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In a world of epic struggles between superheroes and villains, not everyone is enthused with the spectacle. Walter Watson is an unassuming young man and a part of the Powerless majority. His only want in life is to escape the noise of celebrity Heroism which is, he believes, no more than a thinly veiled excuse for neverending martial law. He wants freedom, not Power, and he has no hope in saving a world that was doomed to conflict from the start.
Unfortunately for Walter, fate has different plans. His entire life will come crashing down as the Truth reveals itself. He is harboring not only the greatest... but most terrible ability in existence. The very key to Power itself.
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There are perils of reviewing web fiction very early in its lifetime. Creep has twelve chapters and not terribly much more than twenty thounsand words to its name. In the web serial world, that's scarcely anything at all.
But, particularly given the tame length of the author's other serials, it's enough to get a feel for what Creep will and won't offer, if not enough to be precise about it.
Creep is a super hero story (hardly the most promising of genres), but it has a few good things going for it: the concept of a superhero draft, a protagonist with no desire for heroics, and a power that wouldn't get a second glance in a body horror fic. Certainly nothing that's going to blow you away with its creativity. But there are compliments to be given for venturing on the frontier rather than old world, even if it's no terra ignota.
But let's going into what Creep does well and what it doesn't. It's clear that this story aims to be a pulpy romp, and plot is the skeleton of pulp. And that is a target which Creep cleanly snipes; scene-by-scene progression of Creep is paced whip quick and not a chapter goes by before the story is thrust on along or undergoes some new development. The weakest point, plotwise, is that the motivations behind events aren't always the clearest, and occasionally leaves one furrowing their brow. And besides that, the fast pace is a double-edged; in places, the ideas and almost fly by half developed, and it leaves the story oddly proportioned. (The 11th chapter particularly comes to mind here.) But it's worth remarking that Creep was able to hook me by the end of the first chapter. And it's worth remarking that Creep is consistently able to get me properly hyped for a fight.
Of character, I've already mentioned that the motivations aren't always the most cogent. Walter in particularly is somewhat bemusing in this regard; despite being the narrator, his intentions are occasionally obscured for dramatic effect. Some find stories like this frustrating, but I don't quite mind it. It has, however, lead to beats where I have read back over a passage to get a grip on what the protagonist himself is feeling and why. I don't want this to sound more critical than is warranted, however: Creep's characters are good. It's always worth commenting on when an author can get you to admire a character in only a few scenes. And again, Creep hits this target dead center; dialogue between characters is bouncy and entertaining. But the great characterization is not uniform; while the heroes are admirable (even when they conflict with the protag), the villains are scarcely more than human shaped obstacles. It's certainly not out of place, for the villains of a super serial to be rationed a punch rather than an argument, but it is disapointing. As the serial goes on, I expect no one will remember the villains from the first arc (save Old Hickory himself, perhaps), and I think that's a shame. I will grant that this makes some sense; the villains of the first arc are, in fact, human-shaped obstacles, and aren't the real antagonists. Still, I gripe.
Most prospective readers would do well to skip this next paragraph, as it's a point few are snobbish enough to care about. Personally, I believe where Creep falls flattest of all in it's prose. I've gotten hundreds of words into review without mentioning the impressive fact that Creep has been updating on the daily with full, 8-10 page chapters. It's certainly admirable, but it shows. The style of this serial is quite plain, and though it never gets so bad as to be amateurish or cringey, or even get in the way of the story, the prose does little more than allow the story to happen. In places you can see the text try and reach for some phrasing more accomplished than stating it obvious, but you could count on one hand the lines that manage to be inspiring — if you're being generous. I will grant that Creep does stay in its range, for the most part, engaging primarily in street level scuffles and mundane drama that does not suffer for the workman style. Yet the protagonist nonetheless has a power which probes and enlargens the boundaries of human experience, and one would wish it could report back something more impressive than "Death was a new experience for me."
(I am being harsh. It's a defensible line, becasue Creep affects that soyishly modern sardonic, ironic tone, and you can't in good faith critize a story for reaching for humor when that's in its DNA. But alas.)
O average web serial reader, you could stop skimming now. Or perhaps not. The last thing I will talk about is the themes of Creep. Themes are for eight grade book reports, yes, but Creep is overt enough about its philosophical underbelly that it's worth a word of warning. If you're the type who has complaints of 'pretentiousness' on hair trigger, Creep may irritate you. The quibbles about the plainness of Creep's prose rears up again here, for the serial is neither subtle enough nor novel enough that its protracted discussions of society, good and evil, freedom and binaries have any plausible deniability. It avoids bewing trite or ostentatious, and if you're willing to engage with it, it's not bad thought food. Honestly, I would easily recommend Creep to those readers looking for fiction with something to say, without being so cloistered you have to do a whole literary analysis to realize what that something is.
