Monday, September 4, 2017

Mini-Reviews Round 199

I did something yesterday that I haven't done in almost a decade: I pulled an all-nighter.  Not exactly deliberately; I'm coming off a stomach bug, and for some reason the general discomfort stayed right in that liminal state between "feeling better enough to successfully nod off" and "sick enough you just sort of pass out eventually."  Lucky that it's Labor Day weekend; I could use an extra day to get my schedule back on school hours.

Anyway, here's some mini-reviews, which--unlike this blurb--weren't written on zero hours of sleep.  Check them out below!

White in the Snow, by destinedjagold

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rarity makes her way through the snow, talking to herself as she goes.

A few thoughts:  While it's correctly tagged a mystery, this story tricked me in a way I think was counterproductive; the setup, and Rarity's tone, suggest that there will be a comedic reveal at the end, when the actual conclusion is... not definitely dark, but open to interpretation while implying an ending incompatible with a light-humorous reading.  Misleading a reader can be done to good effect, but here it seems like an emphasis on Rarity's more frivolous and sisterly moments undermines the fic rather than giving it bite.  Regardless of whether one shares that opinion, though, it's inarguably true that the editing is rather poor here; the story's hardly unreadable, but the various technical errors are both myriad and highly noticeable.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for a quick, succinct bite of ambiguity, this is a fine 1k fix.  It's not for the crowd like to cry "this is a scene, not a story," nor for those put off by poor technical writing.

One Can Only Wonder, by -TGM-

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight goes to meet up with her friends, only to find herself alone in a desolate winter waste.

A few thoughts:  White in the Snow my have had a bit of ambiguity about how dark its ending would actually get, but here's a fic that positively revels in its openness to interpretation.  -TGM- does a nice job of letting the reader see the events, but leaving the motivations opaque, which allows for multiple tones to be projected onto what happens--and vastly different ending notes can be inferred from the last line.  Unfortunately, I felt like this ended up a bit too open-ended for its own good; letting the reader puzzle out intentions is all well and good to a point, but part of the appeal of a story like this is having your expectations subtly played with and/or suddenly upended, and I frankly never felt grounded enough in this story to have any expectations to play with in the first place.  That said, I do appreciate the lack of explicit tone, and the action scenes are particularly well-written; tense and fast-paced, the writing makes a good match to Twilight's jangling nerves.

To Warm a Mare's Heart in Two Hours, by Timaeus

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  On the second Hearth's Warming Eve since the Unification, Princess Platinum trudges home to find Commander Hurricane has stuck a tree in her house.  She demands an explanation, but one explanation seems to lead into another...

A few thoughts:  This isn't so much a "shipfic" as it is a "mid-reconciliation fic," which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Not ever story about a relationship needs to start from initial attraction, after all (indeed, the ones that do often feel rushed and artificial, if the author includes those beginnings out of a sense of obligation and not a desire to genuinely explore love's first stirrings).  But the problem is that it's not consistently set mid-relationship; at times, Platinum thinks of Hurricane (unambiguously, as the narration gets into her PoV) in terms of a current, albeit semi-stormy, relationship; at other times, she appears to not yet have come to terms with her own attraction to him.  The worldbuilding here is very light, but such of it as there is is a good fit for the setting and story being told, and the "this is a Christmas fic" sense of wholesomeness permeates the story without rendering it cloying in a perfectly appropriate way.  The particular manner of Hurricane's stalling/Platinum's demanding does get a bit repetitive, but not so much as to be intolerable.

Recommendation:  If you can forgive an inconsistent approach to the shipping, this is a fluffy but pleasant piece of seasonal shipping.  Also, I didn't realize I'd chosen three snowbound fics for this set of mini-reviews until I started typing them up.  Guess I've already mentally checked out of summer!


  1. "It's not for the crowd (who) like to cry 'this is a scene, not a story'..."

    "Scene, Not a Story" should be a FiMFic tag. Also, "Lady or the Tiger BS."

    Wow, am I grumpy today, or what?