Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 111

It's 111!  Which, if I was keeping review numbers in binary, I guess wouldn't be too exciting (review number 7 (base 2) doesn't quite have the same ring to it), but that's not the case.  In fact, my mini-review total looks even more impressive in binary than in base 10, albeit not as unidigital: how's "Mini-Reviews Round 1,101,111" strike you?

But now, on to the three (or, if you prefer, eleven) stories that make up this round's review-meat.  Get it, below the break.

The Royal Proposal, by Everyday

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After Pinkie Pie helps avert war between the yaks and ponies, Prince Rutherford proposes to her on the spot.  To everypony's surprise, Pinkie says yes.

A few thoughts:  This is a one-note story in much the same way that the yak episode itself was one-note: it's basically variations on a "Yaks really don't like it when things aren't perfect (also, SMASHING)" theme, but played with enough variation in the specifics to keep the broad comedy from getting too tired.  This is also a very shallow fic... but I found it to be more "endearingly simple" than "insultingly simple," personally.  It's a conceptually unambitious but entertainment-ly well-executed blend of physical comedy, exaggeration, and status-quo, not unlike the show itself (though obviously, the show wouldn't bring the m-word anywhere near one of the main six).

Recommendation:  While I wouldn't call this "show-tone," I think it will still appeal most to people who like their comedy in the general vein of the show itself.  Although it's under 3k words, though, I imagine it would still overstay its welcome with folks who don't find the yaks entertaining in their own right.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight discovers, during her first day of hearing petitions as the Princess of Friendship, just how challenged ponies can be by anything that doesn't relate directly to their cutie marks.

A few thoughts:  This is pretty patently written by someone who works in customer service, and the author's note at the end confirms as much: the entire story is something of a humorous "take that" at people who're having trouble with things like "making sure the device is turned on."  While the story is entertaining enough on its own merits, it's also very one-dimensional, even more so than The Royal Proposal: the (very well-done) escalation notwithstanding, there's really just one joke here, and if I found it funny, it's also fair to say that I would have appreciated some more variation.

Recommendation:  An excellent choice for people looking for a bit of comic light reading, this will probably appeal most to people who can personally relate to Twilight's frustration, i.e. anyone who's ever worked in customer service.  If you're seeking anything more involved than that, though (or if you're going to get worked up about how "cutie marks don't work like that!," I guess), it's probably not for you.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash loves Hearth's Warming, but the commercialism which pervades the holiday is exactly what she doesn't want.  

A few thoughts:  This story is about as blunt as a sledgehammer to the face.  Luckily, it's a pretty inoffensive message (although this is expressly an Equestrianized "true meaning of Christmas" story, the author wisely steers away from any heavy-handed religious themes, focusing instead on the importance of family, charity, and love), but there's still zero subtlety to this story.  Unfortunately, the writing is a real letdown; missing punctuation, capitalization, and the like are constant, pervasive issues.  Dash's role is essentially that of the truth seeking everyman (everymare?), and the other ponies who appear in the story serve equally stock roles.  There just isn't much here beyond the message, and while it's a good one... well, that's about it.

Recommendation:  If significant technical problems don't dissuade you, this story will probably appeal to the same crowd that binges made-for-TV holiday flicks.  If that's you, this might be the kind of seasonal bluntness you're looking for; if that sort of thing doesn't appeal to you, though, this story likely isn't for you.

1 comment:

  1. The Meaning of Hearth's Warming has a tone to it much like Estee's Season's Bleatings. RD does a very good Unhappy.