Friday, October 9, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 100

And now, your totally-unwanted fantasy football update: my team's actually doing pretty well, so far!  Mostly, that's the result of getting lucky on a couple of late-round draft choices; Larry Fitzgerald and Devonta Freeman have unexpectedly been a couple of the best players in fantasy over the last few weeks, and I'm reaping the benefits.  I'd love to say I grabbed them because I'm a savvy drafter... but given that my second-round pick was LeSean McCoy, I probably shouldn't pretend I know what I'm doing.

Enough about things you aren't interested in, though; on to fanfiction!  Short-form reviews of stuff I recently read, below the break.

Divenire, by The Wizard of Words

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  The day has come that Celestia has long dreaded: the day when the newly-alicornified Twilight Sparkle asks her why she's not immortal like Celestia is--and the day when Celestia will tell Twilight the truth about herself.

A few thoughts:  This one was a flat miss for me.  In addition to shipping out of nowhere, complete with all the squickiness which invariably attends all but the most delicately-handled Twilestia, at the end (I mean, it's tagged romance, so it wasn't really out of nowhere... but you know what I mean), there's a lot of frankly poor writing here.  While the first chapter is relatively well-edited, the rest of the story is filled with homophone mix-ups and misspellings.  There's also a lot of strange attributions (Celestia is called some variation on "the diarch," often preceded by alabaster/second/regal/etc., more often than her actual name is used), and a lot of unnatural wording.  I think this description of Celestia and Twilight hugging pretty much speaks for itself: "The fibers of their coats mingled with one another, exchanging the heat from one to the other with perfect exchange. Celestia heard a contented sigh leave Twilight’s lips, complete with the inflation and deflation of her chest. The diarch felt herself perform the same action."

Recommendation:  Even if the writing here had been exemplary, I'd have been very put off by (what feels to me like) the way that Celestia is abusing Twilight's trust--that's an issue I'm going to have with most stories that have both mortal-immortal and student-teacher romance rolled into one, as Twilestia often does.  If you aren't the type to be bothered by that, and if you don't see any problem with the lines I quoted above, and you like lengthy setups (about 7,000 words are spend on "Celestia gets ready to let Twilight know the terrible(?) truth), then you might want to give this a try.  I don't recommend it more widely, however.

Scientific Progress Goes Crash, by Drax

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight tries to figure out why Rainbow Dash keeps crashing through her window using the most powerful tool in her arsenal: logic.   Well, that and a surreptitious tracking spell.

A few thoughts:  There are some editing issues here, particularly when it comes to shifting tense, but not so many that it terribly bothered me.  This story belongs to the "cute" school of fanfic writing, and if there are some missteps in the setup (the way Twilight spies on Dash is played a little too seriously, and her spying feels creepier than I think was intended as a result.  In fact, she feels rather out of character when she talks about things like not worrying what Celestia would think), then the ending is certainly sweet enough to justify what comes before.  That said, it's also a fairly shallow story, one which isn't likely to stick with a reader for long.  There's nothing wrong with being a transient piece of writing, of course... but I don't think it's something authors generally strive for.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for a short, sweet fic about Dash and Twilight both being obtuse in their own special ways, this fic will tickle that fancy.  I wouldn't recommend it to sticklers for Twilight's characterization, however, nor those generally put off by questionable actions (but no gore or other horror, thankfully!) in the name of obsession.

The Trials Three, by NorsePony

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A young colt stumbles into the realm of faerie, and must complete three challenges if he ever wants to return home.

A few thoughts:  A story about fey in all their inscrutable glory, told in the style of a folktale?  Yeah, it's safe to say that this story tickled my fancy.  The three titular trials are just original enough that they don't trigger the dreaded "oh, it's that" reaction, while still fitting the fair folk's MO.  My big disappointment was that this very much feels like a faerie story, rather than a pony one--or rather, than an Equestrian faerie story.  Replace the young colt with a human boy, and there'd be no functional changes required.  The very end does try to tie things back to MLP, but it's an awfully small tie-in--and one that doesn't feel like a perfectly clean fit for canon regardless.

Recommendation:  While I wouldn't recommend this to people sensitive to "not pony enough" fanfiction, it's definitely worth reading for any fans of folktales, riddles, and fey in general.


  1. Hey! This was the hundredth of something. That makes it feel inexplicably special. Good for you, mini-review. Good for you.

  2. Wow, can't believe you've done 100 of these.

    Also, I swear I've read Scientific Progress, but it's not marked. <.< Time to change that!

  3. That hugging description... eugh! I wouldn't have been able to finish that story, even if I didn't have an allergic reaction to Twilestia usually.

    Neat that you've made 100 mini reviews. How many to equal one regular? :P