Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 216: Cleeton St Mary

Title explanation: Shropshire village

No episode review this week, since Discovery Family is just re-running "Yakity-Sax", which I've already seen. You can see my thoughts about that episode over here. I'll be reviewing "On the Road to Friendship" next week.

Read it Later story count: 323 (+2)

Another very busy week for me has meant a mere three fics reviewed once again. As has been the case for a long time now, I do want to get back to the point at which five stories is the minimum you can expect. That's not likely to happen until well into the autumn, though. Today's trio are:

Endless Gifts by Jenova2
Falling Leaves of Oak by Georg
Slipping Through My Hooves by Awesomo3000

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

Endless Gifts by Jenova2
CMC and Mane Six
Slice of Life; 6k words; May 2012; Everyone
One Cutie Mark Crusader getting her cutie mark threatens to tear their friendship apart
It's not the most original premise, but let's cut this fic some slack for that as it's six years old. I'm less inclined to do so for another example of unpleasant Scootaloo, going as far as to tell Sweetie (who gets her mark) that she should no longer be a Crusader. Shades of Apple Bloom's nightmare later on in canon, and this is one place the fic scores: Rainbow Dash's cameo is also similar to a later show appearance. On the downside, Fluttershy and Twilight don't really convince and the ending is really pretty silly. ★★

Falling Leaves of Oak by Georg
OCs and Twilight
Drama; 4k words; Mar 2018; Everyone
When the Ponyville library is destroyed by Tirek’s rampage, the last Oakleaf is called to cure the destroyed oak. It is an impossible task. However, this is Ponyville, where the impossible happens every day.
A 2018 story about the destruction of the tree is an unusual thing, and Georg's fic won the EFNW Applejack Award this year. I very much like the world-building about Library Oaks, which forms the base on which the story grows. The odd thing is that it felt to me like a late-2014 fic, with only one or two passing references to underline that it hadn't been written during the S4/5 hiatus. Part of this is down to the repeated reminders of how hard-edged and cold Twilight's castle is, a feeling that's died down a fair bit in the fandom since it was new. This had started to get on my nerves by the end of the story, even though it was the right feeling for the crotchety but believable Oakleaf to have. The younger OCs were a little on the unmemorable side, though their relationship was nicely portrayed. The story is very well written, as always from Georg, with fine characterisation and a good plot, but I couldn't quite shake the nagging feeling that it would have had more impact on me a few years ago. Still very much worthwhile, but "only" a high three for me. ★★★

Slipping Through My Hooves by Awesomo3000
Applejack, Apple Bloom and Pear Butter
Drama/Sad/Slice of Life/Alternate Universe; 3k words; Jul 2018; Everyone
An alternate take on Somepony to Watch Over Me, if Apple Bloom had snapped at Applejack about her over-protectiveness.
A fixfic for the first act of that episode (which could certainly do with it), and a reasonable one all told. Apple Bloom hurts Applejack terribly with her choice of words and AJ broods on it all. As part of this, she thinks back to her foalhood – which is where Pear Butter comes in. We still end up with the sisterly bonding of the canon episode, but the route to get there is different. There's a bit too much of the flashback, and I could really do without the "single tear" at one point. A few awkward word choices ("abdomen"?) but quite readable for the most part. A high two, and I prefer it to the episode's first act. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed should include PhantomFox's No Tame Forest.