All that said, do I recommend Creep? Of course I do. It's highly accessible and engaging bit of web fiction. It has enough going on, and it has something interesting to say without floundering in the telling. Creep isn't for everyone, I will admit. But, I venture, it is for most people, and I encourage about anyone who wants a solid, gritty superhero story to give it a good go.
I made it to chapter 23, but, the story is just repeating itself at this point. The author is trying to be subversive, but has practically failed each time. Every single time the story starts to build up momentum, it immediately comes crashing down as the story takes a complete 180 straight back to the beginning. The first time was confusing and abrupt, the second time was just dumb, by the third time I've grown tired of the same circumstances. 23 chapters in, but there hasn't been any real progression or character development... Every single time the MC opens a door, he jumps down a flight of stairs just before walking through.
So this author does have some slick concepts (particularly the world building), fairly good dialog (always cynical though) and the premise for the story is great but for some reason he feels the need to keep making the MC act like a idiot to generate some drama when its completely unecessary.
Over and over again the MC runs away from society (initially for somewhat understandable reasons) only to come crawling back claiming he only wants to live as a normal person in peace and within days he is forced to flee again from the mess he has made of things. Never learning a thing and repeating the same mistakes all over.
All the while ranting about morals and justice and how everything is all so unfair and gosh why won't people just leave him alone he was just stealing from some murderous drug lords jeeeezzzz why does everything go wrong etc etc etc
You're effectively inside the MC's head pretty much the whole time so it never lets up and it just ruined it for me.
I made it to chapter 23 on the strength of the first 5 chapters or so and I think it was around chapter 15 or so it started to jump the shark to me.
A decent story whose premise of a constantly evolving protagonist while intriguing and pretty well executed is robbed of any emotional impact due to its constant change.
Gave a 3.5/5 and gonna have to stop at ch 14 myself. The writing itself is great, the characters feel fairly real, and the story had a good feeling of depth to it - at least up till a few chapters before 14. The reason I didnt give it a higher score is because both the writing quality and the plot drop off big.
It seemed like after he got blown up on the beach that the writing just kind of fell apart. Everything was suddenly both fast paced and keeping us in the moment, characters and interactions no longer felt as real, and having a character who is willing to die rather than be controlled by the heroes end up with his own individual cells having minds of their own and his body threatening suicide if he doesnt do what it wants? What? I tried to keep going a bit after the explosion to see how it went but it felt like a trainwreck to me now. Like a well planned story that ran out of ideas and just threw stuff out.
Creep is a compelling story of a man forced to be confronted that not all "heros" are actually hero's. And those considered villains may be the true hero's hidden in plain sight. Being nearly killed just for his power and looks he ends up facing what it means to be a hero a villain or a monster.
I gave this story a real shot by almost catching up completely but in the end I had to think about the chances of the story improving if it hadn't by that point and I couldn't read any further. What you'll find if you open this book is a bunch of almost moments and accomplishments that are quickly reset or given "twists'' to set the MC right back to the beginning or near enough. It's an obnoxiously consistent part of the story and it happens literally (Yes, I know that word is often used the wrong way. I’m not.) every 2-3 chapters like clockwork. It quickly gets to the point the story teaches you not to get excited or interested in anything happening because the story will punish you for it. I'm not kidding, it really does happen that consistently! So far the experience has been like if you watched One Piece but at the end of every island arc the hero DOESN'T defeat the bad guy. Hell, they don’t even defeat the big bads minions. It’s loss after loss, again and again, all throughout East blue and into the grandline and beyond. Or it's like the legend of icarus and his wax wings but the mc doesn't even need to fly high for them to melt. Take a step and his wings melt. Go for a walk and the bloody sun falls from the sky to scorch them. It was relentless! I feel confident you will never get a moment in the story that feels like a worthy payoff for any amount of attention or thought you give it. It just won’t happen.
