Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 149: If You Don't Want to Know the Results, Look Away Now

I'm planning a fairly substantial cull of my Read it Later list in the near future. Although I did just about succeed in keeping it below 500 fics and it's slowly been shrinking, it's still much larger than I'd like. That being so, I'm going to weed out stories I keep looking at and then passing over. What I'll end up with, I don't know, but I'll still add fics from time to time, so there'll always be plenty of stories in the queue!

Read it Later story count: 478 (-1)

We're back to the traditional mixed bag this week, and in keeping with this theme of being normal and unexciting, there are six stories under review and no five-star gems. Still, I did find a good bit of interest in some of the fics I looked at, so let's get on with it.

Promises by RaylanKrios
This Isn't War by KingMoriarty
Overlooked Relations by Calming Moon
Mare of Many Hats by Skywriter
Can Ya Fix Her? by LightningSword
All the Ways that Matter by RoyalBardOfCanterlot

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

Promises by RaylanKrios
Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo and Twilight
Sad/Slice of Life; 34k words; Mar–May 2014; Teen
What would you do to protect someone you cared about?
Scootaloo is being beaten by her stepfather, and Rainbow Dash is determined – desperate – to keep her safe. Indeed, the best thing about this fic is Rainbow's committed love for the "tiny filly" (a phrase both inaccurate and vastly overused). Elsewhere, though, there are significant problems: the pacing is often breakneck, characterisation can be iffy (Twilight threatens a lowly soldier with exile) and Scoots' stepdad is not merely brutal but really rather ridiculous. Also, there's TV. This was among the author's earliest stories, and it's really two stories in one: the first 60% is a rickety thriller, while the last 40% is a more satisfying Scootalove tale. It's just a shame it's such a slog to get to the better part. ★★

This Isn't War by KingMoriarty
Rainbow Dash
Alternate Universe/Slice of Life; 2k words; Nov 2016; Teen
One year after the Crystal War came to an end, Rainbow Dash takes a moment to reflect on what has happened.
This is the third in the author's enjoyable "Iron Wing" series (see PR 119 and PR 141 for the others). This time, Rainbow Dash reflects on life without war. The story treats the psychological implications quietly and – as a result – effectively. It all feels believable, despite Rainbow's non-canon voice, and the ending adds a note of optimism. This story was recently inducted into the RCL, too. You don't lose a lot from reading this as a standalone, but having knowledge of the prequels certainly adds flavour. Recommended. ★★★★

Overlooked Relations by Calming Moon
Twilight, Celestia and Cadance
Comedy/Slice of Life; 1k words; May 2016; Teen
After drinking a little too much, Twilight realizes someting [sic] very important
I don't find "ponies get smashed" an interesting setup in and of itself, and this fic doesn't have much more than that. The jokes are predictable and punctuation is poor throughout. If you're in the market for a stupid, short story about alcohol, this is one. I'm not, and so although this is a top-end one-star fic, it's still a one-star fic. ★

Mare of Many Hats by Skywriter
Applejack, Rarity and Breezies
Comedy/Random; 3k words; Oct 2016; Teen
Applejack mourns the loss of one of the last 67,986 links she had to her dead father.
Written in the wake of "Made in Manehattan" rendering countless hat-related epics canon-non-compliant, this is a very stupid crackfic. Being Skywriter, it's good reading even so. A gag about Equestrian smoke detectors is brilliant, and the story plays amusingly on in-show silliness a couple of times. There's the odd sub-par joke or clunky meta reference, but at this length the story is entertaining enough. ★★★

Can Ya Fix Her? by LightningSword
Big Mac and Rarity
Drama/Slice of Life; 3k words; Sep 2016; Everyone
Rarity's latest customer has a bit of a problem. And it'll take more than a needle and thread to fix it . . . .
In this little tale, Big Mac asks Rarity to mend Smarty Pants. The story starts very slowly, and it takes about a third of its length to get anywhere much. After that, things become considerably more interesting, with nice dialogue from both ponies. (Yes, both!) There's a twist in the tail, though people better than me at spotting such things will doubtless see it coming. ★★★

All the Ways that Matter by RoyalBardOfCanterlot
Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy
Slice of Life; 4k words; Aug–Nov 2016; Everyone
Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash are sisters in all the ways that matter
At time of review, this story was marked complete. It's since been extended.
Cute FlutterDash friendshipping? You have my attention! I quite like the "feather sisters" concept here, set up in the prologue. The ending of the second and last chapter is charming, too. On the downside, that's all you get: although marked complete, I certainly get a feeling that this was originally intended to have a few more chapters. There's an odd persistent typo ("pegasii") but that's minor. More seriously, the lack of development after that decent setup left me feeling a bit unsatisfied, and that nudges this down to a high two-star rating. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: it's PR 150! And to mark the occasion, I review a fics from all eight [sic] years of the fandom.

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