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An incredible experience.

By saintsant, member

Apr 26, 2013: The four consecutive days I spent reading this were some of the most enjoyable of my life. Worm is an incredibly immersive story that revitalizes a genre which is all-too often associated solely with comic books.

The primary source of these accolades is the cast of the story. Each character is artfully crafted, their motivations vivid and realistic. Nowhere in Worm will you find two dimensional heroes or villains who are merely searching for ‘justice’ or ‘revenge.’ Every actor on the stage is well-substantiated to a degree that their interactions surpass mere verisimilitude, and simply become another facet of the reader’s reality. The protagonist, a young girl named Taylor, who becomes a ‘cape’ (in-universe blanket term for a hero or villain) to escape her oppressive civilian life quickly finds herself drawn into a web of intrigue that threatens to shatter her preconceptions. Initially mistaken for a villain, she is compelled to betray her new-found friends in order to live up to her own notions of what a hero should be. Which side of the increasingly vague line in the sand she’ll eventually end up on is anyone’s guess.

Taylor has no monopoly on nuance or character development, though. Some of the most enjoyable portions of the story are its interludes, which allow the readers to see through the eyes of other capes (and occasionally civilians), hinting at or revealing secrets that cause the audience re-evaluate their opinions of large portions of the plot. Surprisingly, the quality of these respites from the primary viewpoint is very high. Wildbow possesses what I’ve taken to calling George R.R. Martin’s gift: the ability to write a vast number of characters with differing motivations, and make them all equally compelling. It’s often sad to get these one-off peeks behind the curtain (interludes never feature the same character twice), which turn one of Taylor’s hated enemies into someone you can legitimately sympathize with, and know that that particular door is closed forever.

That isn’t to say everything is perfect; for every Daenerys, there is a Sansa. Some characters simply don’t resonate as well with the readers as others, which is possibly a result of the author’s breakneck pace, often cranking out as many as three updates a week. Occasionally, chapters that are rushed or have to be revised late in the day suffer from a dearth of description, which is my only persistent criticism of the story. The setting can sometimes be difficult to visualize on a scene by scene basis, even if the bigger picture is clear.

Speaking of the setting, the ‘Wormverse’ is more than the city in which Taylor’s tribulations take place. World building is a gradual process, one that has been interwoven with the story to terrific results; there aren’t any lengthy info-dumps. One character makes a reference about something the reader isn’t familiar with, another might comment on it, and then it might go unmentioned for another two arcs . . . only to resurface later at a time when it’s plot-relevant. These little dollops of information, interspersed within the fabric of a larger story, pique the audience’s curiosity about the wider world. Over the course of a million words, a coherent and highly interesting whole has gradually revealed itself.

TL;DR It’s a story about super-humans; read it.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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