Wyvern by ack1308
Length: 128,724 words
…and here’s that Worm fic I mentioned I’d be reviewing soon when I did my feature for ack1308.
In it, Taylor is a Changer with a Hulk-esque trigger she needs to learn to control.
That on its own doesn’t sound particularly special, but she turns into a fire-breathing dragon, she can’t speak English in dragon form, and she gets “I talked her into following me home. Can we keep her?”‘d by Glory Girl. (There’s also a twist I don’t want to spoil that becomes very significant later on.)
This is a heavily New Wave focused fic, both because Taylor decides to join New Wave and because it’s a story where the author recognizes that there’s a lot of wiggle room in a setting to pace and focus things the way you want.
Tonally, this starts out reminiscent of something like many Human in Equestria stories from the My Little Pony fandom, where you have a lot of time spent just enjoying the back and forth between the characters as they get to know each other and show off their personalities… including things like an “Amy comes face-to-face with a dragon” scene after she ignores the instruction to knock before entering Vicky’s room.
Through various techniques, like playing with the pacing and focusing on the moment-to-moment humanity of the characters, the fic does a good job of keeping things fairly light and fun for quite a while still acknowledging that the setting isn’t light and fun and things will turn sooner or later. (For example, the need to go back over Taylor’s trigger event or getting to see Amy comment on how doctors get paid more to do less, only to have it go nowhere.)
It also helps that, when Armsmaster does show up to try to push Taylor into the Wards, she has support from Carol in her role as a lawyer to counter his efforts.
That said, thought it happens slowly, it does build and things do escalate. Given the pacing, as of this writing, it’s not gotten that far into its story arc, but it’s still long enough to be worthwhile.
This is one of those stories where it’s hard to say a lot, because what I enjoy about it is just the overall experience. There aren’t a lot of really punchy quotes (though there is a moment when Taylor stops a criminal from trying to shoot her, and Vicky comments that “he looked exactly like a cartoon character after a bomb’s gone off in his face.”) …just the moment-to-moment story of character who are enjoyable to read about.
There’s also a twist In her powers and the villain roster that’s kind of interesting, though I’m not sure whether I enjoy it more or less than what I imagine the story could have been without it. (For those willing to accept a spoiler, Lung doesn’t exist, the ABB has a different leader, and she’s got Lung’s “scale up to the threat given enough time” thing. It’s kind of a shame that it’s a twist, because “Lung’s powers on a protagonist” has a ton of potential for a variety of reasons, including Taylor being much more body-shy than Lung, and it meshes nicely with the character-centric, generally light style.)
Looking back, it’s actually a good plot twist in the proper sense of the word. Specifically, it changes how I see the character going forward and that’s particularly elegant because it serves to help the reader follow Taylor on her journey rather than seeing more than she does from the beginning.
Carol also sets up a very satisfying sting operation against Sophia, Emma, and Madison, where you really get to savour the experience, and it’s also the most realistic one I’ve ever run across in fanfiction.
That said, after the sting operation, there’s a time skip that I’m not so sure about, given the pacing of what follows.
I’d give this maybe a 4.7 out of 5 for the stuff before the very end of chapter 18, leading into the timeskip, and the courtroom scene following that. Maybe a 4.0 for the rest of what follows, since I’m not yet confident in the author’s ability to do what they seem to be aiming for with the arrival of the Slaughterhouse Nine, and I’m reluctant to rate it too highly when I have so little data. 4.5 overall, maybe?
Before that point, it’s novel, I really enjoy the focus and writing style, and I like how it uses world-building for twists without overdoing it.
Fanfiction – Wyvern by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.