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A simple suggestion, if I may: I'd like to propose that, henceforth, any author who wants to write a second-person story be required to read this first. I'd like to think it would result in far fewer trainwrecks cropping up on FIMfiction, but maybe I have too much faith in the ability of those authors to get the joke, or understand how it might apply to their own writing.
After the break, my review of the definitely-not-a-second-person-adventure, Passport-Clean's Tilt.
Impressions before reading: This is one I've read before, and I enjoyed it immensely. But despite lacking the tag, this is very much a "random" story, and random stories don't always hold up well to inspection. Still, look at that cover art! How can you not want to enjoy this? It's Trixie... on a pinball! Making a "this is serious" face! The fact that the image has nothing to do with the story itself beyond the fact that both contain Trixie and pinball does nothing to damper the smile that image brings to my face.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Applejack is determined to beat the high score on the family pinball machine, which has mocked her ever since the Apples purchased it. Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and it isn't by chance alone that "G.A.P." has held the top spot on the game for so long...
Thoughts after reading: Actually, to call this "random" is a bit of an overstatement. There's a clear, structured story, filled with consistent, developed characters here, which is hardly the hallmark of a random story. It's just that the story also centers around a magical pinball machine (seapony-themed, complete with SHOO BE DOO-ing out the wazoo) with a mind of its own, and the increasingly unlikely interactions with it to which various ponies are driven. So, you can see where the term applies.
Perhaps "incongruously dramatic" would be a better word, because that's mostly what's going on here: an inherently silly situation presented with unflinching sincerity. From AJ's initial determination to beat a pinball game's high score to Trixie's declaration that she will right all wrongs and solve all ills by playing "the most awe inspiring game of pinball any pony has ever witness[ed]," Tilt does a nice job of using its increasingly absurd premise not as a comic crutch, but as the basis for a surprisingly well-developed story. A story that just happens to be based on ponies playing pinball, which gives it a nice patina of comedy, but doesn't overwhelm the action. Like a normal random story (which I realize is an oxymoron) though, it does rely heavily on credulity-straining events as story drivers. I never found these to be anything but amusing and of the non-immersion-breaking variety, but they're there nonetheless.
From a technical standpoint, the only complaint of note is excessively sparse punctuation; there's plenty of run-on sentences crying out for commas here, among other things (for example, "awe inspiring" from the quote above really should be hyphenated). Otherwise, word choice is quite good, and character voices are rendered quite nicely on the whole. Trixie especially demonstrates the same over-the-top melodramatics which she does in the show, something many writers seem to struggle with. This Trixie is neither under-written, nor reduced to a mere third-person one-note joke; a Bob Dole caricature, if you will (now that I think about it, a Trixie x Bob Dole crackfic would be... well, it would definitely be something).
And it's not just Trixie's voicing that rings true. Passport-Clean uses her very well as a character, deftly avoiding many of the traps into which authors fall when writing about her. In this story, she's unambiguously brash, arrogant, and otherwise full of herself, yet the author manages to broaden that characterization without dismissing or devaluing those defining characteristics at all. Her backstory was an especial treat: thoughtful, but not needlessly angsty or maudlin like so many Trixie backstories are. The other ponies are equally well-written, though none of them (even poor AJ, the nominal protagonist) are particularly nuanced. Although the ending was a bit trite for my tastes, one thing I greatly appreciated was that, although there was a lesson, it didn't toss anypony's characterization out the window.
Star rating: ★★★★☆ (what does this mean?)
Although this is an unquestionably ridiculous piece of fanfiction, it's real strength lies in the fact that behind its unquestionably ridiculous premise lies a thoughtful (if still comic) story. Tilt is funny, yes, but there's more to it than just sprawling jokes.
Recommendation: This is not a story for anyone who's going to get caught up in the logistics of pony pinball, suspiciously convenient magic spells, or other such insertions/contrivances, obviously. For pretty much any other reader though, I'd say that it offers a nice mix of comedy and quality characterization.
Next time: Naked Singularity, by Cold in Gardez