Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 63: Breaking the Rule

Because none of the fics I'm reviewing today are Rule 63 stories. Oh, Logan, the sheer wit of it all. Anyway, I've looked at five fics this week, including one that's picked up more than 50,000 views on Fimfiction and another that I first read a long time ago but hadn't actually reviewed here until now. Also, this PR takes me past 300 reviews, which is far more than I ever thought I'd manage. In reading order as ever, the fics I review here are:

The Great Fruit-Off by Twinkletail
Temporary Hiatus by TheMessenger
My Roommate is a Vampire by Dennis the Menace
An Earth Pony Orphan In The Unicorn Court by Benman
Fluttershy's Night Out by Bad Horse

The Great Fruit-Off by Twinkletail
Cherry Jubilee, OCs and Others
Comedy; 6K words; Oct 2014; Teen
Cherry Jubilee's business is is hampered by the devious Sugar Grape.
Cherry's battle against an unwanted challenger to her rule of Dodge Junction is good fun for the most part, with some amusing jokes and a fairly interesting setup, though it does fall from a three to a (high) two thanks to an ending that I don't really like. That last part just doesn't feel very... Equestrian to me. ★★

Temporary Hiatus by TheMessenger
Daring Do and Ahuizotl
Sad; 4K words; Jan 2014; Teen
With his most hated enemy defeated, Ahuizotl does what any good villain would: monologue.
This is rather touching: Ahuizotl spilling out his thoughts over the still body of Daring Do, gradually coming to wonder what his life will be without her. There's a slightly less successful second chapter which turns the tables. A few minor typos aside, well written and interesting, though it didn't blow me away. Certainly worth a look, and not just for Daring Do fans. ★★★

My Roommate is a Vampire by Dennis the Menace
Vinyl Scratch and Octavia
Romance/Comedy/Adventure; 55K words; Jul–Oct 2012; Teen
Silly Octavia, Vinyl's not a vampire, right?
I'm so disappointed by this story, largely because it starts pretty well. The first few chapters are enjoyable, with a nice dynamic between the principals. Then something happens to Octavia (you'll know when you get there) and everything falls apart. From there on in, this story is an almighty mess. Yes, so was "Slice of Life" the other week, but that was also tons of fun. This? This is just absurd, with no real logic to the progression of events. Some weird tonal shifts, too, including a fun gratuitous torture-aftermath scene, because what romantic comedy adventure is complete without one of those? If you reach the end, there's a ludicrous meta chapter which is nevertheless considerably more enjoyable than most of what comes before. This is the sort of thing FanFiction.Net was made for. Three stars for the early stuff but really only one for the rest, so overall: ★★

An Earth Pony Orphan In The Unicorn Court by Benman
Slice of Life; 7K words; Nov 2013; Teen
In the time before the three pony tribes became one, a rampaging monster tears apart a noble caravan. Now the baron’s shattered family must put itself back together—with one remarkable addition.
I've wanted for quite a while to read a story exploring the tribalism that existed before the founding of modern Equestria, and this turns out to have been a decent choice. Set in troubled times (like many things, the details are left deliberately vague) and with plenty of power politics going on. I'm not keen on some of the names ("Tintagelding"? Really?) but there's enough goodness here to make up for that. Apparently intended as the first of several connected stories, which explains why it feels too short, but the other stories don't seem to have appeared. Shame. ★★★

Fluttershy's Night Out by Bad Horse
Fluttershy and OCs
Romance; 8K words; Oct 2012–Jun 2014; Teen (Sex)
Fluttershy would like to be a tree. But she doesn't want to be an animal.
This is a tricky one. I first read it ages ago, when it consisted of just the first three chapters. As that, it's a very good but not very happy tale of what happens to a lone Fluttershy in a late-night bar. The epilogue changes the overall tone considerably: it's now less bleak for Flutterfans, but I'm not sure that it makes the overall story better. It's a four-star fic either way, but I'd probably advise reading the epilogue after a break. ★★★★

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