Monday, March 10, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 40: Mood Wings

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

As I sit here typing this, I've got no fewer than five different kinds of chocolate sitting within arm's reach.  I'm not eating any of them; they just seem to have accumulated near my computer.  I've got a couple of leftover chocolate hearts, the last of some cookies that I eat with my coffee in the afternoons, a bucket of almond toffee that my mom gave me, some white chocolate bark that I got from work, and an Easter Bunny from last year that I discovered hiding in the Easter decorations.  And somehow, they've all accumulated within a few feet of me.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I think they might be trying to gang up on me.

Anyway; click down below the break for my review of Tchernobog's Mood Wings.

Impressions before reading:  I'm pretty sure I've read this before; I remember the setup, the plot, and the twist (such as it was) at the end.  And yet, I don't actually remember reading this--I just remember what it's about in enough detail to convince me I didn't just hear about it or something.  I'm not sure if that's a good sign or not, but there you are.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  While on her continuing quest to read every book in the library, Twilight comes across a book about how pegasi show emotions through their wings.  Intrigued, she decides to go make some observations around town while she reads.

Thoughts after reading:  I don't really have a lot to say about this story, but here goes: this is a thoroughly predictable story, in its broad strokes.  It doesn't take long to figure out what the twist will more-or-less be, and given that the story is pretty much a straight march to that destination, there's not much excitement to be had on the plot front.

Of course, that by itself doesn't mean a story can't be good.  The main appeal of Mood Wings lies in its shameless worldbuilding; Tchernobog does a nice job of framing all the wing-theorizing in the trappings of "accessible academia," and the bits and pieces of Twi's book which we get to see are interesting enough (and, although it's true that they bring the narrative to a halt time and again, I find I can't really hold that against them--like I said, that narrative didn't hold much interest to begin with).  In fact, I'd have liked to see a bit more on that front; the story deals mostly in broad generalities, where adding a few more specific details (either in the book, or via Twilight's observations) would have given the whole thing a greater sense of depth.  Still, there are some well thought out ideas here.

But that's basically the appeal of this story.  Despite the comedy tag, there's not a consistent thread of humor through the work.  Despite the romance tag, there's not a lot of that here, either (though to be fair, there's plenty of "comedy"-of-errors sort of stuff).  In fact... there's just not a lot here.

Star rating:   (what does this mean?)

I definitely didn't mind reading this, but there's not a lot to recommend it beyond a thought-through look at how pegasi use their wings to express emotion.  Take that away, and what you're left with is a thoroughly typical example of slice-of-life fanfiction--nothing I have any desire to denigrate, but nothing I'd consider an exemplar, either.

Recommendation:  If you enjoy a bit of well-fit headcanon, this is certainly worth looking at.  But anyone interested in the story beyond that will probably find this competent but, ultimately, unmemorable.

Next time:  The Age of Wings and Steel, by DSNesmith


  1. Replies
    1. Well, if you looked at the upcoming fics page, this wouldn't be a surprise to you now, would it?

      Though now I wonder; what was it that led you to this fic just then?

    2. What else: a fanfic reading.

      One I had queued a good two months ago, easy.

    3. There's an upcoming fics page?

  2. Beaten to death by a gang of chocolates: that's how I want to go out.

  3. I remember this! I remember it as, 'not a bad premise, generally well written, but shipping'. Honestly, I recall it being pleasant to read (i went and checked—the writing is genuinely solid); it's just that the number of otherwise-good stories messed up by random shipping aggravates me. I'm not particularly keen to defend of champion the story, but I feel certain it's better than some thing you've given at least two stars to.

    Of course, fighting over one or two stars is damning with faint praise, so...

    1. I was originally going to give it a weak two stars, but as I was writing the review I ended up talking myself down to one--the premise was fine, the writing was fine or maybe even a little better than that, etc., but as I was trying to come up with selling points for the fic (i.e. stuff that really separates it from "the crowd"), I couldn't really find any other than the worldbuilding--as far as the story itself went, I couldn't seem to come up with anything particularly worth highlighting.

      Of course, most of that stuff was decent or at least unobjectionable (I found the shipping... well, I found I was mostly able to read around the problems it introduced), but "I can't think of anything it really did well" seemed to me like a compelling argument against two. But I did bite my lip over it a bit, for what that's worth.

    2. I like random shipping, and even I thought the shipping was random.

      I mean, some of it was necessary to illustrate the points in the text, but on the other hand, none of it needed to be mane cast. At the very least, one of those ships was entirely superfluous.

    3. There's a word for superfluous shipping. It's shipping.

      *Waits for heads to explode*

  4. Meh.

    Word of the Day: Denigrate.

  5. Heard of the story. Never read it. Kind of glad I didn't now.

  6. Well, I liked it enough to put it in my favorites list. And it is a worldbuilding story, with a little shipping and misunderstanding comedy on top like frosting on a tasty cupcake. If you try to read it as a comedy or a romance, yes it falls flat, but as a concept turned into a story, it's just fine.