Worm is an adult novel. It's the story of young adult Taylor Hebert's coming-of-age, wrapped up in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world hurtling towards a second doom, wrapped up in a superhero story that takes the standard cliches, exsanguinates them, uses the blood to water its crops, and then spits on their graves, wrapped up in a staggeringly vast cast of complex characters that if nothing else are able to engage anyone, anywhere, no matter how they feel about the other elements of the plot.
In Taylor's world, there are "parahumans" (as the website might suggest) who live alongside regular humans. They appear with varying frequency, and the powers seem to be genetic. There's a group of "good guys" and other "villains," though 1) the lines between the two are totally inconsequential because of what Worm does to make you question morality everywhere, and 2) 80% of the parahumans are villains. And they are not nice villains.
Anyway. Worm is 1mil+ words divvied up into various arcs which are then further divvied up into various chapters.
I think one of the most masterful aspects of Wildbow's writing is that pacing. In 1,500,000 words, there is not a single dry moment. In both the interludes and the regular storyline. Seriously. There's a really nice crescendo effect as things slowly worsen for everyone, more antagonists are introduced on both sides, etc, and there are nice lapses of tension without there being a sort of "monster-of-the-week" dynamic that Taylor faces.
Oh, and Taylor is not a good guy.
Then again, even the "good guy"s aren't good guys.
And then on Taylor/the other characters. The characters were written really well, and there's a really diverse cast that Wildbow works with. It's like watching a chessboard from high up, except there are 5 different colors of chesspieces and they start at various intervals along the board. Bloodbath. Each of the chesspieces has their own backstory and unique quirks that make them really fun to read about, and with the scale of the writing, there's a lot of room that Wildbow has to carve everyone out.
Taylor is suuuuuch a great protagonist. Without spoiling anything, her move from wannabe hero to antihero to hero to antihero (??? for lack of a better way of describing just what the hell happens) totally endears her to all readers and makes her empathetic always and sympathetic sometimes.
This book left me as awestruck as the first two. Perhaps the only reason why I docked a star was because of my reasons from AGOT and ACOK, and it sort...moreThis book left me as awestruck as the first two. Perhaps the only reason why I docked a star was because of my reasons from AGOT and ACOK, and it sorta fell flat after ASOS. It was still good, though, but like the rest of the books, it had me throwing up my arms in the air every other page because of how much Tyrion gets the short end of the stick. Gah, he's gotten it so many times he probably has the short end of a forest.
Catelyn...Catelyn...death still won't stop you from deciding stuff, eh? You do that a lot. Sometimes not for the better. Even after four books, I'm still on the fence about you. I guess that says something for multifaceted characters, then.
I feel awful for Cersei and Tyrion in general, actually. Four books and still kickin' (which is saying something for the amount of characters that GRRM has killed off so far), but getting worse and worse.
Will continue my search for a cheap copy of ADWD.(less)
Definitely the high point of the series so far. ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS ONE!
Maybe I'm in such a cele...moreAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Definitely the high point of the series so far. ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS ONE!
Maybe I'm in such a celebratory mood because (view spoiler)[ JOFFREY IS FINALLY DEAD! HAHA YOU SEXIST MOTHERFUCKER HOW DOES IT FEEL NOOOOOWWWW?! (hide spoiler)] and also Margaery Tyrell is pretty damn awesome.
Anyhow. The only thing I didn't like was the noticeable absence of Theon. I'm not sure if it was some sort of plot device, but there were only secondhand accounts of what happened to Theon and no chapters from the point of view of Asha or Theon. I don't really like Theon, but I felt like GRRM left us hanging, especially from where he put Theon by the end of A Clash of Kings.
Also...the wedding. Ooh, the wedding. Definitely did not see that coming. I know from a few spoilers that I gleaned that it isn't the end of SOME of the characters, but...it's gonna be hilarious to see how those who only watch the HBO series react when the wedding occurs. Heh. Heh.
Alright, time to move on to A Feast for Crows. *cracks knuckles* This is gonna be good.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The worldbuilding was the selling point of this novel. Stephenson has a really, really complicated and multilayered world going on, but the...moreNiiiiiiice.
The worldbuilding was the selling point of this novel. Stephenson has a really, really complicated and multilayered world going on, but the reader isn't confused for long.
Hiro Protagonist (ha ha ha) and YT were the selling characters, even though Hiro was a borderline Gary Stu (??? or was that the point as reflected by the name? Still deciding), but YT was kickass and an excellent main character.
Too bad it didn't past the Bechdel test and I'm still contemplating the rest of the novel. But it was very nice.(less)
Of course, it may be the Greco-Roman mythology geek in me speaking, or perhaps the Latin student, but...I actually really liked this play! It came as...moreOf course, it may be the Greco-Roman mythology geek in me speaking, or perhaps the Latin student, but...I actually really liked this play! It came as a pleasant surprise, too; I thought it was going to be another play where I would have to grind my teeth and look past paragraphs upon paragraphs of angsty repartee while hating the main character(s).
