This Fiction Friday, I figured I’d shake things up, especially since it’s a holiday weekend here in the US. Instead of talking about a print work, I want to highlight one of my favorite web-serials this week: Worm.
From the Worm site: An introverted teenage girl with an unconventional superpower, Taylor goes out in costume to find escape from a deeply unhappy and frustrated civilian life. Her first attempt at taking down a supervillain sees her mistaken for one, thrusting her into the midst of the local ‘cape’ scene’s politics, unwritten rules, and ambiguous morals. As she risks life and limb, Taylor faces the dilemma of having to do the wrong things for the right reasons.
Why I recommend it: This work has completely spoiled me for superhero fiction. The world-building is amazing, Taylor is a fun narrator to see the world with, and I cannot gush about the way the characters all use their superpowers enough. This is a finished work, so no need to worry about when/if it will update, and I do not regret the late nights I’ve spent up reading this story. If Wildbow releases Worm in e-book format, you can bet money that I will be gleefully purchasing each and every volume of it.
From Amazon: A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.
Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.
Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.
When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.
Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.
Why I recommend it: There are a lot of reasons I love this book and can’t wait to get my grubby little paws on the next two installments of the Craft Sequence, but the top one is the world-building. Alt Coulumb is so lush and vivid, and it feels like a very real place despite the fantastical elements to it. The system of magic is another phenomenal aspect of this book, as it feels both unique and very intuitive, once the reader has a working knowledge of it. It’s also worth noting that the main character is a Woman of Color, which is very refreshing when the urban-fantasy genre tends to not have a lot of diversity.
From Smashwords: In the middle of America, on Route 44, Amy Lewis has a plan — to get to her grandma’s house in time for dinner. Galaxies away Loki is waking up in a prison cell, strangely without a hangover, and with no idea what he’s done wrong — this time anyway. But he does know Thor is hiding something, Odin is up to something wicked, and there seems to be something he’s forgotten…
In this tale that is equal parts “Another Fine Myth,” “American Gods,” and “Once Upon a Time,” a very nice midwestern girl and a jaded, still very mischievous Loki must join forces to outwit gods, elves, magic sniffing cats, and nosy neighbors. If Loki can remember exactly what he’s forgotten and Amy can convince him not to be too distracted by Earthly gadgets, her boobs, or three day benders, they just might pull it off…
This first volume of “I Bring the Fire” is for anyone who suspects chaos and mischief makers might have their own redeeming qualities, and anyone who just wants a good fantasy romp through modern Earth, ancient Asgard, and beyond!
Why I recommend it: It’s a little slow to start, but after the first 30 or so pages it becomes exceedingly difficult to put down. There are also several books in the series which are similarly engrossing, and the series is overall a refreshing pop-culture look at Norse mythology and urban fantasy. The cast is full of colorful characters that really stick with you, even after you finish an installment. Watch out for the narrative break between books one and two, though, as it can be a little jarring.
From Goodreads.com: The Dominion, once divided by savage clan wars, has kept an uneasy peace within its border since that long-ago time when the clan Leonne was gifted with the magic of the Sun Sword and was raised up to reign over the five noble clans. But now treachery strikes at the very heart of the Dominion as two never meant to rule–one a highly skilled General, the other a master of the magical arts–seek to seize the crown by slaughtering all of clan Leonne blood.
Why I recommend it: This is the first book in a six-book-long fantasy series. I recognize that not everyone has that kind of time or love of fantasy, but for those who are able to invest the energy and attention into the series, they will find a very rich world with vivid characters and gripping political struggles. This particular book starts out a little slow, as it’s setting the stage for much of the series-wide conflict, but I had a hard time putting it down the first time I read it, and subsequent re-reads always reveal new information I’d missed. If fantasy, world-building, and political intrigue are your cuppa, this series is not to be missed.
(To serve as kind of the counter-point of Music Monday, every other Friday will be Fiction Friday, where I’ll post about fictional works that I’ve enjoyed and which I want to share with everyone!)
From Amazon.com: On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
Why I recommend it: It’s a very charming story that spends a good deal of time on fascinating world-building and uses one of my favorite fantasy/supernatural tropes, the interdimensional innkeeper. I could hardly put the book down, and I can’t wait to return to the setting with the next installment in the series.