Friday, September 5, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 49

Good news: while doing some start-of-the-school-year cleaning, I found a few fanfics I read and wrote some comments to myself about last year that got filed away with my work stuff (sometimes I print fanfics to read; deal with it).  So, here are some 3+ months-late reviews!  Get 'em below the break.

A Moment In the Sunlight, by ArcheonZ

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Princess Celestia's royal duties are interrupted by an errant foal--an interruption which she cherishes.

A few thoughts:  If I had to pick one word to describe this story, it would be "cute."  This is mostly a positive, in that the story is sweet without being too cloying.  The author does sometimes try to get a little too playful at the expense of narrative consistency, though, as when a councilor is portrayed as being both angry and foiled, and in on one of Celestia's little games, at the same time.  The story has a very light ending, firmly "slice of life," but not one inappropriate to the nature of the fic.

Recommendation:  Again, "cute."  If "cute Celestia/foal SoL" is your thing, check this out.  If not, though... well, there's not much else here.

Today is a Good Day to Die, by Aragon

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Princess Celestia wakes up one day, and is suddenly filled with certainty that she will die that very evening.  So, she and Luna set out to figure out exactly what "death" is, so she can be ready.

A few thoughts:  If you're familiar with any of Aragon's other writing, you'll know that he mostly writes comedies, and this is no exception.  Here, he takes a silly premise (that Celestia and Luna, being immortal, literally have no concept of what dying is) and runs it well past its logical extreme; any story featuring an attempt to interrogate a corpse at a funeral is clearly going for ridiculous.  For the most part, the author hits the notes he's aiming for, though the ending sort of peters out to a non-conclusion.  There are also some grammar issues, though I didn't find that these interfered with readability.

Recommendation:  Although "refuge in audacity" is certainly a fair description of what's going on here, it's not crude or particularly offensive, so readers shouldn't worry on that front.  Those looking for something faithful to the show will obviously want to pass, but anyone looking for absurdist comedy will want to give this a try.

The Incandescent Brilliance, by KitsuneRisu

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A magical accident traps two ponies in a room with a slowly expanding gouge in the fabric of reality.

A few thoughts:  The way the two ponies in this story react to their predicament struck me as particularly noteworthy; touches like Russet's latching on to the idea that he had to get out so that he could return a pen he borrowed felt genuine to me, and the way that the presumption of their doom dominated the situation without preventing the author from crafting a complete story.  Some of Trixie's backstory in the middle feels less inspired, but the ending scene is one of the strongest I've (re)read recently, and the central concept is not only a good hook, but is used to equally good effect.

Recommendation:  Readers who savor the sensation of creeping dread (or liminal tales generally) should give this a look.


  1. Ooh, there's horizon's word! He'd better be all over that third one. :D

    1. Took me a sec to get what you were talking about. At first I was like "Why's horizon so fond of 'while'?"

  2. Good Day to Die was a really good comedy for me. Celestia and Luna did seem a little OOC, and it honestly did bother me a bit, but I was able to look past it because I realise that it's kind of central to the premise, and it made for a really enjoyable story.

    I'm glad to see you liked The Incandescent Brilliance too. It's one of Rissie's better works, IMO, and I'm glad to see that he's getting more recognition for it lately.

    1. I actually really just didn't like it. Despite having read most of Aragon's stories, I felt like that was unlike his usual style. I think it was very interesting to have him branch out into a softer(?) humor, but I didn't like the lack of a conclusion. I may have been biased going in, as I don't think I particularly liked the premise itself, but it just wasn't my favorite.