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By the time you read this, I'll be
Speaking of impeccably blending in, check out my review of Benman's Changelings, Changelings Everywhere, below.
Impressions before reading: "X is a changeling" is a very popular fanfic premise, and I've read at least a couple "everyone is a changeling" stories which took that premise to its logical conclusion. So right away, I'm hoping that this story does more than just make the title joke. I'm given hope by the amusingly dry short summary ("Even the scenery is changelings."), and Benman's written stuff which I've enjoyed before, so I'm choosing to believe it will.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Somepony is a changeling, and today is the day their machinations are finally laid bare. The only catch is that everypony is that somepony.
A few thoughts: Let's start out by acknowledging that the actual story here is completely secondary to the meta-story, i.e. having some fun at the expense of the "X is a changeling genre." And on a meta-level, this is great. It's a silly but not overly-random bit of commentary on how overdone that particular trope is (and for those of you who've gotten into ponyfic in the last couple of years: if you think it's an overdone concept today, trust me when I say it was even more inescapable back when this was written), piling on all the most common setups. From "deposed royal hiding from Chrysalis" to "spy gone native" to "spy who hasn't gone native" and on and on and on, odds are that if you've ever read a changeling-in-Ponyville story, the setup is in here somewhere.
Outside of the meta-context, however, it doesn't hold up as well. The story is still funny and still coherent, thankefully--it's always disappointing to see a meta-story that forgets it's still supposed to be a story. However, the entire story is basically variations on a single joke, and without the context of a lot of fanfic reading, that joke gets old pretty fast. There's some nice built-in escalation, but even so, the story does get tired well before the end when approached from a ponyfic novice's perspective (or even the perspective of someone who just doesn't read a lot of changeling fics).
There's not a lot else to say, really. The writing is solid, and although the main six don't sound much like themselves, their blase commentary is consistently funny in its own right (not to mention that complaining about them staying "in character" would be kinda missing the point, given the premise). It's a ridiculous fic, but it embraces that ridiculousness, and that's definitely the way to go here.
★★☆☆☆ (what does this mean?)
This doesn't really fit nicely into my little star system (then again, it seems like no fics do; it's almost like reducing a story down to a single number between one and five is an inherently absurd practice!), but ultimately, I figure that this is the kind of story that doesn't translate well outside of either heavy fanfic readers or changeling fanatics, and which, while very funny, doesn't do much to expand its humorous conceit. It's a great fic for what it is... but what it is, ultimately, is pretty limited.
Recommendation: For " heavy fanfic readers or changeling fanatics," this is an absolute must-read. For anyone else, this might be an okay choice if you're looking for something silly, but is unlikely to do more than provide some transitory amusement.
Next Time: What I’ve Become, by Night Breeze