Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ponyfic Roundup no. 2

Since I published my first Ponyfic Roundup a week ago, I've kept up my reading fairly well, and so here's another batch of five stories with their potted reviews. The format is the same as last time's, since it seemed to work reasonably well. Please don't read these posts in the expectation of getting long, in-depth reviews, because that's not my aim; such things aren't hard to find if you want them. What I'm hoping to do here is to give you just enough detail to give you an idea whether you might enjoy a fic.

There are no long stories this time round; that doesn't mean there won't be in a future roundup. I do prefer shorter fics on the whole, but I'll read a longer one from time to time. Off we go, then!

Daring DONE! by Aragon
Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Celestia, Luna and Twilight Velvet
Comedy; 5,538 words; Dec 2013; Everyone
The "exchange of letters" format for fiction needs to be handled very carefully to avoid it becoming clich├ęd and predictable. Thankfully, Aragon gets it right. Technically, this story has become an Alternate Universe fic since it was written (most of it was done by Oct 2013), as "Daring Don't" makes it impossible to reconcile with canon. But don't worry too much about that; just enjoy the hilarious tale of what happened when Rainbow Dash found out just who really wrote the Daring Do books... 8.5/10

My Beloved Sister by Deil Grist
Sad; 1,516 words; Jun 2013; Everyone 
The 1,000-word minimum on FIMFiction discriminates against poetry like no other type of writing, so I'm always pleased to see some. It's quite nicely constructed, with a suitably epic feel most of the time – although just occasionally a line does get distractingly pedestrian. Unfortunately (for me) it's one of those stories in which Celestia apologises to Luna – the poem is set while the younger sister is still banished to the Moon – and implies that it was all her (Tia's) fault. I'm afraid I find that quite annoying, and it knocks this down to 6/10.

Naked Singularity by Cold in Gardez
Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy and Celestia
Comedy/Random; 10,524 words; Mar 2012; Teen (Sex)
Twilight is embarrassed when her attempt to write a romance novel goes wrong. However, when she's advised to write what she knows, she has a wonderful idea. The result is that Twi comes up with a new book that's... well, that would be telling. But it's screamingly funny, especially the extracts from Twi's novel, brilliantly imagined, well written and nicely paced. NSFW in places, but certainly not tacky. There's an irritating 550-word advert for CiG's other (unrelated) fics at the end, but the story itself is so entertaining that it's worth 9/10.

The Old Stories by Thanqol
Mane Six, Celestia and Luna
Slice of Life; 9,277 words; Aug 2012; Everyone
Here we have something intriguingly different from the norm. Each of the Mane Six tells a story – in her own style – about the long-ago age when Celestia was still making the Sun. The mythology is convincing and the stories are well linked but nicely distinct. A final, Luna-based chapter is the weakest part, and there are one or two real-world place names ("Reichenbach Falls", for pony's sake?) which do jar a little. Fascinating and recommended all the same. 8/10

Somewhere Only We Know by PatchworkPoltergeist
Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Applejack
Sad/Alternate Universe; 4,721 words; Aug 2012; Everyone
The basic concept of "What if Equestria is just a dream?" is well-worn, but I've rarely seen it explored as beautifully as here. Dash is an old, tired carriage pony, whose friends have been sold away from the stable. She only sees them now on her rare trips into town – and fate has not been kind. In her dreams, though, Dash is free, soaring into a clear blue sky. The occasional stylistic quirk, and it should probably have had a Human tag added, but a deeply moving tale with strong echoes of Black Beauty. Please, please don't simply watch the Rainbow Dash Presents of this story; that would do it a grave disservice. 8.5/10

1 comment:

  1. Thanqol is (was, I guess--it's been forever since he's written anything new) a serial self-referencer; "Reichenbach Falls" first appeared in his Sherlock Holmes ponification, and at that point I think it was probably inevitable that it show up again in his other stories.

    Also, City of Doors just sent me here, and I'm really liking the reviews so far! I checked out some of the other posts and they're nice to, but c'mon; we all know I'm really here for the fanfic reviews. I'll keep an eye on this place in the future!