Sophocles is brilliant. Loved this one, and I look forward to reading the other two. I'd already read plenty of versions (watered-down) of the Oedipus tragedy, but the ending makes me go "wtfWTFWTFWTFWTFWTFWTF" every time. Plot stuff aside, I also like the way Sophocles takes time to question basic human instinct.
But kudos to Sophocles for taking a really, really fucked up Greek myth and making it into something stomachable while keeping the whole "live-action play" theme in mind.
No thanks. I actually could tell from right off the bat this book wasn't going to work for me. I appreciate the stylistic liberties that Ness took wit...moreNo thanks. I actually could tell from right off the bat this book wasn't going to work for me. I appreciate the stylistic liberties that Ness took with this book, and the plot was ingenious, thus earning two grudging stars, but...everything else...(less)
UPDATE: IT IS SITTING ON MY COUNTERTOP ALL SHINY AND NEW?!?!? IS THIS REAL LIFE OH MY GOD
Wow. that was
Alright, so this book is definitely not for everyone. But, aside from the high-strung language, graphic sex and violence, and even the genre-related differences, I think that the real differentiating factor between this novel and the Harry Potter series is the unmitigated pessimism, for lack of a better word to describe it.
See, at the end of the Harry Potter series, while people have died and the world of Britain is still very much war-torn and healing, Harry has emerged victorious alongside his two greatest companions that have been with him from beginning to end. The plot is clear-cut. The characters are all clear-cut. There's no doubt about the fact that Harry is the protagonist, the consummate good guy, and that Voldemort is the evil, unspeakable one whose desire is the disruption of the human race.
Yet, for this book, none of this is apparent. We have so many characters to pick and choose from that we're never sure who is the true protagonist and antagonist. And this isn't a bad thing. We have Fats, Andrew, Gaia, Kay, Miles, Gavin, Mary, Krystal, Tessa, Cubby, Si-Pie, Ruth, Howard, Shirley, Samantha, Parminder, Sukhvinder...
And the list goes on.
Each of them does some pretty horrible and graphic things. And in the end, though hard to imagine, we actually DO get a well-thought-out conclusion that wraps everything up nicely.
Yet there's no absolution for so many of these people; Sukhvinder barely gets anything from Fats, even after months of ceaseless cyber-torment. Parminder only has the schadenfreude that accompanies watching an enemy succumb to a long-plaguing illness of sorts. Andrew still has to deal with his abusive father, and Fats is in such deep shit with his family that I can't imagine anything going well for him within the next few years. Don't even get me started on Krystal and Gaia.
Inexplicably so, however, you, as an impartial reader, get every single side or perspective possible when dealing with the tragic nature of Pagford. You yourself watch the town fall apart, slowly at first, then so quickly and horrifyingly that you can truly empathize with each and every one of the characters. Each character is foiled nicely; you can empathize with Fats and Sukhvinder both at once, with Kay and Gaia, and even with Krystal throughout her horrible predicament.
And then the writing.
If you weren't convinced of Rowling's awe-inspiring talent of piecing the English language together from the Harry Potter series, or if this is your first book of hers (either way, shame on you!), this book will probably do the trick. If you don't like the characters, if you don't like the genre, or if you just hate every little thing about this book and its setting, you just have to enjoy the writing.
One of the most striking aspects of her novel, however, is the unsettling, abstract accuracy of her similes and metaphors. Seriously. Does she have a dictionary for this sort of stuff? She has one scary knack of picking and choosing the weirdest words to give the reader the best image of each character.
HIGHLY recommended to the now-grown fans of Harry Potter or to any adult lit buff, really. (less)
Review to come. This book was all kinds of awesome.
Alright, so, I finished this one pretty quickly. I started it last night and busted through this...moreReview to come. This book was all kinds of awesome.
Alright, so, I finished this one pretty quickly. I started it last night and busted through this morning (pointless classes where I can read uninterrupted for the win!)
As I said above, this book was all kinds of awesome. Penryn is a kickass and headstrong female lead matched well up against and with fallen angel Raffe. They have some serious chemistry, but I'm super glad that it wasn't some sort of cliche instalove. The budding romantic tension is well founded, growing slowly and steadily with lots of buildup. It's still not quite resolved, which is a nice break from books like Twicraplight.
Anyway, back to the kickass part. Some females are kickass but don't have a background to support such behavior. Penryn sure as hell did, and I really enjoyed reading from her POV. Raffe and Penryn's banter, both with each other and with other characters was hilarious. The dialogue is top-notch and fast-paced. The book starts with a bang and never really puts you down.
Penryn, I have one thing to say to you:
Your world...jesus, it's terrifying. The angels are fully-realized, cruel, and utterly petrifying. The animalistic qualities of a race that has been hunted literally to the ends of the earth are clearly and appropriately outlined as needed.
I only have one eensy-weensy complaint.
Could we have a leetle more worldbuilding? Pleeease? I want to know MORE! When did the angels and demons arrive? How did the government collapse? Has it collapsed?
All in all, highly recommended to everyone who enjoys a post-apocalyptic fling that's well-written, funny, but sobering at the same time.(less)