Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 155: Imposing Sovereigns Edition

If EqD's reports are to be believed, Treehouse's Ponybomb will continue into June. I can't say I'm thrilled by this turn of events, but given that official UK releases will be even later than the US ones I'm probably not in the strongest position to moan. Oh well, fanfic time.

Read it Later story count: 442 (-5)

It just so happens that FanOfMostEverything gave nods to six stories in the results post for his Imposing Sovereigns competition, which is the ideal number for a Ponyfic Roundup! With that in mind, I'm going to take a look at the medallists and the three stories which received honourable mentions. They are as follows:

Evil is Easy, Governing is Harder by Aragon (winner)
Stay Determined by Czar_Yoshi (second)
Little Truths by EbonQuill (third)
Ember, Hoardsmelter by Bugsydore (hon mention)
An Apple a Day Keeps Autocracy Away by MrNumbers (hon mention)
The Honing of Perfection by Dafaddah (hon mention)

★: 0 | ★★: 0 | ★★★: 4 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0

Evil is Easy, Governing is Harder by Aragon
Celestia, Luna and Daring Do
Adventure/Comedy; 18k words; Mar 2017; Everyone
Category: Madmare Celestia
One day, just like that, Celestia decides she's going to go mad with power.
This is quite something. It throws a whole heap of stuff at the wall to see if it sticks – and nearly all of it does. It's consistently entertaining, and Celestia's personality comes through very well. Luna is fun, too, as are the various non-pony characters. (There are puns. Lots of them. Terrible puns. You have been warned.) By far my favourite thing about this story, though, is the relationship between Daring Do and her assistant Sugar Song. Their dialogue is fantastic, and I could happily read entire stories just about those two. As you might expect given its author, there are plenty of asides in the narration, and most of these are at least amusing. I'm not entirely keen on one piece of tech, even if it does fit the story, and I don't think the fic should be rated E, especially given some Luna-related innuendo. But just pretend it's a Teen-rated story. It's worth it. ★★★★

Stay Determined by Czar_Yoshi
Starlight Glimmer
Alternate Universe/Dark/Sad; 15k words; Mar 2017; Teen
Category: Survivor Starlight
Every pony deserves a happy ending; every pony deserves to be equal. At the end of time, Starlight Glimmer wanders the desert in search of a way to give them both... but if forced to choose only one, she already knows what she'll do.
By the author of the fine Sweetie's Manehattan Birthday (PR 153and recently RCL-inducted, so I had high hopes for this one. I don't think it's giving too much away to say that it's a time loop story – but one with a twist. (Yes, I know that's generic. It's said for a reason!) I did need to concentrate quite hard, but it did come together in the end. It did feel a little too long, though going over similar ground multiple times rather comes with the territory. Starlight's thoughts remain interesting throughout, though. It's possible I'm missing something as it's inspired by Undertale, a game I've never played. I liked it quite a bit but didn't really love it, and that means a three. ★★★

Little Truths by EbonQuill
Sunset Shimmer, Other [Lemon Hearts], Twinkleshine and Minuette
Alternate Universe/Drama/Slice of Life; 11k words; Mar 2017; Teen
Category: Schemer Sunset
No first-year student has ever been crowned the Autumn Liege at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. Lemon Hearts is going to change that, with a little help from Sunset Shimmer.
Why on earth doesn't Lemon Hearts have a Fimfiction tag? But that's by the by. This fic is a prequel to the Wavelengths verse, about which I know precisely nothing beyond that "the Sonic Rainboom didn't happen", so I was going in blind. Considered on its own merits, then, it's a very good tale of an alternative Sunset, even if I did spend a lot of time wondering why this Sunset seemed to be so nice. (Yes, all is revealed later on.) It's a shame Lemon Hearts' background is so shadowy – I'm guessing that's filled in a bit in later Wavelengths stories. One moment in this really floored me, and it wasn't even the ending. I wavered a bit on the rating here, as I don't really like feeling I'm missing something in a fic, but it was that whammy that eventually pushed it above the line. ★★★★

Ember, Hoardsmelter by Bugsydore

Ember, Garble, Dragons and OCs
Slice of Life; 3k words; Mar 2017; Everyone
Category: Mad"woman" Ember
Garble had always seen Ember as "a little off", but now she was his dragonlord. What is Dragon society coming to? A lot more than it bargained for.
Garble thinks Ember is a "Cunning Optimist", a dragon term that I thought ought to be Pratchettian but doesn't seem to be. Surprisingly for a 3k-word story, this takes time to get going, but by the end it all fits together quite nicely. Mind you, despite the category this feels more like a Garble story than an Ember one – and it's certainly the best Garble story I've read. I'm not sure it'd hold up to intense scrutiny, so I didn't give it that. It suddenly introduces footnotes halfway through, but they're both a little dull and annoying on an e-reader. As long as you get the last line, you'll probably enjoy this. ★★★

An Apple a Day Keeps Autocracy Away by MrNumbers
Celestia and Big Mac
Comedy; 7k words; Mar 2017; Everyone
Category: Usurper Big Mac
Princess Big Macintosh saves Equestria. This comes as a surprise to Princess Celestia, who wasn't aware Equestria needed saving, actually.
Big Mac overthrows Celestia, who encounters plenty of obstacles in getting her throne back. Some, it has to be said, her fault. This is amusing in a mildly satirical way, despite the irritating (to me) depiction of Celestia as basically useless. It does ramble a bit and tangentialise here and there in a somewhat Aragonesque way, and it's another fic you don't want to stare at too hard in case you get a headache. It's pretty much a one-joke story, but the joke does just about stretch to 7,000 words. ★★★

The Honing of Perfection by Dafaddah
Chrysalis
Dark/Drama/Horror/Sad/Tragedy; 6k words; Mar 2017; Teen (Gore)
Category: Survivor Chrysalis
Chrysalis was raised in the hallowed tradition of changeling princesses, until everything went wrong...
This fic shows us the early life of Chryssy, her sisters and their old nursemaid, the only 'lings left in their dying hive apart from the likewise dying queen. I did wonder at first whether that made sense... but there is an explanation if you concentrate. As an origin story, it doesn't really mesh with the Fiendship is Magic comic, so ignore that. Nor do we see how Chryssy became the brutal leader she was by "A Canterlot Wedding". That doesn't really matter, though, and nor does the rather sketchy hive-building. It's the character interactions that are the main reason to read this. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: it's EFNW time, so that means Scribblefest.

2 comments:

  1. Fascinating that Czar_Yoshi and EbonQuill came up with precisely the same story idea, yet let them play out so completely differently. For that matter, EbonQuill manages to use an entire cast of characters who don't even appear in the story! Now that's an impressive feat! :B

    Aw, I just missed getting one of the scribblefest awards, so you won't be reviewing my entry. :c

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    1. Whoops! Thanks for the heads-up. Fixed now.

      And I will, actually, just not quite yet. I added a few of the other Scribblefest stories to my RiL list, and yours was among them.

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