Happy Halloween for those that celebrate it. Two short ones and a long rambling review today. Which is nice. Been a while since I’ve run into a story that got more than a few lines out of me as a reaction. I’m too lazy to push out a lot of stuff for most stories, but I do enjoy writing the longer form stuff when it happens. On a completely different subject. Anyone else find the notifications for being followed on FimFiction kind of weird? Just a (name) is watching you, with a eye next to it. I feel like the Illuminati, or some elder god is watching my every move.
Stories covered below the break:
- Infallible by Pegasus Rescue Brigade
- I Miss You by Silver Cloud
- Freeze Frame by ToixStory
Functional, but not inspiring. The writing was decent and some of the individual jokes were okay. Just didn’t really come together as a good story. A fluffy piece of comedy good for a moment’s distraction.
Another story I read a while back and apparently never typed up (found it!) the review for. Anyway, this story hit me right in the feels. In fact I don’t remember it getting me quite this effectively the first time through, so that’s probably a plus. The reverse timeline of the letters is a gimmick, but used well. The letters are very nicely paced in how calm or frantic they are as the timeline rewinds itself. This is a story that is good enough to make a convincing case that it’s particular romantic pair is the best one. Still remains a shipping story, but gets close to actual romance. Mostly because it is more of a snapshot of things than a full story itself in a lot of ways.
Overall impression, pretty good. Not enough pony. Lacking polish. Now for some notes I jotted during and after reading it.
Neither of the first two stories had a proper ending. No real catharsis or completion. The first story even ended with what seemed like stupidity. I mean, I’m all for the villain realizing they are a villain and having a change of heart. If done right it can be a powerful moment. The way this handled it, well, it was basically just a ‘because the plot says so’ moment. Not to mention the villain’s plan was mind-numbingly stupid. Spoilers: Her plan was to kill all of the investors (or shareholders?) so they their investments would default to the company. The way she did this was ask all of them to stay after a party, where Princess Celestia herself and other Canterlot nobles would hear it, and then lock them in and burn the building down. With her as the only survivor. Oh, and the villain is a unicorn whose magical talent is fire. Yeah. How the heck did she think she was going to pull that off? Pretty sure no amount of police or judge corruption is going to let you pull that blatantly obvious plan off. At this point (halfway through the whole thing) I’m honestly convinced that the ending was part of the villain’s plot and she’s going to pop up again later and reveal that she faked her death. It is literally the only thing that would make sense, in my opinion anyway. The second story isn’t as bad, but really felt incomplete. Not to mention kind of a rip-off of the first Marvel Captain America movie. Well, the scientist character anyway. The overall plot is much different. Too much real-world stuff. Not in details, but in attitudes and themes. The whole Germany culture and nation thing (with a horse pun name of course) had nothing interesting about it and was basically just some cliches with pony spackled on top. Plus, you know, the part where agents from another kingdom imprison and interrogate Equestrian citizens on suspicion they were working with someone that other kingdom was looking for. I like hearing a lot of different versions of how Princess Celestia might run Equestria, but I can’t believe she’d allow anything like that to happen at any point. I don’t think that even Tyrant Celestia would let outside police forces capture, lock up, and interrogate her subjects.
I’m currently at the middle of the story and in kind of a weird position. Part of me just wants to stop and move on to something else. The plots in this are interesting, but are 2 for 2 in disappointing me at the end. So I have no real interest in seeing what happens next in the plot/events side of things. Yet there are one or two neat worldbuilding bits so far and probably one or two more before the end. Mostly I just want to see where the characters go. The most interesting thing is the b-plot that involves a bit of romance and I would like to find out how the kinda-sorta love triangle works out. Really, I just want a story 1/4th the length of this one that’s just the shipping story that is a side-plot. That and one of the primary characters has the last name of Lulamoon. I totally want to see if she is Trixie’s daughter or younger sister or something. That at least would nail down the time period of the story. Which is something else I’m completely baffled about. At one point it mentions that Trixie is giving seminars on the magic of friendship, and pretty sure it mentioned Princess Luna was back, but some of the other between-the-lines clues seem to say that it is quite a bit of time after the events of the show. So, again, baffled.
I ended up not finishing this. Got through episode 5 (each episode is four chapters or so) and decided I just didn’t care enough about the characters or events to keep going. The fifth story was a bit better plotted, but was basically just an adventure story. There wasn’t even a whole lot of reporter-type stuff in it. Not even a ‘this is what the front page story was about’ blurb at the end. Plus it was really pony neutral. Sure it used hooves and stuff, but what little body language there was could have been human as easily as pony. Plus I realized the thing that has kinda been bugging me. Not enough magic. I know the story tells us that it is an earth pony town with few unicorns and almost no pegasus ponies, but part of the feeling of pony for me is that mixture of fantasy magic into things. This has almost none of that. It could easily be converted into any generic steampunk story.
Oh, and in the fourth story there was a major plot (character development?) point that was totally overlooked that I nearly stopped reading right there. At the very beginning of the whole story the main character gets really injured being taught how to fly by a metal-winged pegasus. In story 4 the same pegasus gives her more lessons, which involves a rope that was said to be unbreakable snapping and the main character nearly dying again. Not a single mention of it, either the rope or the main character almost dying happened.
Still, I’d probably give this one a minor recommendation. The writing is pretty good on a technical level and the characters are interesting and there are some cool ideas in it. Just couldn’t hold my interest for the entire thing. Unless the very end wraps it all up in one overarching plotline, this would have been much better as a half-dozen separate stories. It’s almost a short story collection. Just goes to show that this author has some big weaknesses, mostly in the plotting and polish department, but I’ve yet to run across a story of theirs that was boring.
Random stuff: The story did give Pegasi the ability to sense magnetic north that a lot of birds have, which was cool if only a minor throw-away line. Also, having a donkey as a recurring secondary character was nice. Even if she was kinda a Rarity clone. There was enough difference that it wasn’t a straight copy and she is more than a minor throw-away character. In the bad bits category, I can’t believe that Princess Celestia would allow really bad slums and major crime families to continue working. Like, crushing starve-to-death poverty slums and gangsters with automatic weapons kidnapping and shooting large groups of people in an out of the way, but still public place.