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Happy new year, everyone! Good luck with your resolutions and/or hangovers, and I hope the former last longer than the latter.
Click on down below the break for my review of Drakkith's How to Preen Your Chicken.
Impressions before reading: The fact that this story's description contains the line, "Warning: May Contain Feels and/or D'aww moments" has me worried going in. In my experience, there's a very strong negative correlation between use of the word "feels" (or "d'aww") and actual emotional impact. Then again, with a title like this, maybe I should just be glad it doesn't have the sex tag.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: After a full day of flying practice, Dash discovers that nopony has ever taught Scootaloo how to properly preen her feathers. Bonding ensues.
Thoughts after reading: If I had to chose a word to describe this story, it would be "generic." It is one of a great many stories which share the same basic premise: that Scootaloo is an orphan, and that Dash fills/will fill a parent/adult sibling role in her life.
Now, there's nothing wrong with that, as a plot point. But the problem with using it as the plot is that there's no conflict there; no adversity. All you have on that front is Scoot's need for an adult in her life, and this is generally (and in this case, specifically) not particularly emphasized, relative to the intended payoff. Without adding some sort of complication (feelings of inadequacy on the parts of one or both ponies, a guardian/authority figure trying to intervene, etc.), all you have is, a scene devoid of any emotional impetus which the readers do not bring themselves to the fic. And unfortunately, How to Preen Your Chicken brings little beyond an introductory preening scene and a title-only fandom gag to the table on that front.
Honestly, I'm struggling to think of much more to say. This story has adequate writing, which tends toward the disconnected but is easy enough to read. It belongs to the large and, among many readers, still-popular class of "orphan Scoot + caring Dash" fics, and is thoroughly typical of them. I really can't think of anything which is particularly noteworthy about this fic. Even its flaws--in addition to the above-mentioned lack of conflict and ramble-y-ness, there's also the overlong delay between when it becomes obvious what the reveal is and when the narrative chooses to actually reveal it--are completely and utterly typical flaws for stories with this particular plot. This story is exactly what you think it is.
Star rating: ★☆☆☆☆ (what does this mean?)
I don't have anything very negative to say about this story. How to Preen Your Chicken is pretty much the definition of "typical fanfiction" to me (well, it has better spelling than "typical fanfiction," perhaps), and while that's fine for what it is, this isn't a story I'd single out for... anything, really.
Recommendation: If you have a particular affection for stories about Scoot and Dash bonding, then this will tickle that bone. Otherwise, I suspect most readers will find this unremarkable, and ultimately unmemorable.
Next time: The Games we Play, by AbsoluteAnonymous