Worm, by wildbow, is a web serial following Taylor, a girl who wants to be a superhero. But the world isn’t a kind enough place for it to be quite that easy. As she finds out more about what’s happening in her city and learns to stand up for herself, she has to choose where she stands.
I mentioned this story some time back, when I was just starting to read it. And it’s about time I did a full post on it, because my perspective has changed since then. Now, I’m following the story eagerly and reading the chapters pretty much as soon as they go up.
There are a lot of reasons I’d recommend this story. One is the protagonist, Taylor. I have a soft spot for protagonists who have problems connecting to the people around them, especially the ones who want to as much as Taylor does. That already guaranteed that I would keep reading.
Another great aspect about her is that she wants to be a good person, in spite of everything, but she’s willing to use dirty tactics when she has to. It’s a great conflict. Piled up on top of that is the issue that no one else will believe that she wants to be a good person. She has to hold on to her motives even against the expectations of everyone around her. Given how much content is available and how far her character gets to go, I don’t want to say too much. But I’ve really enjoyed following her journey.
Furthermore, the author has been working on this world for a long time, and it shows. There are a lot of great characters, and many of them have more going on than is initially obvious. They all have their own set of relationships and motivations, which are slowly revealed. I love how many of the characters get a high level of good characterization. And I love how characters that play a larger role later get mentioned or introduced in the earlier chapters. The author has a done a lot of worldbuilding, and can afford to hint at bigger things to come.
Beyond that, the action is a lot of fun. It’s very detailed, and I never forget that this is a superhero series. Every fight is different, due to the range of powers available in the series. Taylor has a power with a wide range of applications that she has to figure out and apply to very different opponents. She’s smart enough to learn to tailor her tactics to her enemies’ weaknesses. Her creativity in the use of her power is one of the main reasons the action never becomes repetitive, along with the different kinds of powers.
Much like the action never gets repetitive, the story doesn’t, either. Every arch is different. Every villain is different. One of of my favorite archs changed the set up of the story drastically–the characters had to adapt to a completely different environment in the aftermath. I love that this series doesn’t just stick to the status quo and makes changes to further the story.
It was really easy to become so invested in the characters and the world. And it’s well worth it.