To read the story, click the image or follow this link
In my bout of angsty apathy on Monday, I failed to say anything about the newest episode, Flight to the Finish. Honestly, I didn't care for it. The song was underwhelming by FiM standards; it leaned far more towards the "teen pop" side of composition than usual (between this and the Babs Seed song in season two, I wonder if the CMC haven't been consciously delegated this role), and the tune outside of the chorus was so unmemorable and un-catchy that I can't actually recall how it goes, even after seeing the episode twice. Beyond that, there were a few things I enjoyed about the episode (Carrot Top and her boyfriend at the train station remains adorable; Silver Spoon explicitly acknowledging how little the show writers have done with her and Diamond Tiara ("But how do we stop them? We already called them blank flanks!") was great; I do think that making it clear that Scoot can't fly, and that this is, at least, unusual, adds to her character). But, between the stroke Ms. Harshwhinney was apparently having (there is a point at which goofy faces stop being cute and start being annoying, and this season has already dashed that line to smithereens), Dash's inner monologuing (that felt forced; for goodness' sake, just have her say the lines sotto voce if you need them that bad), and the fact that I've just never gotten on board with the CMC to the degree that the rest of the fandom seems to have, this one wasn't one of my favorites. Oh well, they can't all be great.
ANYWAY, click on below the break for my review of Aragon's Daring DONE!
Impressions before reading: First impression: it's a different fic from Daring Don't, which I accidentally read in its place. Stupid similar-sounding story titles...
Beyond that, I see that from his bio that the author's not a native English speaker, which does make me wonder if the odd phrasing of the first line of the story's description (...Twilight's mother is the real identity of Silky Dusk, the author of the Daring Do books") is a harbinger of things to come. Then again, that's my only issue with that description, so hopefully I'm over-reacting.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight lets slip to Rainbow Dash that her mother's nome de plume is Silky Dusk--and that she's the author of the famous Daring Doo series. Dash sends a not-at-all-over-obsessive fanletter, and things escalate quickly from there.
Thoughts after reading: Well, the Daring-Doo episode has now placed this story firmly into the realm of "alternate universe" (I can't help but feel like that's not the proper relationship between "realm" and "universe," but c'est la vie), so if you're the kind of person who's not interested in anything which is explicitly outside of canon, I suppose you'll want to skip over this one. Your loss, though.
Daring DONE! consists of a series of letters between Rainbow Dash, Twilight's mom/the author of the Daring Doo series, Twilight, and a slowly expanding circle of other ponies, which leans heavily on ridiculousness. Aragon shows a knack for identifying the foibles of fans dealing with their idols, then exaggerating them to the point of ridiculousness. This story gets well and truly silly, but at its heart it's the sort of thing anyone who's ever gushed just a little too inchoately to a favorite author, politician, or actor can relate to.
The first letter in the story is from Dash, and I thought the author did a great job capturing her voice when I first read it. Plus, the note at the end of the letter nicely explains why Dash is rambling stream-of-consciousness style in a written note. However, after reading a little farther, I was less certain of that initial assessment. Twilight and her mother both notably share a lot of the transcriptual habits of Dash, and while some of this is due to the nature of the letters in question, I didn't feel that either necessarily hued to the canon (Twi) and implied (mom) personalities of each with great vigour. Other characters show a bit more variety, though they have their own issues; Twilight's father and "the royal guard" highlight a brief sequel chapter which is funny enough, but suffers from pacing issues not really present in the rest of the story (the result, I believe, of the chapter being basically one new joke, with a few callbacks to lines from the first chapter thrown in to keep it from dragging any more than it does).
But with that said, this is very much a "just go with it" sort of story, which peddles a flimsy premise into some comical shenanigans and histrionics. And those shenanigans and histrionics do their job quite well; I laughed, I smiled, and I never spent long enough being bored that my brain threatened to turn back on. Well, that's a mean way to put it, but what I mean is that there was always something funny to distract me from any of the sorts of deeper (or heck, surface-level) questions which a fic like this doesn't have any answer for.
But, on the note I ended my pre-reading impressions on, this story is eminently readable. It's full of run-ons, incoherent half-ideas, and the like on the characters' parts, but it's at all points clear that this is a deliberate decision, not the result of any lack of skill or effort on the author's part.
Star rating: ★★★☆☆ (what does this mean?)
There aren't a lot of unplumbed depths here, and there are noticeable voicing issues at times. But given how aggressively, successfully comical this story is, those are easy problems to put aside while reading.
Recommendation: This will appeal to anyone looking for a short, simple, and funny story. I doubt it's one that will stay with the average reader, but for those in search of piece of enjoyable ephemera, this would be it.
Next time: The Golden Armor, by Comet Burst