a smart brave and very resourceful young woman. But not without flaws, and like all teenagers she doesn’t think far enough ahead, and is so eager to move from what she was and prove herself she takes a road paved with good intentions and problematic outcomes. But Wildbow writes Worm with subtle shades of grey, and even as Taylor sinks further into what a less insightful author would have as the villains you can’t help but wonder if this is the better course of action after all. Is it more important to do Good, or be labelled Good?

On the setting aspect, the city of Brockton Bay has been written with care to feel like a real and breathing place; with its districts and problems, its civil and criminal histories, and its people and powereds just trying to live and thrive. Yet despite these minute detailing the reader still left with the impression the city is but part of a wider stage on which a grander story is playing out for this world, and that whatever happens it will not be without weight of meaning.

Nothings perfect of course, and my point of dissatisfaction overall would be the hectic pace of events within the story as the protagonists jump from one crisis and crucial event to the next, and the unclear blocking of some of the fight scenes (though certainly not their inventiveness, which is top notch!).

7 of 7 members found this review helpful.
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WORM

No title

By yaywona, member

Nov 10, 2013: Have you ever reached a point in a story where you realize you have absolutely no idea what’s going on, but it’s too late to go back and reread because things got weird a million pages ago?

Yeah. That’s what Worm is to me in a nutshell.

From the very beginning I was in love with this story. I was in love with the idea of a heroine that pushed herself through obstacles and developed herself into a different person (I didn’t care whether or not the end journey would have her become a villain or a hero, I was just impressed by the fact that she was changing and the fact that it was believable). Life was not sunshine and rainbows. The death count started ticking higher and higher with every subsequent arc, but I stuck through because I believed it made things realistic (especially in the context of the plot). It’s amazing how suckered I was into the "grittiness", the "edginess", the "realism" of the plot, because I actually 100% believed that the protagonist would end her story completely changed.

I can’t pinpoint exactly where I felt things were going wrong, because I literally have zero patience in sifting through the technical jargon, incomprehensible plot points, all the people that were introduced in one line and killed the next, and emotional disconnect I started to feel with the entire story itself. Technical jargon is all well and good for those who are deeply involved in figuring out the science behind things, which I must admit I have never had the stomach for. The plot really started getting incomprehensible with the sheer amount of new characters and how the old ones slipped from the radar and were disposed of. There’s nothing wrong with killing your characters, especially if it evokes some kind of emotional reaction from your audience. A great character death is one you wish never happened, but at the same time you feel sated—because that character would have never had an impact on the plot or on you otherwise. A bad character death leaves you staring at the screen in complete bewilderment and whispering "but you could have done so much MORE with that." An especially bad character death is an IMPLIED character death, one that forces you to scroll through the entire chapter again just to see if the author explicitly stated whether or not the person died (and if it’s merely implied, then chances are they’re coming back).

The biggest problem I have with this story is that I feel absolutely cheated with both my time and attention. The protagonist’s fate inspired absolutely no reaction from me, because it’s been something I’ve read many times before. It’s not new. It’s not emotional. It would have been maybe twenty arcs back or so, but it’s not anymore. If you like your characters to end up with some kind of substantial development that manages to draw you in until the very end, then I have to say that Worm is an especially poor choice. The writing style that I found so refreshing started grating on me too. "He stood. He looked. He ran." Everyone has different reading preferences, sure, and mine just start to glaze over whenever I read a single sentence.

I still recommend readers to read the beginning arcs, only because I feel that the story is still at a level that’s easy to understand (one that involves the protagonists specifically). I encourage stopping before the story starts broadening it’s universal (multiversal??) focus, unless you have the steely determination to stick with ever changing plots and characters. Which if you do, then thumbs up. But if you don’t, then I highly suggest looking elsewhere.

9 of 14 members found this review helpful.
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WORM

I burned through the archive in a day…

By Shutsumon, author of Tales of the First

Sep 19, 2012: Short Version: Recommended for all Superhero fiction fans. When I started reading it a couple of weeks ago I burned through the archive in one day.

Setup: Taylor is a teenage girl with an unusual superpower – she controls insects and arachnids. She dreams of becoming a superhero and when a group of teenage supervillains mistake her for a villain and invite her to join them she agrees in order to spy on and eventually betray them. But as she gets to know them and the heroes better she realises things may not be so clear cut.

The Good: The characters in Worm are really vividly drawn and wonderfully complex. The world building is similarly delightful. One particularly nice touch is that since most capes are triggered by a traumatic experience there are more villains than heroes in the world and a large number of independents who refuse to get involved. Then there’s the fact that the villains are actually people with personalities and goals. Some of them are genuinely nasty, some of them are decent in spite of their career choices, some of them have been screwed over by their powers and all of them (even the nasty ones) are people. The heroes are a similarly diverse bunch and some of them are pretty much villains with badges but again they are all people – even the shallow nasty ones.

The Bad: There’s not much bad to say about this story in my opinion. Taylor might be a bit too nice and idealistic for some people early on and it looks like the story is ramping up to ‘save the world’ levels that might make the scope too wide for some readers but all in all it’s a fantastic example of its genre.

Will I be reading more? Not just yes, but hell yes. I’m really enjoying it. Long may it continue!

7 of 8 members found this review helpful.
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