So, who's excited for the movie? Apparently it's already leaked; I don't know when I'm going to get to go see it (I'm still well behind on episodes, for that matter...), but it's somewhere on my to-do list. Not gonna lie, though; I haven't felt nearly the excitement for this from the fandom at large as for an previous season premier, or for the first couple of Equestria Girls movies. It makes me wonder if the show ennui is wider-spread than we'd all like to admit.
Or maybe it's just a quieter sort of excitement. We'll find out over the next week or three, I'm sure. Until then, here's some fanfic reviews to tide your pony-needing self over! Get 'em below the break.
The Most Beautiful Song, by OnionPie
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight walks through an endless desert, seeking the leader of the southern tribes which have overrun Equestria, enslaved and murdered its inhabitants, and killed her brother, so that she may offer a peace treaty. But as she walks, the image of her brother haunts her mind, urging her to cast peace aside in the name of justice.
A few thoughts: This is a story that asks you to accept death and murder on a mass scale as a price of entry; if you can't reconcile that with your vision of Equestria, there's nothing here to win you over. But if you can, it's a brilliantly biting critique of a certain view of the Princesses (one I'm pretty sure came from the comics, though having not read them, I admit I don't know how much of it is directly from them and how much is just people seeking confirmation for a pre-existing headcanon) which states that they're morally obligated not to do... anything, really. That any exercise of force on their part is paradoxically a fundamental abrogation of their duties. Song takes this to its logical extreme, showing just what disasters betide those who refuse to act out of principal when a problem is still containable by moral means. It's a dark, visceral tale that I found revolting in places... exactly as it was intended to be.
Recommendation: If graphic depictions of death and violence are a no-go for you, this is one to pass on--and more broadly, if you're the kind of reader who has trouble buying into a FiMfic in which that kind of thing can happen. But if you're willing to give this a chance on its own terms, it's a biting, starkly relevant piece about power and responsibility which packs a heck of a punch.
Avoid Your Heros, by secretagentplottwist
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight travels back in time to meet her hero, Starswirl the Bearded, only to discover that he was neither as revered nor as genial as he would later be remembered.
A few thoughts: The biggest problem with this fic is its first and last scenes, with Twilight leaving and returning to the present, because of the terrible Pinkie Pie writing. Interestingly, it's not any of the normal Pinkie pitfalls that do this story in; instead, it's the author's decision to cast her as Twilight's SO. Which would be fine by itself, if that didn't then metamorphose into Pinkie being a stay-at-home reactionary worrywart, the specific presentation of which fits neither her voicing nor her personality particularly well. The rest of the story is much more enjoyable; the author does try a little too hard to have it both ways with Starswirl (making him both a sympathetic character and a letdown re. Twi's expectations is a tough act to balance), but there are a few nice scenes, a solid introduction, and some fun bits of history--I was particularly fond of the explanation for how SS got his moniker, even if the actual presentation of it is a little forced.
Recommendation: If OOC main six is a turnoff for you, stay away, and readers seeking excellent writing in terms of flow and presentation will find this more towards the "serviceable" end of the spectrum. But if you can get past that, there's a good mix of fun and time-travel here for fans of light (pony) history.
Diamond Ring, by DemonBrightSpirit
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Scootaloo finds an expensive-looking diamond ring--and a moment later, Diamond Tiara comes by looking for it.
A few thoughts: This is a pre-DT-redemption, which tries to cast her in a more sympathetic light. But it is very heavy handed, both in terms of content and in presentation, with Scoots frequently tripping over every tiny step of her thought process in the narration for the reader's "benefit" (Scootaloo barely heard the second part. Because it was mom’s! echoed in her mind. Did something happen to Diamond Tiara’s mother? Everypony knew about Filthy Rich, but when was the last time anypony said anything about his wife?). I will give it points for going with a lighter, more amusing ending than I was expecting, though; it does help that the overbearing messaging lets up a bit at the end.
Recommendation: If you're looking for something blunt and explicit at most every turn--for example, if you're reading this story to a child without a lot of experience with fiction--this would be a perfectly fine choice. And that's not an insult! It's probably not a great choice for the typical adult reader, though.