Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 151

For my birthday (which is actually today, but which, for logistical reasons, we celebrated yesterday), I had carrot cake.  I did this not for any best pony-related reason, but because I like carrot cake.  Still, as I was eating a second slice, the thought did cross my mind that, between it and the cider I was drinking with it, I was having a very agriculture-pony-themed dessert.

Anyway, mini-reviews, below the break!

Hurricane's Way, by ZOMG

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash takes her marefriend, Twilight, up to Cloudsdale for the day--and beyond "it's a pegasus tradition," she won't tell her why.

A few thoughts:  This was disappointing for me--not because of anything the story did particularly wrong, but because it didn't match my expectations going in.  I was looking for something with a fair bit of worldbuilding and pegasus history emphasis, given a romantic frame.  What I got instead was a fluffy slice-of-life story with a shipper's bent (that is to say, "get the ponies together" is considered to be inherently rewarding from a narrative standpoint, rather than something which has to be developed as a positive climax) and a few minor notes of lore mixed in.  Obviously, someone looking for the latter would enjoy it more than someone seeking the former.  The biggest flaw here is the repetitive, telly narration and inner monologuing--Twilight internally reflects that she doesn't yet know why Rainbow wants to do this far more times than is necessary to become grating.  But even with that, there's a lot of low-key, light-comedy moments that keep this readable.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for a shipper's perspective on gentle slice-of-life (and if you want to read about Dash's Italian second family), then this would make for fine light reading.  Don't go in looking for a lot more than a fluff piece, though; the accents of worldbuilding and romantic development are purely that--accents.

Retroactive Ethical Tangent Conversion/Obliteration Nationals, by Masterweaver

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After Nightmare Moon is defeated by Twilight and the girls, three special agents are given a crucial task: to make sure that she and her friends all learn the right lesson from their various friendship activities.

A few thoughts:  This is a story that would have benefited from really committing to its premise: showing the girls learning massively skewed lessons from their events, and the absurd lengths Sweetie Drops and her co-agents had to go through to get them on track, say.  Instead, after a promising setup, the last chapters are just straightforward "fixes" of a few episodes, two of the three involving nothing more than a stern talking-to, which isn't particularly rewarding for the reader.  There's some worldbuilding around the organization in question, but it's too light to really stand up on its own.  In the end, I found the concept potentially amusing, but the payoff only really enjoyable from a "yeah, that moral was kind of messed up" perspective.

Recommendation:  If you didn't enjoy (the lessons from) Swarm of the Century, The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well, or Too Many Pinkie Pies, this might be worth a look.  I don't know that it would have much appeal outside of the fixfic crowd, though.

A Union of Love..., by Daftpony

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Lyra moves to Ponyville to stalk be with her true love.  The only thing is, Bon-Bon doesn't know it yet...

A few thoughts:  Without getting too deep into spoilers, there are two twists here.  The first one is painfully obvious, and the dancing around it honestly gets pretty tedious.  The second one, while not exactly shocking, wasn't one I saw coming, and did make for a pleasantly creepy-but-not-too-dark ending.  At 4500 words, I feel like this would have been stronger at half the length, since that would've given me less time to get tired of the dancing around the first twist, but even if the story is a bit slow getting there, I did enjoy the way it finished.

Recommendation:  If you find obvious dancing around a pony's identity annoying, stay far away from this fic.  But if you're curious about the second twist, or if you like creepy stalker stories which don't cross into grimdark territory, this is a solid choice.


  1. Ah shoot, I have the same expectations for Hurricane's Way. :/

  2. Happy birthday!

    Though I find the frosting delicious, I don't care much for carrot cake itself. As a consequence of this (and loving chocolate), I probably haven't had carrot cake since discovering red velvet cake over a decade ago.

  3. Once more around the sun
    One less trip until you're done
    Happy Birthday!

  4. Thanks for the birthday wishes, all!