Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 120

I wrote some words about horsewords for the 120th time (not to be confused with the 300-ish times I wrote a bunch of words about horsewords).  Check out my words about horsewords below the break.

The Ancient Heart of the Everwood Dragon, by Grey Fairie

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  The girls and Spike are sent on a mission to the forest near Fillydelphia when a number of ponies are murdered by a mysterious beast.  But what starts out as a quest to stop a monster turns into a journey of discovery for Spike.

A few thoughts:  The things I liked about this story, I really liked.  It paints a fascinating backstory for Spike, for example, and does a very good job of portraying an alien PoV in a nonetheless clear way, with the "Nature Dragon."  However, the tone was all over the place (at times, filled with casual murder; at others, aggressively show-tone), and there were a lot of writing issues.  Some of it is just editing, but my biggest issue was the dialogue: much of it is painfully expository, and characterization is quite variable, as in this passage from chapter two:
     Twilight knocked on Pinkie's door. "Pinkie! Pinkie!"
     Pinkie groaned and turned over. She was having the best dream! So much sugar and frosting donuts. Would frosting go well with donuts?
     Twilight heard hoofsteps and eagerly awaited for the door to open.
     "Oh, Pinkie, I just got a let--"
     "What is it, Twilight?" Pinkie grumbled the respond and rubbed her eyes.      "It's my day off. I want to go dream again."
     "Oh, well, I just got a letter from Fillydephia. There's been an attack on farmers by an unknown creature."
     "And this couldn't wait until later?" Pinkie blinked at her. "Wait, what!?"
     "Ponies have been killed."
     "Oh," Her eyes grew wide. "I'll get my bag and meet you at your house."
At least, I have trouble reading "Pinkie Pie" into such a grumpy, serious exchange.

Recommendation:  If you judge stories mostly by their best moments, this story has some wonderfully thoughtful ideas and portrayals.  But if you get easily tripped up by unnatural dialogue, it might not be a good fit.

Home is for the Weak, by Pickleless

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Celestia takes a year off from ruling to... disguise herself as a dirty beggar and live in a cardboard box.  A cardboard box that already has a certain orange-coated, purple-maned orphan occupant...

A few thoughts:  This is set up as a series of micro-chapters detailing conversations and moments between Scootaloo and her dirty beggar "friend," ranging from complete crack to oddly thoughtful, spread out over the course of a year.  There are a lot of things I wouldn't call it--"coherent," "in-character," and "tasteful" all come to mind--but for all that it's a piece of all-over-the-map randomness, I found it... well, more enjoyable than I usually find this kind of thing, anyway.  It uses its rapid shifts of tone to keep the reader off-kilter in a way that makes some of its more vulgar humor or unexpected moments of heartwarmingness stand out, rather than muddle into an undifferentiated blur.

Recommendation:  With that said, this clearly isn't for anyone looking for a "serious story."  But it's not necessarily just for the crackfic crew; if you're looking for something capital-R Random which uses a consistent concept as a framing device for some wholly inconsistent but oddly compelling scenes... well, that's a pretty specific thing to be looking for, but you'll find it here.


  1. That second one sounds great. :D As to the first, I can't fathom Pinkie not understanding the glory that is frosted donuts. D:

  2. This is Grey Faerie, don't have an account on here. Thanks so much for reviewing my story. I am aware of my tone and dialogue issues. Always seem to fail on the talking part, haha. But, I am happy you really liked certain parts of the story.

  3. Oh hey~

    I feel this was a fair review. Being offbeat, audacious, but touching at times is what I love to do. I know it was quite a while back, but thank you!