Deciding to stick to about three stories for each of these. Spreads them out, lets me get more posts out of them to continue this every other day schedule I’ve been sticking to for a surprising while. As in, like two weeks now. Two short ones this time and one long one. I wonder if I should start trying to spell out really slow Morse code messages using long/short stories. Today the letter is ‘U’ apparently. So remember, you can’t have pony fan fiction reviews without ‘U’.
This one was funny, but had a few flaws. The writing was decent and, as I just mentioned, it was funny. Yet the author goes through some contortions to hide what Twilight is dealing with until the punchline. At the start there is misdirection that is basically a lie to the reader to keep the thing in question a secret.
A bit dry, but interesting. It really is just a list of various statistics. Sort of trying to do the same thing Lost Cities did, but using numbers instead of scenery. It doesn’t quite work. Gets lots of points for trying something unusal. I’ll take a dozen not quite success attempts at something creative over a dozen samey blandness any day of the week. It’s not very long, so I’d recommend give it a try. Does have at least one number that I think is a little high. Apparently Equestria is founding new settlements at the rate of one a month. 11,000 new settlements since Princess Luna was banished.
Really liked this one. Some of the characterizations were a bit off in one or two places, but in general it was pretty good. Only have the two nitpicks really. First, the citizens of Ponyville were a bit too paranoid and unfriendly towards new ponies when the suspicions got high. The show is based on ideals of friendship and harmony, so even in the more realistic (compared to corporate kid’s cartoon) fan fictions I like the ones that still stick pretty closely to those ideas on some level. In this situation, giving Ponyville the friendly nature of a idealized small town. In any case, a bunch of petty thefts should not be enough to send the town into lynch mob mood. The second nitpick is related to the first one. There is a scene in the later half of the story where Princess Celestia has sent a declaration about what is going on, and Twilight Sparkle is there at the town meeting to answer questions after the mayor reads the decree. The crowd just heckles her. Even though this story happens before she becomes an alicorn, I just can’t see this happening. Princess Celestia is their god-queen, whose will moves the heavens and whose benevolent light has guided the kingdom for a millenia. Twilight Sparkle is a national hero several times over, and a local hero a few more times on top of that. I can’t see the ponies of Ponyville just ignoring all of that because of even deep suspicion. That Twilight gets heckled in that scene is just silly. Much like the ponies of Manehatten ignoring an alicorn princess when trying to get a cab.
The author did a good job portraying all the characters from the show. Even if some individual bits would be better as original fiction (heckling scene mentioned above) the story would lose a lot if you removed the pony elements from it. The mane six were all written well, I never thought any of them were out of character. Even the more extreme moments of Applejack felt like extrapolations from what we know about her from the source material. I also really, really liked the Princess Luna we get to see near the end of the story. It’s probably the best Luna I’ve run into in a while even if it was just for part of a single chapter. The two OCs were pretty good as well. Interesting without being overwhelming, somewhat sad background without being horrific tragedy or over-the-top overwrought.
This is full-length novel, but worth the time it takes to read it. Also, one additional note: There is apparently another story that is apparently a pretty long alternate ending. I thought the ending to this story was good enough that I have no interest whatsoever in reading the alternate ending. In fact I am going to avoid it just so it doesn’t run the risk of muddling this one. Take of that what you will.