book-reviews

Worm

by Wildbow

Rating: ★★★★★

Worm is an absolutely gripping piece of high-quality, web-published fiction. Wildbow's superhero story is set in a world where a small percentage of the population are gifted with powers after traumatic events. As in the comic books, some become villains and some join a government-friendly agency and become heroes. Into this world comes our protagonist, a cool-headed young woman with the ability to control insects. Initially intent on becoming a hero, circumstances start to push her into the arms of a local gang of mischief-making villains.

Wildbow strikes a great balance between making the super-powered world amusing and exploring the chilling reality of giving the mentally unstable elements of the population reality-warping powers. Worm's will to survive sees her engage in a series of conflicts where she is forever pushing the boundaries of the game, becoming ever more feared and ever more deadly. From local turf wars and scrapes with the authorities, Worm's opponents start to become ever more horrific.

Worm contains almost everything, from poverty and racial violence to natural disasters and the dangers of power to real, creeping horrors like only the written word can conjure. Spanning 30 arcs, each nearly as long as an average novel, Worm is seriously epic. Seriously, read that again. This story is nearly thirty times the length of most books. It doesn't let up, either. Both character, plot and world development match pace with the highly addictive story. Block off a week or two to read it.

I brim with positive sentiment for this story. An addictive, well-written coming-of-age superhero epic with tonnes of interesting characters, all the grit left in, and a rational protagonist whose calculating deadliness makes you adore her. I'd recommend you read it.