Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Ponyfic Roundup 23

Well, I suppose it had to happen sometime: a week when I really wasn't bowled over by any of the fics I chose to read for review. On the plus side, none of them were terrible, either. They were just... there, with the odd spark to lift most of them marginally above mid-score territory. The winning story is at least quite interesting, so let's get to it.

Pick of the fics

I'd Like to be a Tree by electreXcessive
Fluttershy and OC
Sad/Slice of Life; 3K words; Sep 2013; Everyone
A collaboration with Midnight Dancer. In the show, I generally find that co-written episodes do poorly (eg "Power Ponies") so I was iffy about this one. The title didn't help, either. But actually it's not bad: Fluttershy herself narrates, explaining why this tree is so special to her. I found it rather sweet and even moving at times, though it sometimes tries a little too hard for emotion. Also, and I know the show gets this wrong too, "lie" and "lay" are not the same word. Perhaps I'm being kind, but 7/10.

Other stories

Don't Be Too Hasty by yellowstripedflutterbat
Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy
Romance/Slice of Life; 2K words; Feb 2014; Everyone
This is a tale of two halves for me, which takes some doing when a story's this short. I really rather enjoyed the opening section, which has some nice interplay between the Pinkie and Fluttershy. Unfortunately (for me, anyway) it later turns into a gentle, but rather standard, shipfic of the sort that usually makes my attention wander. Worth a look if you enjoy that sort of thing and like this pairing, though. 6/10

A Hell of a Time by Aragon
Celestia, Luna and Cadance
Comedy; 4K words; Jun 2014; Everyone
A really, really silly fic about the travails of the three princesses in Tartarus. Nothing wrong with silliness, but on this occasion at least, it just didn't quite click. There are some good laughs to be had, and a character repeatedly complaining about her face hurting is made surprisingly amusing. The author acknowledges that it was written on the fly, though, and that does show sometimes (Cadance/Cadence being one example). Also, what exactly is "a pompous swift"? Quite entertaining, but no more than that. 6/10

Reading Rainbow by Corejo
Rainbow Dash and Twilight
Comedy/Slice of Life; 7K words; Mar 2012; Everyone
This tale of what happened when Rainbow had to read a storybook in verse to a hospitalised Twilight is a massively popular story, to the extent of being considered a fandom classic. I don't entirely go along with the adulation, though it's a nice concept and the poem's underlying story is okay. The writing isn't always that smooth ("[RD] said quickly with a suspicious smile") and the poem itself feels a little forced, relying too much on the word "did". Not bad, but nowhere near classic status for me. 6/10

Scootaloo's Secret by Alaborn
Scootaloo, CMC, Mane Six and Zecora
Slice of Life; 7K words; Oct 2012; Everyone
This is one of those "Where does Scootaloo actually live?" stories, which I suppose is acceptable given its age. It does have an unusual twist ending, though, albeit one which borders on the unbelievable, and there are a few other nice touches. I'm not entirely sold on the characterisation of the CMC, though, and it's really distracting to have "Twilight Sparkle" written out in full every damn time. (Yes, more so than AJ's Ah-speak.) Also, what's that bizarre loose end regarding Sweetie Belle all about? This is just too rough to be convincing. 4.5/10

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