If you're not in the habit of checking out the "here are links to the last two weeks worth of reviews" posts I put up on FiMFiction, you might want to make an exception for yesterday's: included at no extra cost are a Russian translation of my story, Going Up, along with fanart of the same! Really spiffy fanart, too, if I do say so myself. Check it out here! And once you're done with that, head below the break for my thought on some recent reading material of the pony-related variety.
Why Don't You Tell Them?, by Titanium Dragon
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Following her ascension to alicornhood, Twilight discovers that ponies believe that Princess Celestia was responsible for giving her wings. Twilight asks why Celestia doesn't correct them.
A few thoughts: My main issue with this story is that it's almost impossible to separate Celestia's moral (to the story's credit, it clearly presents it as Celestia's moral, and not an absolute one) from the narrative itself; this story is pretty clearly framed as a thought experiment rather than as a character study. And that moral is reprehensible--that it is the responsibility of authority to dictate what all persons should or should not know and engage in, through subterfuge and deceit as needed. This kind of thing can work in stories about Tyrant!Celestia, but as a talking point... 2000 words just doesn't give much space to lay out a scenario wherein that's the least evil choice available.
Recommendation: This would be a good story for readers looking for something dark, and who can handle a light justification (think "anecdotes" rather than "fully-laid-out arguments"). It will probably sit poorly with those who don't care for Tyrantlestia, however.
Upon the Black Beach of the Styx, by Smoker
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Applejack dies, and Discord comes to stop her before her soul passes to the afterlife. Applejack, however, isn't having any of that.
A few thoughts: There's an interesting idea here, but there are two concept-level problems that hold it back. First, Applejack's reasons for refusing Discord basically amount to her cutting off her nose (snout?) to spite her face. Which might be reasonably AJ-ish in and of itself, but it casts her in a weak and spiteful light that she puts her personal comfort or sense of malice above her family. Second, an important plot point is that Discord killed AJ... except that, as the event is described, he didn't. Not even in an "involuntary manslaughter" sort of way. When the story hinges on Discord's personal responsibility, that's a major weakness. Couple that with some very human dialogue and numerous punctuation problems, and this wasn't one I terribly enjoyed.
Recommendation: Readers who share AJ's desire to see Discord squirm might enjoy this, but it's probably not a story for anyone who is going to get hung up on characterization or voicing.
Thunderstorm and the Four Winds, by Carabas
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Rainbow Dash tells Scootaloo an ancient pegasus legend about how the pegasi gained the power to control the weather.
A few thoughts: The story presents the titular legend through Dash's retelling, which gives the author plenty of chances to play with the disconnect between Dash's voicing and the tale's cadence. Some of this is extremely well-done, with Dash being self-aware enough to realize that her vernacular doesn't quite fit the story as she heard it--but there are occasional issues going the other direction--that is to say, with the legend's vocabulary infecting Dash's out-of-story dialogue. This is a relatively minor issue, though, and the tale is an engaging mix of classic folklore style and MLP worldbuilding.
Recommendation: This is definitely one to read for fans of mythology, and of in-universe history.