Monday, May 16, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 134

I haven't seen the newest episode yet, because I'm out of town!  Knowing my luck, it was probably "The Carrot Top Variety (Half-)Hour," or something equally wonderful.  Oh well, I'll catch it once I'm home on Tuesday.  Before I left, though, I put together a few mini-reviews to keep y'all sated.  Get them below the break!

Silverponies, by Scribblestick

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Applejack is attacked by a creature capable of taking the form of any pony.

A few thoughts:  The first chapter--which is all I actually summarized in the previous sentence--could have stood alone as a generic, uninspired, but not actually bad bit of horror writing.  However, Scribblestick used that not as a story whole, but as a jumping-off point for an ambitious short story about identity loss and perception.  Unfortunately, too little gets resolved for this to have the impact I'd have liked it to; there are a lot of "details" which would be needed to inform the tone of certain events and even of the story itself which are simply never addressed.  But with that said, there's still a lot of good work done here with Applejack's PoV, and the way each chapter jumps back and forth between two different temporal lines makes the story feel off-kilter in an entirely appropriate, deliberate way.

Recommendation:  This would be a good choice for fans of horror stories looking for something more than just another jump scare.  Though it might feel incomplete to some, it would probably also appeal to readers who enjoy stories that play on characters' perceptions, and is an example of how to accomplish that without being difficult to follow.

Sea Swirl's Submarine, by Mudpony

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  The (pre-cutiemarked) CMC join an absent-minded (and disaster-prone) explorer on an undersealake voyage.

A few thoughts:  There's some rough writing here, both in terms of repetitious phrasing and out-and-out errors, telly writing, and character voicing is mostly undifferentiated.  But behind all that, this is a really cute, funny story, of the sort that feels right at home in an Equestria where monster attacks are frequent, but casualties nonexistent.  Sea Swirl has an entertainingly negligent personality, and the story juggles a number of ongoing bits of humor/cuteness without losing its thread.

Recommendation:  Though not for readers sensitive to lackluster construction, this story will likely appeal to those who enjoy light, sweet humor.

Heirlooms, by Rocinate

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash tries to construct her family tree, and doing so leads her and Twilight to a far-away place.

A few thoughts:  There's not a whole lot to say about this story without spoiling it; the entire fic is basically a setup for the reveal at the end, and even saying to much about why I felt the way I did about it would sort of ruin the effect.  So instead, let me just say that, while it was certainly a surprising reveal, it wasn't one that I particularly liked; it didn't really add anything to what had come before it, didn't build clearly on the fic's themes to that point, and shifted the story to a genre I don't have an inherent affinity toward.

Recommendation:  People who do have a particular affinity for that genre may enjoy this more, but to say what genre it is would be a spoiler... so, I suppose I would suggest this story to people who like twist endings, with the caveat that it will likely ill-suit those who are looking for more out of that ending than a twist.


  1. I was sufficiently intrigued to go and read Heirlooms. Without spoiling anything, I liked the story pretty well until the last part, and I originally thought the genre it might shift into was a different one -- but the ending I found rather unsatisfactory.

  2. I didn't remember that Heirlooms existed, but I had reviewed it. Glancing at it again, I remember it now, but sadly...

    Well, that story has one thing going for it, and that's the twist. There's really nothing else to it, and that's unfortunate, because it ultimately means it doesn't go anywhere or do anything with the idea (which is, I'll admit, a really clever idea).