I'm having a great deal of trouble concentrating, recently. I don't know if it's that the weather's taken a turn for the springlike this week, or stress, or something else, but I'm having tremendous trouble getting much of anything done. I have, however, managed to pump out a few more short reviews of things I've recently read. This time, it's a mix of old fics and recent feature-box stuff; click below the break for my thoughts!
Hoardsmiths, by Skywriter
Zero-ish spoiler summary: A group of artistically-minded ponies congregate at the lair of a dragon in the Everfree Forest, drawn by admiration of its incredible hoard... and, should the dragon decide it doesn't want them there, incredibly screwed.
A few thoughts: This is pure allegory, and can't really be read as anything else, i.e. the story doesn't exactly hold up as a story absent the allegorical reading. But it's a good allegory, it's a pertinent allegory to the denizens of FiMFiction, and darn it, I like allegories. I dare say it offered a nice perspective on the nature of fan-activity, and if it doesn't go beyond that, then it's also fair to say it does what it sets out to do, and does it well.
Recommendation: If you enjoy extended metaphors in the guise of fiction, this is absolutely something you should read. If you're the sort who's prone to find such things more preachy than clever, though, this probably isn't for you.
Rebirth, by ObeySaturnGod
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Rose's grandmother is dying, but she has some wisdom to impart to her granddaughter before she goes.
A few thoughts: This is a classic example of a story about a weighty subject that's written without much consideration. From grandma having a classic case of Death by Cough to the over-the-top dialogue ('“Goodbye, my little Rose….” Her voice was softer, and it came in longer and longer intervals. “I only regret… not being able… to see you truly bloom…”') to the weirdly tone-deaf ending (without getting into spoilers, it's clear that neither Rose nor the author gave much thought to how mom would feel at the end), there are a lot of issues here.
Recommendation: I don't recommend this story, except to those who unironically seek "feels" from their stories.
The Second Tiara, by Fervidor
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Diamond Tiara dies, but comes back. Sort of.
A few thoughts: After glancing through the comments, I gather that this is some sort of stealth-Dr. Who crossover, which is probably a good thing; I don't know much about how his regenerations are supposed to work, but without that context this story seems like it ends with a ghost/spirit/otherworldly entity of uncertain intentions doing its best to play-act as DT. As for the rest of the story... well, it takes more than a few thousand words to get to the point I just described, and in terms of story relevance, none of it was worth mentioning. It wasn't unpleasant reading, particularly, but it was the very definition of fluff (and not terribly well-edited, to boot).
Recommendation: If you're looking for light SoL with a Hoovian twist at the end, this might be worth a look. I wouldn't otherwise seek it out, however.