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My sister was recently overseas, and (mostly to make fun of my pony interest, I'm guessing), she got me a Croatian pony magazine as a present. Joke's on her, though; it came with a little plastic Rainbow Dash that actually looks pretty decent. He'll be hanging out by the computer for now.
Speaking of Rainbow Dash, get some Dash (and Applejack) stuff with my review of Fon Shaolin's Forever Is Forever, below the break.
Impressions before reading: Well, the fic's description reads, "I debated on updating this or changing it or even not posting it, but a quick google search showed that a lot of people still remember this (bad) fan fiction of mine and wondered where it went. Therefore, I'm posting it here unaltered so you won't have to dig around for it anymore." So... yeah, that's not inspiring a lot of confidence going in. I appreciate that he put it up, though (the story, that is); I've got some stories I feel kind of the same way about, in fact. Still, I'd feel better about this if there was at least some description in that description.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: An elderly Applejack accompanies her daughter and granddaughter to see the still-new Princesses and their advisers in Canterlot at the Summer Sun Celebration--despite the unresolved issues that still lie between them.
Thoughts after reading: I was kind of afraid from the description that this would be some barely-coherent pile of mush. After reading, I'm happy to report that isn't the case. However, there are some pretty noticeable issues here, it's true.
While the editing is fairly good, and character dialogue is pleasantly on-point and distinct, the narrative voice is dull and prone to interrupting the flow of the story with various interjections about characters' backstory or bits of worldbuilding. I don't mind either of those things in principle, of course, but the placement of those elements was often an issue.
On a larger level, I wasn't terribly impressed with the way that this fic dealt with immortality. A lot of stories, including this one, assume that princessdom=immortality (by the by, this is an old fanfic; written during season one, I believe. Make sure you adjust your "what we know about princesses/alicorns/etc." expectations accordingly). A surprising number, including this one, make the assumption that not only are princesses immortal, but that they can dole out immortality to whomever they chose... and that they chose to make few or no ponies immortal, and that everypony is more or less okay with this state of affairs. That right there doesn't pass the smell test; indeed, it gives me more than a whiff of "not thinking one's premise all the way through."
If you can get past that premise, there is some nicely depressing drama here, but again, the reasons why Applejack's being so stubborn don't necessarily hold up logically as well as they do in terms of story-needs. But with that caveat, this fic does a good job of creating the mood it sets out to, and readers looking for an evocation of sadness will find it here. Moreover, although the scenario may not lend itself to permitting reader credulity, it's also fair to say that (except possibly for the last revelation, which some might find to be one too many plot conveniences) it doesn't cloyingly tug at the reader's strings without earning any emotional investment, as so many "sadfics" are wont to do.
★★☆☆☆ (what does this mean?)
While it's certainly got its flaws, there is a certain uncomplicated charm to this story. It might be a bit clunky, and perhaps it doesn't hold up to much scrutiny, but there is a sense of emotional honesty to it which is refreshing.
Recommendation: Anyone who's going to be put off by a bunch of retroactively uncanon stuff can give this a pass, obviously (you guys probably have more stuff you can't read than can, four seasons in). For the rest, this might be worth a look if you're interested in something somber from the early days of the fandom, but readers looking for something that holds up under consideration will want to look elsewhere.
Next time: The Irony of Applejack, by Mister Friendly