It's a lot harder to make time for reading at home than while on vacation, which is to say: the last book of Project Horizons is kicking my butt. I still plan to get it reviewed this week, but it might be a close thing at this rate.
In unrelated news, Present Perfect recently linked to this moderately-interesting analysis of "Best pony, as told by Fimfiction." Why only "moderately interesting? Because it doesn't analyze Carrot Top's stories? Who cares the average rating of a story with Nightmare Moon in it is higher than the average story featuring Scootaloo? What I--and by extension, everyone else--really wants to know is where Ponyville's premier produce pony fits into all this!
Just one more in a long list of carrot-snubs. Ah well; get some mini-reviews, below the break.
Arcadia, by Blueshift
Zero-ish spoiler summary: For all her life, Lyra has dreamed of a mysterious terror. With each dream, it approaches ever closer. Today, it is nearly upon her, and somehow, she knows that when it reaches her, it will be the end of her life as she knows it.
A few thoughts: A ton of extra credit points to Blueshift right off the bat, for using a Renaissance-era painting for inspiration (both thematic, literal, and meta!) in a manner both accessable and engrossing. The one weakness here is that the dilemma which eventually unfolds is massively contrived, to the point where it's hard to ignore. But the writing is beautiful, and the ending poignant enough to be moving, even if the moral isn't one I particularly agree with. That's the mark of a good story: it can tell you something you don't believe without leaving you disappointed or unfulfilled as a reader.
Recommendation: This is one of Blueshift's serious stories, so don't go in expecting a bunch of random goofiness. But anyone looking for something thoughtful and touching should absolutely give this story a try.
On the Historical Significance of Battle Lederhosen, by MrNumbers
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Applebloom's Uncle Studel comes in to Ms. Cheerilee's class to talk about some history. Some of it might even be true.
A few thoughts: And here's the goofy lark of a story you all thought you would get from Blueshift! Although there's exactly zero depth here, it's full of well-delivered classroom humor, nuggets like
Scootaloo waved her own hoof in the air. “If he can't punch Diamond Tiara, can I?”as well as plenty of variations on "old people saying ridiculous and/or inappropriate things," so if you find that sort of thing funny, there's that.
“No! Nopony is punching Diamond Tiara.”
Much to Diamond Tiara's chagrin, the class echoed with a dim 'awww' of disappointment.
Recommendation: If you're looking for a few thousand words of silliness and some amusingly exaggerated portrayals of Ponyville's youth, this will deliver.