Monday, September 11, 2017

Mini-Reviews Round 200

The big two-oh-oh!  I'm sure there's some significance to that, but I couldn't say what.  Turns out I'm not good with numbers, as my oh-so-clever decision to start Alshon Jeffery (5 fantasy points in standard scoring) while benching Leonard Fornette (18 points) attests.  I'd have won otherwise, too... what was I saying?  Oh yes!  Mini-reviews!  Find my less-than-200 of them, below the break.

The Gentle Folk, by MonolithiuM

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A mare makes a deal with the spirits that live in the wood--but those spirits are mercurial, and the bargains they make are not to be taken lightly...

A few thoughts:  For the most part, this story does a good job of setting up and maintaining its dark-fairytale tone, though bits of incongruous wording sometimes trip it up ("Rind stood motionless, trying vainly to hear anything outside of her own bodily functions").  More broadly, some of the more cliche story story elements--while totally appropriate to invoke in a story like this--grew a bit wearisome through repetition.  That notwithstanding, I still appreciated the spooky, fable-esque air of the whole work, and it ends on exactly the deliciously dark note you expect from something of this sort.

Recommendation:  If warning-legends are your bailywick, this would be a good choice for you.  It's not an ideal selection for readers seeking show-tone happy endings, in case my thoughts didn't make that clear.

The Voyage, by BookeCypher

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Gilda and Gretta return home, ready to spread friendship and goodness to the griffons.  Just one problem: the ponies never actually told them how to do that.  Gilda is trying to figure out a plan when she's distracted by someone she never expected to see...

A few thoughts:  This is a simple but unpretentious story with a sweet moral at its core.  Unfortunately, it's also pretty poorly edited, and it ends abruptly, almost in mid-conversation.  There's a great message about the lessons we learn from those who matter to us in here... but one's enjoyment is likely to be dictated by one's tolerance for construction issues.

Recommendation:  As a sweet SoL add-on to the griffon episodes collectively, this story will best appeal to those who like the less fixfic-y sort of episode followup fic.  It's not for readers sensitive to weak writing, though.

.until the last pony is ferried., by shortskirtsandexplosions

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  The ferrypony carries souls across the river Styx, taking them to their final rest.  These souls mostly blend together--but there are a few that it seeks out, mindful of who they were and, for a brief while yet, still are.

A few thoughts:  Like many SS&E fics, this story suffers in the voicing department--specifically, the main six all tend to sound like particularly overwrought and melancholic versions of themselves (well, a certain amount of melancholy is appropriate from somepony who just died, but stuff like Pinkie's "[...] what is the purpose of any of it? why laugh in the first place? why... live in the first place? i just feel like i've accomplished nothing" pushes way past what feels appropriate for the character, at least to me).  As that example shows a hint of, the author uses a couple of textual gimmicks to denote the speech of the characters; your milage may vary, but once I got past my initial annoyance at the lack of capitalization, I found these to be appropriate to the story being told.  The ending is interesting, though it never quite answered (or even deflected) one of my key questions about "the end:" how do Discord, the princesses, and immortals in general fit into this "the end?"

Recommendation:  If you're looking for something sad but not too dark, or something which requires a bit of reader assembly to read (I was very satisfied with the way information was parceled out in general), give this a look.  If you're not in the market for a "one or more of the main six are dead" fic... beneath its bells and whistles, this very much is one, and so you should probably give it a pass.


  1. I read that as "the big two-uh-oh", and that was hilarious.

    Happy two-uh-oh!

  2. I get what you meant about the repetition in "The Gentle Folk." It made an impression, but took a bit too long to get there for my taste, especially considering the minimal plot, and I feel that played into it.

    As it happens, the editing issues and sudden stop described for "The Voyage" are about what I'd expect based on the zero-ish spoiler summary.