Monday, October 17, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 156

Watched Top Bolt over the weekend.  It was okay.  I dunno, the last few episodes have mostly felt "okay" to me; they don't do any of the things I hate it when MLP episodes do, but they just feel generic and unexciting.  Is it the episodes' fault, or am I just suffering a little burnout?  I went ahead and rewatched May the Best Pet Win to make sure I still liked ponies, and yup, that's still an awesome episode.  Maybe it's just the rose-tinted goggles talking, I don't know.

Also, is it bad that my first thought about the Make-a-Wish OC was that even a (pre)dying wish isn't enough to get your OC into the Wonderbolts?  I felt bad right after I thought it, so probably, but man: Angel Wings is just abysmal in the air, to the point where you wonder how she got that far in the eval process in the first place.  Maybe Wings is also dying in-universe, and her attendance is the result of an in-universe Make-a-Wish expy?  It'd explain a lot.

Okay, I'm done speculating about the intersection between ponies and the terminally ill.  Head below the break for some ponyfic thoughts.

Delayed Reaction, by Masterweaver

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  It's perfectly normal for an alicorn to suddenly start panicking about immortality, and the many tribulations thereof.  Very, very suddenly.

A few thoughts:  This is mostly Twilight switching cliches literally by the second, as Starlight looks on in bemusement.  That's funny enough, but the story doesn't actually go anywhere with it.  It just gives us a bunch of reactions, tacks a quick, absurd explanation on the end, and calls it a day.

Recommendation:  As a silly scene, this works fine, but anyone looking for something that fits the classic definition of a "story" will probably find this lacking in some key regards.

Canterlot Seven, by LightOfTriumph

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Every Sunday morning, I read the newspaper.  And every Sunday morning, I wish I hadn't; reading about the latest murder in Canterlot always ruins my good mood.

A few thoughts:  This is a story that really suffers for its pony setting; it might work as a dark twist fic set in the real world, but it's such an ill fit for the setting (and at barely 1000 words, has no time to establish itself within that setting) that it becomes ridiculous instead.  Even with that aside, though, the "twist" is telegraphed far too clearly, too early, the last line is predictable with that twist in mind, and there's just not a lot else here to recommend.  The regular homonym errors don't help, but frankly, they're not the biggest problem here.

Recommendation:  This might be worth recommending to those who can divorce story from setting easily, if they're specifically looking for a grim reversal and aren't too concerned about the element of surprise.  I wouldn't recommend it beyond that.

Temporary Hiatus, by TheMessenger

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Ahuizotl monologues as he stands over the lifeless corpse of his greatest adversary.

A few thoughts:  I felt like this story wandered about too much for its own good.  True, it does that on purpose--Ahuizotl completely failing to keep his thoughts rational and cold is an important story element--but combined as it is with a relatively emotionless voice (even when describing emotional actions), it makes some of the more tangential sections of the fic a slog.  On the plus side, the voice is very consistent, and I really liked the end (of the first chapter, that is; the second chapter is a stand-alone reversal, which is somewhat weaker compared to the first part, if only because "perrenial winner wins again, but in a way she doesn't like as much" is a less interesting premise than "perrenial loser finally wins, and finds it strangely awful").  It's not a twist ending or reveal, really, but it concluded on an almost sweet note that nicely capped the fic.

Recommendation:  If you enjoy a good monologue, villainous or otherwise, this does a nice job with the one-sided conversation format.  It probably will appeal less to readers who dislike rambling, or stories decidedly low on events.


  1. I'll just wait for Professor Oats to say it.

    1. What, "You spelled 'the best episode ever' wrong"?

    2. Sorry, I fell behind again. I've gotten really bad at juggling real life and fandom. Also, I may have been cheating on Chris with other blogs (this one's doing a cover-to-cover of the 1st Edition Players Handbook)

      Chris, what on God's green earth does a meta-circular evaluator have to do with the Wonderbolts?

      Also, I don't think Lexi Huele is actually dying, but I could be wrong

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wait, you meant "eval" as short for "evaluation", didn't you? I just got that. Damn, I'm stupid

    EDIT: And I forgot the question mark. Yep, definitely stupid. Not sure what Pascoite wanted me to say now

  3. Yay, as ever I'm totally out of step with everyone else. Whatever, and however silly it makes me seem, it's a fact that Canterlot Seven floored me and that no, I didn't see it coming.