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Pony Stories 54

26 Nov

I think I’m going to start reading the 1.5 million word fanfic I downloaded out of self-defense pretty soon. I won’t have to write up anything about my reading for like a week because that will take so long to read. Definately going to limit my reviews to the stories I found interesting when I switch things up next year.

Power Surge by Kapuchu

Short bit about how powerful Twilight Sparkle is. The story Duel Nature didn’t have the same focus, but had a much better magical fight scene between Twilight Sparkle and Princess Luna. This story had a interesting little glimpse that a different personality comes out in Twilight when she is overchanneling immense amounts of magic power. There is a sequel to this that I am very interesting in reading to see more exploration of the concepts hinted at in this one, as well as see what happens next. This story does really highlight that writing effective magical combat scenes is very hard, even on top of the already present difficulty in writing a good action scene by itself. The abstraction of imaginary types of violence simply puts another layer of complexity to the writing.

I Love You, Dad. by NotARealPonydotcom

Incredibly sweet, and sad, story. Very emotional, but very well written. It was nice running across a excellent quality story once again. Even the good stories in the batpony contest were often a little, well, not quite to the high standards of the upper end of the quality spectrum. This was a story where the main character is looking back on years of history that happened after the current events of the show. This is one of the few ways that telling instead of showing works. Summarizing things that happened in the character’s past, but the reader doesn’t know about, can be very effective as long as you make sure to have very little exposition to leave plenty of holes for the reader’s mind to fill in. It paints a picture of the lives of the mane six ponies as they grew up and got families and careers. The ending isn’t exactly sad, but it certainly isn’t upbeat. Rainbow Dash is presented here extremely well. It adds layers to the Rainbow Dash in my head, but isn’t all in-your-face Rainbow Dash that a lot of authors fall back on as a crutch.

Power Surge – Rejection by Kapuchu

This was disappointing. Was hoping for a continuation of the story Power Surge. Something that explores Twilight Sparkle’s training in combat magic, or expands on the author’s concept of unicorn/alicorn magical power levels, or explains the apparently alternate personality Twilight had when she was overchanneling in the previous story. Nope, none of those. Well, it brushes up against magical power levels a tiny bit, but not very well. This story is just a mediocre to average quality fight scene using generic (and practically meaningless) terms, then a out of left field deus ex machina.

Wise Beyond Her Years by Pen Stroke

By the same person who wrote Past Sins, which is apparently one of the most popular pieces of fanfic in the entire pony fandom. I was underwhelmed, but it was good enough that I wanted to read something else by the author. This one seemed like a interesting premise and I do enjoy immortal conspiracy stories on occasion. This was a small novel in length, about 70k words, but it really felt like it had as much content as a story a third that size. Not padding, just the author writes in a spread out manner. I’m reminded of the writing advice I read once that each chapter, each paragraph, each sentence if possible, should accomplish two things. Such as advancing the plot, developing a character, or worldbuilding. This author seems content with simply doing one thing at a time with each bit of the story.

The middle of the story is each of the mane six doing their own bit of research. Most are good, brief and simple. Pinkie Pie’s is the longest and really doesn’t fit. The whole Pirates Of The Caribbean spoof thing was fun and would make a great stand alone story, but it really didn’t fit the whole mystery theme of this story. Plus it relied a bit too much on finding the source material funny.

In the end, my conclusion about this author is basically a complaint for lack of brilliance. Both this story and Past Sins have a few cool concepts and are written with plenty of technical skill and polish, but that is all. No great use of language that amazes the reader. The ideas are never presented in a way that sets fire to the imagination. It is a interesting story told well, and it never excels in any respect. It boils down to very well executed blandness. Which probably explains why it is so popular. People like blandness, it lets them fill in the smooth spots with their own unconscious assumptions. I’ll stick with dense complex stuff like Eternal and Fallout Equestria and The Quantum Thief that forces my brain to work to keep up and throws so much stuff at me that I have to struggle to keep everything straight.

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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Books 2013, Ponies, Reviews

 

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