Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 42: To Those Who Wait

It's that time of the week again, the time when I pick out a few fanfics and write reviews of them for no other reason than that I feel like it. :P This time around, I'm giving some attention to the stories that have been stuck on my Fimfiction Read it Later list the longest. Thankfully, they're all reasonably short! A decent enough week overall, with more pleasant surprises than disappointments. Here we go...

Pick of the fics

The Name Game by Brony Tom
Apple Bloom, Applejack, Chrysalis and Cadance
Dark; 9K words; Oct 2012; Everyone
Apple Bloom finally has her cutie mark... but her memory seems to be going. Why? Complaints first: this probably ought to be rated Teen. And I didn't like Apple Bloom being nicknamed "Bloom" rather than "AB". However. However. The story itself is outstanding, a genuine chiller that doesn't take the easy way out and rely on gore. It's truly worrying at times, but that's achieved through excellent descriptive writing. You may well see one twist coming; you probably won't see others. Prepare to be disturbed. ★★★★★

Other stories

Fluttershy and Celestia Play Chess by BronyWriter
Fluttershy, Celestia and Luna
Slice of Life; 4K words; Sep 2012; Everyone
Fluttershy doesn't like the idea of the crowds at Canterlot's Wonderbolts show, so she stays at the castle and plays chess with Princess Celestia. This story isn't one of BronyWriter's best efforts: although I like the concept and it's solid slice of lifery, the chess bit seems rather hurried: one or two more games would have made things more satisfying. I'm also not keen on a certain technological note, while a late Pinkie cameo seems to be more for the convenience of the writer than anything else. Worth a glance, especially as a break from flashier stories, but just didn't click with me. ★★

Honey Pie by DeiStar
Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle
Slice of Life; 4K words; Dec 2012; Everyone
By chance, two stories with the same name in two weeks! They're completely unrelated, though. Scoots and Sweetie share a delicious honey pie, and get to talking. They end up discussing quite deep matters. This is a nicely observed character piece, with atmospheric writing and a good message. It also anticipates canon that didn't exist at the time of publishing. The cover pic is a little unfortunate, as it implies a foalhood romance that isn't actually present. The writing is a tiny bit stilted, which precludes a five-star rating, but it's still very worthwhile. ★★★★

Nightmarish by Lurks-no-More
Luna and Celestia
Comedy/Slice of Life; 2K words; Jun 2012; Everyone 
A sort of prequel to Luna's appearance on Nightmare Night in "Luna Eclipsed", showing how she prepared. A fairly slight story, more of a vignette really, but it's pleasant enough to read and has both alicorns acting nicely in character. It's not screamingly funny, but is gently amusing at times. Not a bad choice if you're after a Royal Sisters fic for a quick tea break. ★★★

Patience, She Said by TheMessenger
OC, Others and Spike
Sad/Slice of Life; 5K words; Feb 2014; Everyone
Glitter Belle really should have listened when she was told by grown-ups not to go near the large dragon that's appeared nearby. She didn't listen, and now she's about to encounter it. I can't say a lot about this one without giving away a major plot point, but it's a rather satisfying little fic that deserves its Twilight's Library spot. I hesitated between awarding this three or four stars, but in the end the way canon references were scattered with a light touch swung it the way of the higher score. ★★★★

To Catch Up With the Sun by Dark Avenger
Zecora, CMC and OC[no genre tags given, but it's Adventure]; 15K words; Oct 2013; Everyone
After escaping from a timberwolf attack in the Everfree Forest, the CMC are relieved to make it to Zecora's hut. Once inside, they proudly tell the zebra that they now have their cutie marks! Zecora, in return, tells them the story of her mark. I mostly enjoyed this fic, and especially Zecora's backstory – which wasn't what I'd expected at all. As usual, her rhyming does get a bit wearying when carried on for page after page, while one or two references were rather distracting. The section breaks link to YouTube videos, useless on my e-reader. Still, Zecora fans should probably check it out. ★★★


  1. Stories that call her "Bloom" for short really get me bent out of shape.

    I don't even know why, I should not be having that reaction. c.c

    1. In this case, the use of "Bloom" is (passingly) mentioned in-story, so it's not a case of the writer just doing it without any explanation. It still didn't feel right, though.

  2. Yay, you did The Name Game, one of my old favourites! TNG is definitely one of the more disturbing fics I've read, and the concept totally blew me away at the time. The whole prescient pony naming thing is an elephant in the room that just isn't relevant most of the time, but this fic ran with it and turned it into something horrifying. And I don't even usually like horror. :)

    1. I'm not a big horror fan either, but that's largely because I don't like gore. (Yes, I know, Fallout: Equestria, but that's a special case!) I'm much more likely to appreciate a fic if it achieves reader discomfort through unsettling ideas and atmospheric writing, and The Name Game managed that with great aplomb. :)