Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 111: Spotlight on Ribbons and Lace

My being on holiday may mean a delay in getting the review of "Spice Up Your Life" out, but thanks to the wonders of scheduling the same doesn't have to be true for Ponyfic Roundup! This time on PR, I take a detailed look at a Mature-rated tale of RariShy. (The author calls it Flarity, but I don't like that term much.) Jot Jiggety Jog has only two published stories, both clopfics, of which this is much the longer.

Ribbons and Lace by Jot Jiggety Jog
Fluttershy and Rarity
Romance; 59k words; Apr–Oct 2012; Mature (Sex)
Rarity x Fluttershy in lingere [sic]. Dramatic Rarity is dramatic.
The short description for this fic is pretty terrible. Thankfully, the actual story is anything but. Calling this a clopfic really rather underestimates it: this is more a love story than anything else, and one that even this protective Fluttershy fan found himself appreciating. The characters are inevitably a little early-series, but within those bounds they work well. Yes, it's sexually explicit, but it knows how to work more than just the obvious emotions. The ending is a little drawn-out and it has a horrible case of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome, but it's probably the best clopfic I've read. ★★★★

A little bit more, which is spoilery, after the break.

As I said in the above-the-line review, Ribbons and Lace is a story first and a clopfic second, and that's why it works so well. It made me care about what was going to happen next between Rarity and Fluttershy, and that's the key. The scene fairly late on where everything falls apart was both gripping and heartbreaking. It's interesting, given the recent "Flutter Brutter", to see Fluttershy being so direct in that scene: when she made that comment about how she's going to have to think about who she calls a friend, I could almost feel myself staggering back from the blow.

As for the sex scenes, it's pretty common in the fandom for Rarity to be represented as having a more or less secret kinky side, so all that could have been rather formulaic and dull. Thankfully, it's not, as JJJ works in Rarity's use of her clothing knowledge very satisfyingly. Her use of fashion to contrive ways of ogling Fluttershy's flank really fits; good, since otherwise that could have been cringy in the extreme. Mind you, you do have to wonder what was going on in the back of Rarity's subconscious when Fluttershy was being a supermodel back in "Green Isn't Your Color"!

If only this story didn't have such terrible LUS, it would be an absolute joy to read. It's still nice, but the problem so bad that sometimes it seems you can barely go two pages without it being shoved in your face. Rarity being described as a "fashionista" is the most egregious example, since it's not only extremely frequent but a word your brain can't just skip over. Fluttershy being variations on "the shy mare" is almost as common but easier to let go, while Rainbow Dash being a "speedster" is annoying but happens less often.

Nevertheless, Ribbons and Lace is certainly the best sexually explicit ponyfic I have read. It's not really an out-and-out clopfic, since if all you want is... that, then you'll find all the actual story gets in the way. It certainly does in the climactic (ho ho) scene, which does drag just a little. The story's sex scenes are often actually sexy, though, and allied to an interesting romance and some nice (again, early-series) characterisation of most of the other ponies, that makes it well worth its four-star rating and recommendation.

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: a non-themed edition full of all sorts of weird and (if I'm lucky) wonderful stuff.


  1. Interesting review.

    Do you mind me asking what LUS means? I'm not familiar with the term, although I get the drift of what you meant with it.

    1. "Lavender Unicorn Syndrome", i.e. replacing a character's name in the text with "the lavender unicorn", "the blue speedster", "her yellow friend", etc. It's annoying and unnecessary and tends to mar early-fandom fics especially.

    2. Right I see, thanks. I thought it might be a more general literature term rather than being ponyfic-specific.

    3. More generally, LUS is a type of character referent. It's worse in fanfiction, because we know what the characters look like already and don't need to be told over and over and over again. But yeah, referring to characters by what they are or what they look like instead of their names or pronouns is really, really annoying. D:

    4. Aye. The one I remember popping out at me a lot is 'alabaster mare' to describe either Rarity or Celestia.