I probably would've stopped halfway through but the author seemed to have extended a somewhat acceptable olive branch so I didn't. But what that means is when things inevitably went t*ts up it wasn't a complete and total disaster. There was a slight caveat to the latest "twist" which hadn't happened before. But the spirit of that was completely gone by the next arc and I was back to just going with the flow and reading with a blank face because I knew nothing happening was going to lead anywhere anyway. I'm now settled on the idea that however interesting a premise or how demanding it's been for the author to write there’s one thing he's overlooked and it’s the thing that utterly ruined the story. That was the narrative. I guess if he was going for “The world is always going to take a crp on you no matter what” he hit the nail on the head because that's what the story ended up being to its readers. The story itself was very consistent with that idea at the cost of the reader's experience with it. But that wasn't the problem. Not really anyway. You can't forget what the purpose of a story is and why you're telling it. It can affect the character but it shouldn't be hurting the readers too. It should fulfill what you want to write while also being palatable or enjoyable for the audience. That’s the balance any story being told to others should achieve. A story ought to develop expectations in readers that are eventually satisfied even if they aren't the same expectations the characters themselves have. You can't treat the characters' expectations as the readers and expect them to like the story when you end up crushing them. Inevitably the character's failure will feel like a let down for the reader too. What if I want the character to take a step? Or go on a walk? When the sun instantly punishes the notion I'm left feeling unsatisfied because the only expectation the story was giving me was either ignored or outright broken. I might be explaining all this the wrong way, but I hope you guys get the gist of what I mean. There's never a solid win the readers can get behind. It's always the loser and his constant failures and never any satisfaction for having read it.
My next problem would be the ill advised confusion the story gives about which version of Creep is the most real, or in other words the one that most deserved the audiences attention. I think in general giving readers a character or characters who are clearly the MC's is a good choice but this story took confusion and ran with it. The narrative (Can you guess what's coming?) set up the guy who I still think of as the real Creep and put him in a situation where it seemed like he'd had success for the first time. A genuine win with very few caveats. It took forever, but finally he'd done something that hadn’t disappeared immediately. But in the very next arc the author slaps you right upside the head with the "twist" that the Creep who achieved all that wasn't even the real Creep! Now I have to go back to following the loser who never wins because this new and poorly established "Creep" is the guy I should follow. So in a way the story still never ended up giving us readers a win we could get behind or feel hyped over! It poisoned and twisted the first expectation of the story ever truly fulfilled or met. It was the last straw for me and 70 chapters in (Only a few more till I would've caught up) I finally realised it wasn't worth waiting around for even the cheap satisfaction of "Well, at least I finished it". I was finally given what I’d been sticking around for and the next moment it was gone just like all the others before it.
Tl;DR is the definition of how I should've treated this story. It was too long and not worth the read. The only thing you’ll get on the other side is the feeling of having been betrayed over and over again by the narrative. There won't be a single moment you can think back on later as a good or cool scene.
The thing that I like the most about this novel is the MC. To be more specific, I like his power. I have seen similar abilities, but none with this much potential, and I really cant wait to see how he will progress from now on.
I also like how he changed his view on life after his experiences, especially when he went to the beach, the place where he had his revelation and made his resolve, and where he understood what he really wanted from life, and realized how everything changed and nothing will ever be the same.
That said, I think that the author was too prolix when he explained his changes - for example I skipped most of his conversation with Rusty.
I also haven't understood his objectives, aside from the "become more" part and the place where he wants to go, I have not seen him making any particular plan. He may be still thinking about it but that's exactly a part where I believe the author should be more prolix, because I think a reader would want to see what the MC will work for and how, and if, his objectives will be realized.(Edit: he exposed his thoughts later so don't consider this point)
I haven't noticed any grammar error, though I admit that I haven't paid much attention to punctuation and the like.
It's been about a week since creep's debut, and we've already gotten a surplus of creativeness and originality, in my opinion, an oversaturated genre. The way it diverts the superhero genre and puts it on its head is very interesting, and Walter is probably one of the most interesting superhero protagonists I've seen thus far. He isn't the type that thrives or even enjoys the super-powered life, and his power is far from glamorous.
I'll most likely be editing this review once the story has progressed more, but I wanted to congratulate Shaeor and sing his praises, as well as give critique for what is to come. Hopefully this goes in more places than the usual 'joins superhero team, finds bad guy, fights bad guy, lives happily ever after as superhero' scenario.
All in all, very promising. Keep it up.
So... I can see myself in this character. And I suppose that's something some authors want to go for and some want to stay away from, but I can only tell you about my experience.
He absolutely wants NOTHING to do with his present situation, and I can't imagine there are too many people who have no idea what that's like. And I love it.
He hasn't yet faced too much considering there are only four chapters as of yet but I'm expecting great things from this story. Our protagonist is someone who stands at the edge of being a great hero or being labeled a terrible villain and regardless of his choice, I look forward to the result.