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Time for that most frustrating of events: the abandoned fic. Who among us hasn't invested several hours (or more) reading a story told in updates, only to discover too late that it would never be completed? Not fun times.
There are obvious limits to what kind of review I can give an incomplete story, but I wanted to do a post about it in any case (thanks for the warning anyway, anonymous poster). So, everything I've got about Bobcat's Fair Feather Friend is after the break.
Impressions before reading: I followed this story diligently when it was being written. As you can imagine, I was awfully peeved that it got dropped. But if I liked it enough to be upset that it wouldn't be completed, I guess that's a good thing, right?
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Rainbow Dash loves dogs, but her cloud house isn't exactly built to accommodate land-going animals. But when she comes across a wounded hawk while flying, she decides that maybe pet ownership isn't such an impossible dream after all.
Thoughts after reading: I'd forgotten how much fanon this story created. Not just the hawk (if you were wondering, this fic right here is the reason so many people were rooting for the falcon to be Dash's pet in May the Best Pet Win), but things like Dash's middle name and Pinkie's dreamhopping were first conceived in this story, and have since been adopted and adapted in many other comics and fanfics.
Considering the quality of the writing, it's no surprise that it had such an impact. The first three chapters are remarkably well done. There's no cause to complain about the writing from a technical standpoint, Bobcat does an excellent job capturing Dash's transparent self-doubt and facade of aloof coolness, and the jokes come fast and free. Some of the humor is a little to meta- for my tastes (the parody of Batman, for example), but there's no question that it's funny. And as I've observed before, much can be forgiven in comic writing, as long as it gets a laugh.
The last two chapters aren't bad by any stretch, but it's obvious that the author was running out of inspiration. Character-based humor and plot development remain good, but increasingly take a backseat to slapstick, fandom in-jokes, and meta-humor. It's not bad...but it doesn't live up the the (admittedly high) expectations set by the opening chapters. When you start relying on title drops of other well-known fanfics for your comedy, that's not a good sign.
And then...it ends. Just stops, right in the middle of the story. I understand how it feels to lose interest in something you're writing; I, too, have abandoned a story I was writing once. I felt awful about it afterwords (even though I think less than a dozen people were reading it), and ever since I've taken steps to make sure that anything I write piecemeal will be completed. Still, being able to empathize with the author doesn't make it any less frustrating to see a story be abandoned. Especially when the story's good! This didn't get 6-starred by accident, but what can you say about a story missing its last chapter(s)?
Star rating: N/A
You can't say anything about it, that's what. There's not a complete story to review here. I still wanted to comment on it, but I can't attach a rating to something that isn't and never will be finished.
Recommendation: Obviously, I can't recommend this to anyone. Which is a shame, because it's really quite funny, such of it as there is. Dash's portrayal is one of the best out there, and the way Bobcat mines her cocky veneer for humor (she names her pet Baron Awesome, for crying out loud!) is excellent. I'd almost say it's worth reading just for that.
Next time: Storm, by Kits