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I love mythological references as much as anyone (and more than most, probably), but I know I'm not alone in feeling a little unnerved by the casualness with which Tartarus was introduced into MLP canon. Do the "monsters" imprisoned therein include Cronus? Maybe that's why Celestia and Luna are princesses and not queens: Cronus and Rhea ruled together, and Cronus ate each of his children (the alicorns) as they were born, until Luna was able to escape and overthrow him, freeing her siblings from his belly and imprisoning him for all time. So they still hold the titles themselves, but are banished and powerless so long as Cerebus guards the gates of... wait, uh-oh.
Then again, maybe that isn't the direction the show's writers are going with this. Call it a hunch.
The RPGenius's Sweet Apple Capers: a review, after the break.
Impressions before reading: I read this story sometime after it was posted, but most of the details have slipped my mind in the interim. I remember it had a definite Loony Tunes vibe to it which, considering that Pinkie's the protagonist, makes sense.
I can also see that I 5-starred it after reading. Five stars from me on Equestria Daily doesn't mean the same thing as five stars here, but off hand I'd say that I'll probably like this.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Pinkie Pie needs apples in order to make apple strudel, but the Cakes are fresh out. And with Applejack out of town and Winona guarding the crop from any would-be apple thieves, the stage is set for a high-stakes battle of wills.
Thoughts after reading: Like many, one of the things which first attracted me to FiM was that it reminded me of the cartoons I watched as a child. Simple but vibrant characters, straightforward conflicts which nevertheless (usually) avoid dullness, and a near-total lack of pandering despite the number of jokes which will go over the heads of the show's target demographic--these were once the hallmarks of Warner Bro.'s Saturday morning cartoons, and they describe My Little Pony just as well. Of course, I also grew up watching things like David the Gnome and He-Man, but that's neither here nor there.
Sweet Apple Capers reads, for the most part, like a stretched-out Tweety bird cartoon, with Pinkie and Winona playing Sylvester Cat and Hector Hound, respectively. The setup is as cliche and predictable as anything: Pinkie tries to get apples, Winona stops her, repeat ad infinum. But as with the cartoon, what makes the story interesting isn't the plot itself, but seeing what increasingly ridiculous method Pinkie will come up with to try and get the apples, and seeing how she gets thwarted. And these encounters are without exception funny and original. Moreover, each builds successfully on the last, with each failed attempt spurring an even more absurd stratagem.
That said, the hijinks take a while to get going. For a cartoon in this style, about ten to fifteen seconds of "setup" is typical; just enough to establish who's trying to stop who from eating whom. The RPGenius spends five pages working up to the first encounter between Pinkie and Winona, and I can't help but feel like most of it was superfluous at best. All the reader really needs to know for a story like this is that Pinkie needs apples, and Winona won't let her get any. While the opening is by no means awful, it doesn't really match the tone and style of the rest of the story.
The author's sentences show a tendency to ramble throughout the story. Most of the time this is deliberate, occurring when showcasing Pinkie's lines of reasoning. On occasion, however, the outside narration began to follow similar patterns. In terms of spelling, technical proficiency, and grammar, however, the editing on this piece is excellent.
The piece is full of alliterative humor. I thought about writing out a paragraph full of alliteration noting this, but that seemed like a cheap way to get a laugh (or a groan, more likely). In any case, I love alliteration, and I thought it was great. In fact, the humor throughout was excellent, relying heavily on a combination of physical comedy and narrative understatement. A few jokes didn't work for me (a brief section where the narrator directly addresses the reader being the example that springs most readily to mind), but by in large the comedy in the story was very well done.
Star rating: ★★★★☆ (what does this mean?)
Despite a setup that doesn't really do justice to the body of the fic, this story captures the goofy irreverence of the best Warner Bro.'s shorts, combining single minded focus with unfettered freethinking to create an escalating series of events that one can't help but smile at.
Recommendation: Anyone with fond memories of Roadrunner and Coyote, Bugs and Elmer, or any of the myriad other Saturday morning stars will get a kick out of this. But it's more than just a nostalgia trip: this story stands on its own, and anyone looking for an over-the-top but show-accurate portrayal of Pinkie in all her zany glory should give this a look.
Next time: Nocturne, by Cupcakesnom