Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 73

The local Dairy Queen opened again this week!  Time to celebrate with a Nerds-candy Blizzard.  Apparently, that's just a local thing, but the sugar-sour bite of the candy mixes with the soft serve marvelously.  Try it sometime if you get the chance!

Or just mix Nerds and soft serve and save yourself a couple bucks.  Either way.

Anyway, here are some stories I've read but hadn't written up.  Check them out below the break!

Princess Cadance Turns Right, by Between Lines

Zero-ish spoiler:  Twilight is shocked when she sees Cadance's hair from her bad side... and then shocked again, when she realizes she's never seen her hair's "bad side" before today.

A few thoughts:  There's kind of a cute idea here--playing with how the princess' hair looks the same from both sides on the show--but then the story doesn't do anything with it.  It literally observes that something has changed and that Cadance's hair isn't magically flipping back and forth anymore, then ends.  Besides that, there's some other humor, though the jokes are a mixed bag; while I liked the idea of Luna casually/ignorantly using racist-to-deer language, the sex humor just felt forced.  Part of that may have been that it essentially took the place of anything resembling a resolution or explanation, though.

Recommendation:  If you're just looking for a couple of jokes, this is fine for what it is.  For readers looking for something more than that (including a complete story), this is likely to prove unexceptional.

Solace, by Violet Blaze

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight hasn't slept well since she moved into her new castle.  Luna comes to visit her on yet another sleepless night, to speak about what's bothering her.

A few thoughts:  I liked the idea behind this story--Twilight coming to terms with how close she came to dooming Equestria--and there are a few very nice observations scattered throughout this story about how people adjust to change, among other things.  The way Twilight's inner turmoil resolve is beautiful in concept, but awfully rushed (to the point of feeling almost perfunctory) in execution, and the shipping at the end came totally out of left field.  That said... Twilight gave up the alicorns' power to Tirek on a hunch.  That ought to eat her up, and I'm sympathetic to a fic that addresses that without trying to "fix" canon.

Recommendation:  If you're sensitive to abrupt kisses or resolutions (or both), this might not be the story for you.  But if you'd like to see a little introspection from Twilight and Luna that's light on undeserved angst, this would be worth a look.

A Little Sore, by Carnivale

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash is feeling a bit roughed-up, and everypony's acting weird for some reason.

A few thoughts:  It's been a while since I came across a full-blown case of thesaurus abuse, but here we are; when the first page has Dash berating herself "for being so fluctuant before," it's usually not a good sign.  Indeed, writing was a weakness throughout; dialogue was full of odd phrases and poor word choices, more than a couple of sentences proved to be pure word salad, and over-writing is the rule of the day.

As for the story itself?  It makes no attempt to hide that there will be a depressing reveal, but it's disappointingly coy with the details (it's one thing for Scoot not to reveal what's going on less than halfway through; it's another for her to ominously speak "about... the accident"), and the ending is disappointing not because it's a downer, but because the (very) end seems to come out of nowhere; there's no setup, and no thematic build-up to it.

Recommendation:  This isn't one I'd specifically seek out.


  1. Thesaurus abuse is a bad idea in general, but it strikes me as particularly inappropriate when your perspective character is Dash. I know it's not a hard and fast rule, but I always thought it good practice to match narrative voice with the protagonist's voice, even if a story isn't in first person.

    1. It's a good idea in third limited as well, since the narrator is supposed to reflect the character's inner thoughts and practically be the character. Third omniscient can go either way.

  2. I think you're the first person to make me realize what the problem was with this story.
    I regret adding the shipping element so much by now XD I'm tempted to revisit it and clean that part out. It really wouldn't take much - which kinda says a lot about its inclusion in the first place.
    Anyway, with the teaser for the new season showing some of the elements I included in the story, it makes a bit of sense to try and make it presentable one last time before it gets completely eclipsed by canon.
    Thanks, by the way, for your review. It really helped a lot!

    1. If there isn't a prize for improving a story for taking out the shipping, I will bloody well make one.

    2. @Violet: You're very welcome! You know, there's something kind of poignant about getting a story in top shape just in time to be invalidated... it kind of feels like sculpting the barbican of a sand castle as the tide tickles your toes. Whatever you end up doing, I'm glad to have been of help!

      @Scott: There's your premise for the next Blah Blah Dangerous Game contest, right there.