Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mini-Reviews Round 172

I'm home!  I used the long weekend to go visit my sister, and a friend from all the way back to my middle-school days who I still keep in touch with.  Good times were had, though at the expense of insufficient sleep.  Now that you're up to date on my personal blog stuff, let's get to the important bits: the reviewing!  My thoughts on some fics, below the break.

A Royal Morning, by Poptard

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Cadence deals with morning sickness--and it's only "morning" in the most technical of senses.  Luckily for her, her husband is there for her.

A few thoughts:  This is a very SoL fic, mostly a story of low-stakes character interaction and light exploration.  I would have preferred a bit heavier touch, myself--there's not really anything of note added to or extrapolated from either Cadence or Shiny's canon personalities--but as a scene of pregnant life, it definitely does its job.  I was also pleased that, although it had some humor to it, it wasn't of the gross-out variety; the premise is used in a perfectly un-disgustingly explicit manner, thank goodness!

Recommendation:  Readers looking to spend a couple thousand words with their favorite married pony couple will probably find that this scratches that itch admirably, and fans of pure SoL will also want to give it a look.  Those looking for anything which could reasonably be described as "deep" might want to look elsewhere.

Thought I'd Let You Know..., by Gyro Steambass

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight writes to Celestia, asking why Celestia never answers any of her letters.

A few thoughts:  This is a story that uses lines like "As she stared at the letter for a few more seconds, a tear rolled down her face, falling on top of the letter, leaving one single stain on the last letter she'll ever write[...]" unironically, which should tell most of you right off the bat if it's something you'll enjoy or not. The first chapter (the second is listed by the author as "optional;" given that Celestia's logic makes no sense (in that there turns out to be no reason she couldn't just tell Twilight why she won't answer her letters), I recommend giving it a pass) is largely composed of Twilight's letter itself, which is full of crossed-out lines, "unintentional" slips, and other epistolary cheats that I generally find affectatious.  As for the idea?  Well, I may be getting hung up on the premise when I say this, but I have trouble imagining that Twilight couldn't have found a better way to address the situation than what's shown here.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for something punchy and sad, don't mind lots of writing issues of the types I highlighted, and can buy the core concept, then give it a shot.  That's a pretty specific subset of readers, though, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone outside of that specific subset.

Take a Walk, by Cryptid-Kid

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Lyra is dismayed to discover she'll need to walk home in the rain.  Noteworthy comes with her, and--despite Lyra's best efforts--tries to cheer her up.

A few thoughts:  This is an interesting take on Lyra, casting her as very volatile, emotions-wise.  Unfortunately, that didn't seem like a great fit for the prose's focus, which was much more on physical descriptors and some noticeable telliness than it was on the characters' thoughts and feelings.  Given that the story is nominally about those feelings, there's something of a disconnect here.  There's also the issue of the prose frequently using words in vaguely incorrect (or, at minimum, purposlessly irregular) ways, such as "He was creeping up on her nerves now."  It makes the whole story slightly difficult to parse throughout, though overall comprehension is never wrecked.

Recommendation:  Unless you enjoy purple-tinged writing full of unusual phrasing, this probably isn't one to actively seek out.


  1. I actually read that second one a few years ago, and I didn't appreciate it anymore than you did. Sometimes, those agreements make me feel good. :B

    1. I, too, feel slightly vindicated when you review a story I did/didn't enjoy and come to basically the same conclusion about it. It's the little things.

  2. But Celestia has replied to Twilight's letters on multiple occasions. Hell, that's how Twilight came to Ponyville in the first place

    1. I don't think the fic is meant to point out something in canon. It was based on the song, which was in turn just a 'what if.'

      It's a shame about the fic; I liked the song.

  3. "...on the last letter she'll ever write..."

    I actually stopped reading the review at this point.

  4. Listened to the reading of the letter one, which I believe lacked the "optional" warning for the second chapter. The first chapter, while I didn't think it was great, was at least closer to "okay for what it is." The second chapter took it to straight bad territory.

    One potential lesson here is that if you are an author who 1) believes a chapter isn't necessary to a story and 2) believes the chapter is "not good" and "may ruin [the reader's] opinion of the story," it may be desirable to not publish the chapter, or to take it down if it's already been published.