Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Mini-Reviews Round 209

Here are some stories by authors whose writing I know I like, because sometimes it's nice to read stories that you're pretty sure you'll enjoy.

...What, that's not a good enough reason to read some fics?  Too bad, here's a few fic reviews!  Get them below the break.

The White Horse, by Carabas

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A year after the defeat of Nightmare Moon, four ponies with designs on Equestria and its denizens meet to discuss how they might pool their strength to defeat the weakened sister who remains.

A few thoughts:  I think the best thing about this story is that it doesn't play its four-horsemen-of-the-apocalypse angle to straight or hard.  Oh, it's there, alright, but it's really just a jumping-off point a quick, grim glimpse of the politics of a millennium ago.   And make no mistake, this is a grim fic, both in its portrayal of the warlords, and of Celestia herself.  These are ponies shaped by a long war, and it's a bleak world that's described.  But the characters are vivid for all that; this isn't a fic that becomes dreary in its darkness.

Recommendation:  If you like historical snapshots and don't object to the tone, this is a great little piece of negotiation.

A Teatime Visit, by Esle Ynopemos

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight plays a prank on Rarity... one which initiates a self-perpetuating cycle of revenge pranks.

A few thoughts:  This feels more like five short scenes than it does an overarching story, but I'm not sure that's altogether a bad thing.  It just makes the proceedings feel very episodic, and one's enjoyment of this fic is going to depend largely on whether they find the pranks of this prank war funny or not.  I did, so I did... though I must admit that I felt like characterization was a weak point here, with several characters coming off as rather less friendly and more aggressive than I was used to.  It's character-stretching in service of the joke(s), it's true, but it was still to a bit greater a degree than I would've preferred.

Recommendation:  If you find practical jokes funny and don't find stuff like Twilight playing a selfcest prank OOC, then this would be an excellent choice as a piece of light humor.

At the Riverside, by Pascoite

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After another Rainbow Dash crash, the girls share a night out together.  And given the recent near-death experience, it's only natural that the concept of death itself should come up.  It turns out, the girls all have slightly different impressions of how it personifies.

A few thoughts:  There's a rather odd premise at the core of this, that you just have to accept: that none of the girls thinks it's all that odd that all of them have literally seen Death, in pony form (or at least, that all of them have vividly hallucinated pony-form Death).  If you can buy that, though, this is a lot of fun.  There's great characterization of the main six, both in how they view Death and, even more so, in the smaller moments of levity which fill the fic (The whole dialogue around Dash's "moonshine" was both hilarious and spoke perfectly to Twilight and Dash's more practical and boisterous sides, respectively).  And despite nominally being about death, it's not really a story about death--it's a story about friends and friendship, that uses the conversation topic as a piece of character-building.

Recommendation:  If you can get on board with the girls' all being on the same page about seeing Death being a totally normal thing, this is an excellent low-key piece of main-six interaction, with a surprisingly touching (but not too heavy) ending.


  1. Reading things you'll like? Boring! Where's the adventure in that? :V

  2. Hey, thanks for the review! This was fun to write, and one of those where I didn't know how much appeal it'd have, but I wanted to write it anyway. It just started as me wondering if all the Mane 6 had different concepts of death, and then wondering what if they were all correct? The original write-off version played it as a surprise who Death was, but it was there just for surprise's sake and didn't add anything to the story, and a number of reviewers called it out for that. So I figured it'd be better to downplay the surprise and do something to make it matter, so all that friendship stuff got added later.

    1. Glad you liked it! I think your approach in the FiMFic version is the right one; besides, there's no such thing as too much "friendship stuff."

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