Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 121: What if Your Daemon is a Changeling?

With the Olympics over and the usual silly statistics (GBR won golds in more sports than any other nation, fact fans) going with them, I can return to other things. My piece about why ponyisms shouldn't be confined to fanfics will have to wait a while, as I seem to have all kinds of other stuff I want to post. Like this! Six stories, for the first time in a while, including one I really should have read years ago. Not a bad week overall, either.

Sandbox by Summer Dancer
Lyra Heartstrings and the Hand of Man by Between Lines
The Late Twilight Sparkle by InsufferableUnicorn
Five Hundred Little Murders by Estee
Raven by SaintChoc
Milkshakes by punzil504

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 3 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0

Sandbox by Summer Dancer
Sunset Shimmer, Twilight and Cadance
Slice of Life; 3k words; Aug 2016; Everyone
A young Sunset Shimmer is stuck foalsitting a pesky little unicorn.
A cute little story, this, which was rated #1 on Fimfiction at the time of downloading. It rather satisfyingly also helps to explain why Twilight (for it is she) had the attitude she did at the start of Season One. The ending is perhaps not quite as compelling as the rest of the story, and I'm not sure about "forbidden food" (context would be a spoiler), but it's a good read for low-stakes SoL lovers. Well, they seemed like low stakes at the time... a high three. ★★★

Lyra Heartstrings and the Hand of Man by Between Lines
Lyra, Twilight and Luna
Adventure/Human; 9k words; Jun–Oct 2012; Teen
She knew there were secrets in Equestria. Now, at long last, she's found them.
This being an old Lyrafic, we're very much in "obsessed by humans" territory, so you'll need to be able to at least tolerate that. There's a lot of story here for less than 10,000 words, though, so the action rarely lets up. Unfortunately, said action feels a bit dense, and some things (eg Shining Armor's scene with Celestia) elicit a shrug rather than anything more. I'm not that keen on its occasionally moralising tone, either. Still, the last few lines are really great, and Luna getting worked up is amusing. ★★

The Late Twilight Sparkle by InsufferableUnicorn
Fluttershy and Mane Six
Slice of Life; 3k words; Sep–Oct 2012; Everyone
You'll have a hard time coping, Fluttershy.
Not only a second-person fic, but one in the future tense. Now that's just showing off. Thankfully, it's also one of the best 2p fics I've seen. I can't say much about it without giving away the well disguised twist – but before you read it, note that publication date. I didn't at first and spent ages imagining it was set much later than it actually is, given something in the story. I'm not sure about the very end, but that aside this is great. Give it a go. ★★★★

Five Hundred Little Murders by Estee
Flitter, Fluttershy, Rarity and Opal
Sad/Slice of Life; 11k words; Aug 2013; Teen
Flitter thinks Fluttershy is the weakest pony in the world. Flitter has never confronted what Fluttershy's job really means. Nopony ever wants to or should. Now Flitter has to. And 'weak' will turn out to be exactly the wrong word.
(Note: this is part of the author's Triptych Continuum. Triptych itself is still incomplete and so I haven't read it, but this story doesn't require that background; there may be a couple of minor references, eg "under Sun", but they didn't get in the way of my reading.)

When I saw the synopsis of this fic – Estee's Royal Canterlot Library entry – I thought I knew where it was going. Suffice to say I was half right. Flitter doesn't get much attention from writers, but when you start reading this you'll wish she had even less, as she's really dislikable here. She needs to be, though, for the story to work – and her unreliable narration is spot on. Fluttershy is interestingly written and very believable, even if I'm less sure I can quite credit the lack of Equestrian scientific knowledge that's crucial to the big reveal. (Maybe that's just 2016 talking.) Given a major aspect of the plot, I suspect I might be giving this a five if I had a pet. I don't, but it's still an easy four and recommendation. ★★★★

Raven by Saintchoc
Celestia, Luna and Other
Slice of Life; 6k words; Feb 2016; Everyone
Anyone who has sought counsel from Princess Celestia has met Raven, her most faithful aide. She has been a veritable second shadow to the princess for as long as the castle staff can remember... longer than they can remember, in fact. Much longer.
Everyone seems to adore this story: it's in the RCL and The Royal Guard, and even Titanium Dragon didn't hate it. :P Told in reverse chronological order, it's the tale of Celestia's long-serving (really long-serving) aide. And tea. It's a quiet, understated story, but as so often with those there are some pretty big revelations. It's also one of the few stories to make really short chapters work. On the downside, I find the tea stuff a little tedious, heretical as that may be for me to say – and there's a lot of the tea stuff. I don't adore this, but I do like it. In a quiet, understated way. ★★★

Milkshakes by punzil504
Featherweight and Bulk Biceps
Slice of Life; 3k words; Aug 2013; Teen
Snowflake is a big, burly pegasus. He's aware that there are rumors about how he really got to be the size that he is, but he never expected Featherweight to believe them.
This is the second fic I've seen with this father/son pairing, after SugarPesticide's Still Life (PR 109), though it's more straightforward and less wistful. I like the father-son interaction here, and it's nice to see Snowflake depicted as a loving dad. The tone is a little preachy at times, but if you can deal with that it's a nice short read. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: Apple Bloom discovers that there's trouble at t'mill. (This is not followed by the arrival of the Spanish Inquisition.)


  1. Did you read my tea fic? <.< Did you find it tedious? I hope you found it teadious indeed.

    1. I'm pretty sure I haven't. But that "teadious" pun may force me to now. I hope you're proud of yourself! :P