Back to Reviews

Reviews Comments: A fun story packaged in an awkward structure. Worm whole series review by Redacer

This series is basically what happens an an author gets a bunch of good ideas, realizes he has them, then trips and scatters them to the four winds.

The Good: It takes your standard superhero tropes and approaches them in ways not often done. This combined with the power system of the series, which more closely resembles Anime-style hax than your standard Western work, makes a world that's pretty compelling to explore. The characters also often come up with some pretty novel ideas to abuse their powers in interesting ways. The author also did a good job of making the odds they faced seem truly terrifying, suspense and tension were rampant. Burning through the archives late at night to see how an arc ends is to be expected upon reading this.

The Bad: The author seems to see playing a trope straight as a personal failure on his part. While originality is good, it got to the point where I realized he was subverting tropes for the sake of doing so and not to actually improve his story in any way. Attempts at Realism in the setting often came off as awkward and forced in as a way to make the series "deeper". The characters seem to develop in circles, and while that's arguably much more realistic than the linear development of most works, it made it harder to empathize with them and I lost interest in most of them after a few times around the wheel. And despite the originality, not much of it is something to stick with you for a long time. The only lesson this story seems to teach is "Life sucks sometimes", which hopefully most people can figure out for themselves. It's not here to make you a better person, it's here to give you a fun ride.

The Ugly: It suffers from a pretty terrible structure. The writer is obviously skilled, but he takes the first person perspective to a fairly insane degree. It helps put you in the shoes of the confused characters, but it also makes for a very confused reader. The ways events occur is often unclear and sometimes never properly explained. This more than anything else made the series difficult to get through for me. If this guy had a proper editor I feel like this story would be improved immensely. Can't blame it for being a web serial though.

Worm has originality going for it, but narratively, it falls on it's face. Still, i'd recommend it, if you don't mind awkward structure it can be a fun read.


  • Gorkamorka
  • 12th Nov 13
I found the first person narrative to be one of the main selling points :D

Having an Unreliable Narrator for the whole story keeps you guessing, and with all the mysteries and the half hinted at events it's an exciting read.
  • Redacer
  • 12th Nov 13
I greatly enjoy confusing storylines (as long as they're explained eventually). It's confusion that arises purely from the presentation I don't like. An example of a series that does this right is The Dresden Files. Butcher's stories, which also use the 1st person perspective from the viewpoint of Harry Dresden, always have twists and turns the whole way, and you're rarely certain of what the situation really is until the end. This arises from the story itself though, and not the presentation.

If i'm not certain of who a character because maybe they're under a magical veil, or using a normal disguise, or Harry is being mindfucked, or something along those lines, I find it exciting. If i'm not certain of who a character is because "Wait, shit, I looked over there for a second, who is that? I kind of remember now, wait, we're doing stuff, i'll think about this later never.", I find it rather frustrating. It's more realistic, but if a writer's devotion to realism hurts their plot or story structure, they probably need to remember that the reader will cut them a little slack for the sake of quality.
  • Gorkamorka
  • 13th Nov 13
I'm not really sure I understand what you're saying now. Worm is a very good example of not being certain of what's happening because of both the narrator itself (with an alien shoggoth in her head, messing up both her perceptions and her reactions, that complicates things further), and the various sense altering powers.

The presentation is a good part of what makes it work (e.g.: the chapter with the red fog), and some tricks used would be way more strained or not work at all in a third person narrative.
  • Landis
  • 19th Nov 13
First off, it's a first-draft work, and all the more impressive for it. He's going to go back and smooth some of the trouble spots for publication. Second off, I would argue that shying away from playing a trope straight isn't necessarily a bad thing, nor would I argue that he's subverting stuff "for the sake of doing so." I mean, both of those assume he's writing this from a TV tropes perspective (it seems to me) when Worm is more a reaction to the space on the bookshelf left by Legion of Nothing. Third off, as mentioned, every time Taylor is unreliable, there's an in-story reason (Imp's power, the miasma, The aforementioned alien shoggoth. It's really very similar to the Dresden Files in that way, except Taylor is not nearly enough of a smartass to be Harry.
  • LentilSandEater
  • 6th Dec 13
A well argued review. Even though I disagree with several of your points.

In order to post comments, you need to

Get Known