Monday, October 26, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 102

You know, it might just be because I was slightly pretty drunk by the time I got home on Saturday night and watched the newest episode, but I really liked Hearthbreakers.  Lots of cute humor; Pinkie's family were all one-note characters, but they were all amusing notes, none of which the episode sat on too long before moving to a different character.  And seeing a bunch of family traditions is neat!  Also, quakers, light shipping (poor Cheerilee...), and other good stuff.  The only downside?  No Carrot Top!

She shared her Hearth's Warming with Fluttershy, which introduced its own set of complications

Anyway, here are some short reviews of things I've recently read.  Check it out below the break!

Yak to the Future, by hazyhooves

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A series of vignettes showing how various S5 episodes would have gone if they'd had a bit less Magic of Friendship, and a bit more YAK SMASHING.

A few thoughts:  This is one of those "every chapter is a variation on the same joke" fics, which ought to inform whether you'll enjoy it or not.  I quite liked the Yaks and their penchant for distruction, so I got a chuckle out of the first few chapters.  However, even with a clever shift away from physical comedy in the Tanks for the Memories chapter, this is still a story that I felt like I'd had my share of well before I ran out of chapters.

Recommendation:  If "quick takes on the episodes if they ended in SMASHING" doesn't sound funny to you, there's nothing here you need to bother with.  If it does, give this story a try.  I'd recommend reading at least the first four chapters, but after that, feel free to skip around or quit the story entirely as soon as the joke gets old for you.

One Heck of a Case, by iisaw

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Now that Twilight's a princess, she's got some new duties--like adjudicating a dispute between the lord of Tartarus and an a lyre-playing interloper...

A few thoughts:  This is a fairly disjointed story; it opens with Twilight reflecting on coffee and the ripple effects of princessdom, before turning into a game of he-said-she-said with Twilight caught in the middle, before ending on a particularly morbid joke, even for a story about trying to bring a pony back from the dead.  But luckily, all of those things are really funny individually, and the story's short and straightforward enough that, although the constituent parts don't always fit cleanly together (thematically, that is, not structurally--the events of the story are cohesive), it still represents an entertaining take on the myth of Orpheus.

Recommendation:  The humor here mostly takes the form of juxtaposing dramatic imagery with casual reactions and understatement; readers who enjoy that kind of humor, or who like gentle parodies of myths, should definitely check this out.

To My, Mostly, Faithful Student, by Stormdancer

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After Tirek's defeat, Celestia writes a letter to Twilight explaining how disappointed she is with Twilight for the way she handled the situation.  Twilight writes a letter back, explaining how disappointed she is with Celestia.

A few thoughts:  This story was far too mean-spirited for me to really enjoy.  The "take that"s which fill this fic are also mostly based on headcanon (that the magical energy Tirek used when he battled Twilight was permanently lost, resulting in a bunch of ponies never getting their cutie marks back; that Cadence and Shining Armour's changeling-clearing loveblast killed nearly all of the changelings it hit; etc.).  There's nothing wrong with using a bit, or even a heap, of headcanon in a story, of course... but since nearly every damning revelation is based on information that the reader wasn't privy to until that moment, the effect of these revelations is muted; it's not that they're inconceivable, individually or as a group, but they feel more like a series of constructed events than an interpretation.  Also, the ending brings with it a healthy does of full-on mind-rape, which left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Recommendation:  If you really want to see an extended "take that" against Celestia and don't mind if most of that is based on addition to canon characterization and lore (as opposed to being based on (re)interpretation of the same), this might be worth reading.  I wouldn't recommend it outside of that audience, however.


  1. Chris! You're becoming a Carrot Top-themed version of Orchestral Design on Bronies React.

    It is only a matter of time before "an inexcusable lack of Carrot Top" is sufficient reason to one-star a review.

  2. "Poor Cheerilee"

    Chris confirmed supporting shipping via mind-control.

  3. Finally got some reading in yesterday, which included Corejo's Lyrid and iisaw's One Heck of a Case. Totally didn't plan that out, but it was absolutely perfect

  4. "I quite liked the Yaks and their penchant for distruction, so I got a chuckle out of the first few chapters."

    So that's how all the kids are spelling it these days. Thank you, teacher.

    "The only downside? No Carrot Top!"

    At least she appears in the show. My sea ponies haven't even gotten the chance (then again a mere look at the them might cause people's heads due to pure, unadulterated awesomeness).

    1. Hey, it's not like he's an English teacher. At least, I hope not. Thought he said he's a music teacher or something

      Man, how embarrassing would it've been if you'd followed that with a mistake of your own, like forgetting an infinitive verb? :p

      Sea ponies would've been awesome, though I'm not sure how they'd turn out without Faust around. Let's just count ourselves lucky that Colgate and Lyra have gotten speaking roles and quietly hope for a time-travelling*/universe-spanning spin-off in the near future

      *Screw you, Spell Checker! Travelling does so have two l's, you uncultured swine

    2. He's an English teacher.

    3. That would explain how he has a job. I thought all American schools cut their music programs to afford more sportsball equipment