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I fear it says something terrible about my lack of interesting life experiences (or at least, my lack of small-talk skills) that these blurbs up above the reviews are often the hardest part of the post to write. But really, what riveting things do I have to share from the last couple of days? Um... I de-greased my bike's gears? I watched the Wild force game seven on Monday? I saw a muskrat on the way to work yesterday?
Actually, that last one was kind of neat. He was right by the side of the road and I was stopped there, so I got a good look at him. Those things are bigger than you (I) think! ...Anyway, my review of Darth Link 22's Post Nuptials, after the break.
Impressions before reading: To be completely honest, I'm a little skeptical just based on the name--"Darth Link 22" is the sort of name I associate with Call of Duty players/obscenity-shouters, not authors. I won't hold that against Mr. 22, though; it's a silly thing to pre-judge someone for, after all. As for the story itself, I like the idea of addressing some of the unresolved issues post-A Canterlot Wedding (surely, discovering and foiling an invasion plot based on body-switching will leave some tensions behind). Here's hoping we get good execution on the premise!
Zero-ish spoiler summary: On the evening of Cadence and Shining Armour's wedding, the main six (and others) confront their failings--as friends and as ponies, both on that day and in the past--in various, and sometimes unexpected, company.
Thoughts after reading: I'll stick with my initial assessment of the premise: that there's a lot of potential for exploring feelings of betrayal and inadequacy in the wake of Chrysalis et al (nearly) doing their thing. Unfortunately, the execution here falls flat in a variety of ways. This starts with technical issues--while by no means unreadable, Post Nuptials is full of run-on sentences and the odd missing word/misused word/tense shift/etc. to trip up the unwary reader--but extends much deeper than that.
Considering that this story is primarily a series of conversations, most of the actual emotion and reaction seems to be relegated to narration. Often, it's not even necessary information, as the emotion is adequately conveyed in the conversation itself, which effectively makes the story twice as long as it "should" be by incessantly repeating this or once more spelling out that. The result is that in many places, Post Nuptials nearly grinds to a halt. Lending to this sense of grind is the way that character voices, while distinct enough most of the time, blend to the narrative voice's vocabulary whenever the conversation turns "deep," producing multiple same-y, articulately-identical passages.
This story is, nominally, an attempt to read some depth into the immediate aftermath of A Canterlot Wedding, and as I said, I feel like there's fertile ground there for an author to exploit. However, this story uses that as a jumping-off point to inject drama, emotional trauma, and latent feelings of self-deficiency into more than a dozen other episodes. While a certain amount of this makes sense as emotional ground-laying for the various ponies' reactions, the sheer number of alternate episode readings and revelations piles on to the point of ridiculousness. It quickly comes to seem like every single episode of the show left deep psychological wounds on at least one pony, and the effect is to attenuate the importance of the event at the center of this story, rather than support it.
I did enjoy seeing the wedding after-party from different perspectives in the abstract, though this sometimes became little more than repetition. However, this did end up highlighting one of the most annoying weaknesses of this story: it's not a self-contained story. That is to say, multiple major plot points are left unresolved, to be addressed in this fic's sequel. When I say "major plot points," I want to make clear that I'm not talking about sequel-bait: important character dramas which are introduced in the first quarter of the story, and are repeatedly brought up, are left entirely unresolved by the time the story ends (with a "to be continued"). Since it was not at all clear to me going in that this was not a stand-alone fic, I was more than a little miffed by this.
I think my review ended up a little harsher than I intended. This was a dull story most of the way through, but it's got an appealing central concept, and that carries through most of the story. It just often gets hidden behind piled-on drama and other distractions.
Recommendation: Readers who want to see a lot of different episodes get "fixed" will get their fix here (nyuk nyuk). For the more general reader, though, this probably isn't worth specifically seeking out.
Next time: Let's Just Say..., by Obsolescence