Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 79: Following the River of Fics Downstream

A slightly longer edition of Ponyfic Roundup than sometimes today, since for a change I've actually managed to get through more than five stories. There are eight this time – count 'em, eight! And not a single MarbleMac shipfic amongst them! As usual, they're all pretty short, but I hope there'll be a reasonable variety for you guys. Here are the fics I'm covering in this edition:

Scar Tissue by RadiantBeam
But it was for Equestria Darling! by CristalGalaxy
Featured on 08/31/1014! by alexmagnet
Kindred Spirits by Majin Syeekoh

Lunch by Titanium Dragon
Let Your Sprits Fly by Manaphy
Darkly, Through Dreams of Home by Chuckfinley
The Day the Reading Died by DrakeyC

Scar Tissue by RadiantBeam
Sunset Shimmer and HuMane Five
Slice of Life/Human; 1k words; Jul 2015; Everyone
While relaxing after a performance, the Rainbooms discover Sunset has scars that she definitely didn't have before the Fall Formal.
A rare foray for me into Equestria Girls fiction, and in this case it's paid off. This fic, set after Rainbow Rocks, is more an explanation for something that wasn't covered in the films than a full story, but it's decent enough reading. A little bit of implied Rarity/Sunset shipping, if that makes any difference to you. ★★★

But it was for Equestria Darling! by CristalGalaxy
Cadance and Shining Armor
Comedy; 1k words; Oct 2015; Teen
Don't throw your wife off a balcony. Even if the fate of Equestria depends on it.
Princess Cadance informs her husband, in no uncertain terms, that she did not appreciate being thrown at Sombra. This doesn't work for me, largely because Cadance's sense of priorities is so weird. The writing is a bit rough technically, too, but it's the underlying concept that means I can't recommend this one. The A/N at the end should have been the last line of the actual fic, too. ★

Featured on 08/31/1014! by alexmagnet
Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity and Spike
Comedy; 5k words; Sep 2014; Everyone
Twilight’s article on the importance of checklists finally gets published in the local newspaper. After telling everyone in town, she quickly discovers that no one cares.
This is a good story that could have been a great one. Twilight's delight at publication works well, as does her increasing frustration at discovering just why her friends aren't so impressed. Some very funny lines, too (the soup one takes some beating). But sheesh, some of the meta feels forced. The fic's title is one thing, but calling the land's national newspaper Equestria Daily is a horrible idea that's used far too often in fics. Still a three, but would probably have been a four without such sledgehammer parallels. (Also, authors, do you know what putting slashes in titles does to filenames?) ★★★

Kindred Spirits by Majin Syeekoh
Sombra, Angel and Fluttershy
Random/Slice of Life; 1k words; Feb 2015; Everyone
King Sombra breaks into Fluttershy's house in order to cuddle with Angel Bunny.
A fun premise, but there's not a lot going on here, even if you overlook the usual, irritating anti-Angel line it seems to take. It's a bit of a stretch to imagine that Fluttershy wouldn't recognise Sombra even in those circumstances, but the story isn't terribly memorable anyway. ★★

Lunch by Titanium Dragon
Comedy; 3k words; Mar 2015; Everyone
Sick of eating the same thing for lunch every day at school, the Cutie Mark Crusaders decide to sneak into Sugarcube Corner to try and get something better.
It's interesting how odd the opening, with Diamond Tiara in full-on bully mode, feels now. That's beside the point, though. This is quite a fun little CMC romp, with all three Crusaders nicely characterised and some nice interplay between them. There's the occasional awkward phrase ("the red appendage") and it's only because I'm feeling nice that I didn't instantly dock a star for the heavily implied Scootachicken reference. The ending is a bit underwhelming, too. One final plus, though: Pinkie is really good in a support role. It's almost worth reading this for her alone. ★★★

Let Your Spirits Fly by Manaphy
Cloudchaser, Rumble and Thunderlane
Slice of Life; 2k words; Jul 2014; Everyone
Cloudchaser is talented at many things. Flying, weather patrol, and foalsitting are among her skills, but when Rumble is feeling down, can she lift his spirits up into the sky?
This was the longest-standing story on my RiL list, having been there for more than a year. It's a pleasant enough tale and the mix of characters is refreshingly unusual, but this does show its age relative to some more recent fics by the same author. There's some clunky phrasing ("an upset visage") and not as much emotional oomph as there should be. ★★

Darkly, Through Dreams of Home by Chuckfinley
Luna and Pipsqueak
Dark/Adventure; 4k words; Dec 2014; Teen
Ponyville has come adrift. One young mare must save it, or lose herself trying.
Something all too rare in the fandom: a chilling tale that doesn't involve any gore. We follow Pip as she (yes, she; there's a reason, and an interesting one) tries to make sense of the place Ponyville has become, and discover how Luna is central to it all. Wonderfully atmospheric, enough so that I was surprised and disappointed by a line that didn't fit the mood and by a rather clunky joke. Still could have been a four – indeed, should have been a four – but its ending is a real head-scratcher, and that took the edge off my enjoyment. ★★★

The Day the Reading Died by DrakeyC
Mane Six and Spike [Twilight isn't separately tagged]
Comedy/Random/Slice of Life; 2k words; Oct 2015; Everyone
Twilight runs out of books to read. Celestia help us all.
I eeped when I saw that description, as I have an idea for a fic with a very similar premise. Thankfully this goes in a different direction, so all is well. Here, Twi is desperately trying to find new reading material after exhausting her library's stock. Twice. And I do mean "desperately". It's a fun little thing with an amusing ending. I can't believe Twi doesn't know what a trifle is, though... ★★★


  1. Regarding But it was for Equestria Darling! by CristalGalaxy, Princess Cadance was totally with Shining Armor for that. When he picks her up they share a glance, then she gets into determined action pose. It was obviously something they had practiced, or at least talked about.

    Which is why I consider Martial Bliss canon.

    1. Yeah, that too. The story just doesn't fit with canon at all.