Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 210: It's Coming Home (Edit: Well, England will be...)

Title explanation: that football song

Yes, all right, I'm sorry. I'm not even much of a football fan. But I am English, and my team is playing a World Cup semi-final this evening, so I'm going to make the most of it. It'll all be over one way or the other by PR 211, after all! On we go...

Read it Later story count: 326 (-1)

A poor week for me, back down to three stories. The heat hasn't helped, but in this case I've just had so much to do that spare time has been nearly non-existent. I'm actually quite glad I've managed to get through anything at all! Here we go(, here we go, here we go), then:

Paper Tigers by Midnight Dancer
With Your Shield Or On It by PatchworkPoltergeist
The Secret Lives of Books by derpyland

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

Paper Tigers by Midnight Dancer
Twilight, Celestia and Luna
Sad; 3k words; Nov 2013; Everyone
Why does Princess Celestia constantly send Twilight and her friends to save the world? Shouldn't she be able to?
Twilight wonders this during a meeting with Celestia, and her mentor explains. Well, not in a straightforward way, for this is very much not this Celestia's style. It's a thought-provoking story, with lots of little hints as to Tia's backstory that are both intriguing and tantalisingly unexplored. The symbolic use of origami is not especially original (though it was probably more so in 2013), but it works. I can't help feeling that Celestia is sometimes speaking the author's thoughts, and the prose is a bit on the purple side at times, but if you can get on with the headcanon it ties together pretty nicely. ★★★

With Your Shield Or On It by PatchworkPoltergeist
Fleetfoot, Wonderbolts and Other
Adventure/Drama; 10k words; Jan 2018; Teen
Fleetfoot is not a monster fighter. She’s not an Element of Harmony. She's not a medic. She's not a hero. Fleetfoot’s just a pony who can fly really fast. And right now, she's all Silver Lining's got.
By the author of the classic Somewhere Only We Know (PR 2), this starts out as a great buddy movie (oh, you know what I mean) but quickly takes a darker turn when a filly goes missing. She's found alive – but something is wrong. I'm not going to say what the reason for that is, as it's a wonderful reveal that creeps up on you and, once you realise what it is, suddenly makes perfect sense. The story ties into show canon, and it does so in a very satisfying way. I'm not much of a fan of Fleetfoot, but more stories like this and I may have to revise my opinion. A strong four and the best Wonderbolts fic I've read in quite a while. ★★★★

The Secret Lives of Books by derpyland
Twilight, Discord and Rainbow Dash
Slice of Life; 4k words; Nov 2014; Everyone
Twilight Sparkle goes to a bookstore, determined to buy books – until Discord tells her that the books have led a more adventurous life than she has. Twilight demands that he prove it – and he does.
Discord's argument – and he does have a point – is that Twilight doesn't do things, she merely has things happen to her. This fic is at its best in such exchanges, and indeed some of Discord's dialogue is wonderful ("Oh, you know Fluttershy. She's off doing things this morning"). There's also some fun backstory world-building. What stops it being more than an amusing diversion is that it's just too waffly, and when I say that, there's a problem. For example, one long paragraph about a book's binding brings the story almost to a halt. There's also a slightly weak ending, a weather report opening and a little LUS. Still, it's worth reading for the best bits of Discord annoying Twilight, which are delicious. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed should include Baal Bunny's Pranks for Nothing.

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