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My cat has figured out how to close my laptop screen by head-butting it while balancing on my knees. On one hand, I marvel at his ingenuity. On the other, he seems to be doing it just for fun--it's not like he's necessarily looking for a lap, sometimes he'll push down my screen and then hop off and wander away--and it's getting old pretty fast. Plus, it just makes writing these reviews take longer when I've got one more interruption, even if it is a cute and fuzzy one.
So, ambion's Melt. Review below the break, as always.
Impressions before reading: At first, I thought that cover art was pretty jacked-up. Then I opened the thumbnail, and realized that what I'd taken for Twilight's mouth was actually a thermometer. It looks a lot better when you realized that. Anyway, the SoL tag and description have me expecting something cute and inoffensive, thought I admit to being a little worried based on the fact that this is apparently in the group "Twilestia is Bestia." Hopefully that's just an overzealous addition; otherwise, this could get creepy fast.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight comes down with a very unusual disease, and Celestia comes to offer her a bit of comfort while she rests.
Thoughts after reading: Well, we successfully dodged past Creepytown, thank goodness. The Twilight/Celestia dynamic in this story is rather basic and perfunctory, but sweet for all that. In fact, "basic and perfunctory, but sweet for all that" is a pretty good descriptor of this entire story. It's been hanging around near the Top All-Time list on FiMFic for a while now, and it's not hard to see why: it's unchallenging reading that doesn't do anything to offend, has a couple of nice ideas, and is aggressively pleasant. Whatever you want to say about it as a piece of literature, it's hard to hate (though 22 people, as I type this, apparently managed to).
The writing tends toward fluffy, and run-on sentences are a regular problem ("Rather, this was the voice that croaked and groaned, miserable enough to get the week off from school and not even enjoy it, though being Twilight Sparkle, fell a little short"). The latter works to some degree in the context of the story being told, giving the fic a slice-of-life rambliness, but I still found it distracting in places.
What I really enjoyed about Melt was the disease Twilight contracts, which is nicely fantasy-ish, and provides an excellent backdrop for the fic. Unfortunately, this backdrop was used for some pretty unexciting mother(figure)ly bonding. Moreover, dialogue is a problem. Not a serious one, but lines sometimes seem to be delivered apropos of nothing, and even allowing for Twi's slightly delirious state, the fic's Big Moment comes virtually out of nowhere. Even if we grant that it makes sense in character, it strikes me as a poor storytelling decision, one that prevents that moment from having as much impact as it could.
★★☆☆☆ (what does this mean?)
There's nothing particularly wrong with this story, but other than the idea behind Twi's sickness, I'd be hard pressed to identify anything it did especially well, either. It's a pleasant, inoffensive little piece of literary down, transiently enjoyable but ultimately forgettable. I'd say this story accomplished what it set out to do... but there's just not anything beyond that.
Recommendation: If you're looking for something short, cute, and unchallenging, this will feed that need perfectly. If you're looking for anything more than that, though, it's just not here.
Next time: The Last Human: A Tale of the Pre-Classical Era, by PatchworkPoultergeist