We pre-empt this intro with some late-breaking news: Equestria Daily and Collins English Dictionary can go straight to hell. We now return you to your regularly scheduled mini-reviews, below the break.
If Memory Serves, by Pascoite
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Rarity has a visitor for tea.
A few thoughts: Pascoite is, in my opinion, one of the most consistent authors in the fandom; he doesn't just write enjoyable stories, but writes them on a regular basis, with outliers few and far between. This story was an outlier for me, though... in a positive sense. This is a story about the tragedy of losing one's memory, and while those kind of stories are difficult to pull off (and moreover, can be downright offensive when the subject isn't treated with some respect), this story deals with the subject tastefully, realistically (many of the small touches, like there being "safe" topics which never seem to upset the person, lend authenticity to the tale), and touchingly. This one's going on my short list of powerful takes on the subject.
Recommendation: Although it's tagged a sad story, this fic doesn't ever try to milk its subject; it's simply a story about the kind of terrible thing that can happen to anyone, which (I think) makes it hit all the harder. I highly recommend this to anyone with a taste for tragedy without ladled-on dramatics.
ACT OF WILL, by PresentPerfect
Zero-ish spoiler summary: A machine appears in the middle of Ponyville one day, and the townsponies soon discover that it can predict--or perhaps, decide--how one will die.
A few thoughts: I haven't read the novel this is a crossover with, but I don't think that impacted my reading much (although I generally consider the crossover tag fair warning in and of itself, I do appreciate it when crossovers are broadly accessible). I do wonder, though, if the mix of comedy, tragedy, and existential crisis made more sense in a longer format than in this 3000 word piece. Each part individually was fine, but swinging between the tragedy of a fatal Everfree incursion and Derpy finding out she'll die of "muffins" was too big a tonal gap for me to bridge. The ending was clever, but without knowing whether to interpret it in light of (and in the tone of) the first example or the second, "muddled" is probably the best way to describe my feelings towards this fic.
Recommendation: If you're a fan of "what if?" stories, this one does a good job of establishing, then playing around with, an interesting premise. I wouldn't suggest it to readers looking for a consistent tenor, though.
If You Came to Conquer, by cleverpun
Zero-ish spoiler summary: In a world where Celestia was overthrown a thousand years ago, Nightmare Moon asks Discord to help her change the way things came about.
A few thoughts: This story comes with an excellent twist at the end; one which is set up thematically and conceptually by the rest of the story, but which isn't obvious (at least, in all its particulars) up until it's revealed. Even without that twist, though (or if one were to go in already knowing what it is) this story holds together well as an examination of the price of one's choices. "Nightmare Moon won" is one of the oldest AU cliches there is, but cleverpun manages to use the idea to good effect here.
Recommendation: This one definitely earns its dark tag, so readers averse to death (or extinction, as the case may be) in their ponyfic would do well to stay away. But for fans of terrible decisions, terrible consequences, and well-executed twists, Conquer delivers.
The Council of Friendship, by Drake Clawfang
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight tries to get her friends--now the titular Council, what with the whole "destiny-tree-thrones-something-something-super-friendship-powers" at the end of season four--to follow proper parliamentary procedure. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
A few thoughts: Within a few paragraphs, it's obvious what kind of story this is going to be: Twilight gets increasingly frustrated with her friends, the reader laughs at their snark and her exasperation, she finally snaps, final punchline, the end. What makes this story so enjoyable isn't the surprises in it (there aren't any) but the excellent character voicing. Clawfang (an aside: I admit that I was a little trepidatious going into this one based on the author's name; "Drake Clawfang" sounds way too much like a traditional terrible OC name, at least to my ears. Do other readers get judgemental about author names, or is it just me?) demonstrates an excellent ear for character voices, and a real knack for writing dialogue. Most of this story is just a conversation (well, argument), but it flows smoothly and never gets dull.
Recommendation: This is definitely worth checking out if you're in the mood for some light humor.