Pony Stories 459

11 Aug

I’ve got to come up with more amusing things to put in these intro bits. Hopefully I’ll come up with more to put here before this goes live. Assuming I remember to check it. Either way, there are reviews below the break for your reading amusement. One of them is a bit on the long side and I hope that typing it up on my tablet didn’t lead to any amusing auto-correct confusion.

Big Master Review List stats: Authors: [2332], Stories [5534], Total Reviews: [9002]

Alright, THE MASTER LIST, aka the big master review list, has just passed another big number. Pretty impressive given I’ve only been working on it for a little over a year. Trying to go back and pin down dates for my own amusement. Looks like I first decided to mess around with a list around 5th March 2014. Been harder pinning down exactly when I moved over to the spreadsheet instead of a plain text list. Was a few months later I believe, I know that by the 19th of July I had gone over to the spreadsheet and it was so much easier. I don’t even want to think about trying to do all the info I’ve got now in just a hand-edited list.

  • The Dusk Guard: Beyond the Borderlands by Viking ZX
  • Ἐλπίς by Bad Horse
  • Rain by FlameOfFaith

The Dusk Guard: Beyond the Borderlands by Viking ZX

Decided to see how this was going even though it’s not technically finished. I picked the perfect spot to jump in as well, since the first part of the story just wrapped up. So I got a good stopping point. Which is the main reason I don’t like to read incomplete stories. I don’t like having to wait to find out what happens next in a story. This was something of a cliff-hanger, but it did wrap up all the little loose ends so I don’t feel like anything major is hanging off a cliff, as it were. Just, you know, the major stuff that’s going to be going into the middle of the story.

Continues to have none of the actual dusk guard showing up. Except for the teeny tiny bit at the very beginning. Really, the first part of this one is basically an unrelated story except for it being set in the same world and involves one character from the previous book.

Aside from that, it’s pretty cool. Moderately interesting characters, neat ideas, cool slowly revealing plot.

Not sure if it was because I read the first five chapters previously, or what, but the pacing seemed off. I always wanted to know what happened next, but I also felt a little bored in places. Like I wanted the current scene (at those points) to hurry up and get to the next one. Not because the scenes themselves were dull… Just… Still trying to figure out the precise nature of my reaction. In the first Dusk Guard book the start was pretty slow, moreso than this one actually, but I didn’t mind it nearly as much. I think it was because that was much more focused on the characters and world. Whereas in this story it was pretty much all action and adventure, with characters as a strong second place focus and the world a close third. So we get little bits and pieces of character development, but nothing like the full bore focus on it that the first Dusk Guard book had. Which would be fine if it was those returning characters. However, when it’s a somewhat similar team-building series of events but with none of the real in-depth character exploration, it doesn’t work nearly as well.

I’m still looking forward to the rest of the story of course. Want to see the characters we got to know and love from the first story get tossed into things. Plus the villain that gets revealed is pretty cool. Speaking of villains, so going to steal the basic outline and ideas for the evil Sombra cult of unicorn supremacists for villains to put into my rpg worldbook. Also gotta think about the implications that the ancient gryphons had magic of some sort. Probably would have been one of the questions if I was joining in on the author’s series Q&A posts.

It actually put me down a somewhat amusing line of thought. I so wanted them to awaken King Sombra and find out that he isn’t a unicorn supremacist. He’s just an evil tyrant that wants to crush everybody under his hoof, unicorns and non-unicorns alike. That’s not what happened, but it was an amusing train of thought.

All in all, a good story. It’s main weakness is that the first story of the series was so strong with character building that this one feels a little shallow by comparison.

Later Edit: Please read the comments on this post for more. The author brought up a good point, and I tried to refine my thoughts about it a little more. To briefly clarify: when I say a little shallow by comparison I mean that if the first Dusk Guard story was a 9.7 on a 1-10 scale, this one is 9.2 on the same scale. For the rest, it’s not a problem with the story or author, but a lack of effective communication on my part about a very vague concept in my head that I expressed poorly. As well as this, like all of my ‘reviews’, is less a reasoned objective thing and simply my reaction to the story right after setting it down.

Ἐλπίς by Bad Horse

This is one of those stories that isn’t a story. More specifically the text on the page is not the story. A summary of this would be short, simple, and shallow. The story itself is short and simple, but incredible. I’m sorry I took so long to get to this. This wasn’t a major life changing experience or anything. It was just a very well written story about a very interesting idea. Probably one of the best immortal/cosmic Celestia stories around.

Rain by FlameOfFaith

Simple slice of life of young Twilight Sparkle learning a new spell. Realistic, not exaggerated young Twilight pulled off quite well. The whole thing was very believable, especially Princess Celestia’s thoughts. Though certainly not her as wise immortal. Celestia here is basically just a normal pony trying to deal with the young pony she’s responsible for.


Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Ponies, Reviewers, Reviews


8 responses to “Pony Stories 459

  1. Max

    August 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    “Really, the first part of this one is basically an unrelated story except for it being set in the same world and involves one character from the previous book.”

    While I won’t say anything about the rest of your commentary, I will come out right here to say that you’re, unfortunately, completely wrong about this. All it takes is a read through the comments to see all the connections people have been putting together. Beyond is a full sequel, and the stories are intertwined, as are the casts, but it takes some active reading and effort to put the pieces together (or read the comments and discussions from those who are) to pull together those pieces.

    Saying that the two are unrelated is a gross misconception. I can understand being unhappy that there’s a different cast, or that it wasn’t Rise1.2 (others have expressed those same concerns) but saying that it has nothing to do with the prior story is completely misconstrued statement that flies in the face of everything going on in both works. Missing the forest for the trees, in other words.

    Beyond, like Rise, is a very active read with a lot of moving pieces for the reader to keep track of. If you read through Rise as a passive, then well yeah, you’re going to miss a lot of stuff, and it’s the same for Beyond.

    Again, a lot of the comments show that there are plenty of people who are excitedly putting all the pieces together and finding all the connections. Saying that Beyond and Rise are unrelated to one another just isn’t accurate.

    • Griffin

      August 11, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      First off, gotta remember that these are just what I feel about the story right after putting it down. So it’s just a surface reading of an incomplete story. I totally understand it’s a mostly inaccurate reading of things so far. It just seemed to be the best way to sum up the vague dissatisfaction I was feeling since all the parts were actually pretty good taken on their own. It just, so far, hasn’t connected with the bits in my head that enjoyed the previous story so much.

      A lot of it comes from the fact that it takes a while for my brain to get into gear while reading a story. In the early parts I more or less go with the flow and it’s not until later in a story that I start putting the pieces together in a more coherent fashion. Though I already did see a lot of thematic trends in common with the first story as well.

      Actually, now that I think about it, might be a disconnect in my definition of ‘the same world’. I half-suspect that a lot of the connections in the story are stuff I file under that category. Might have come off as a little more dismissive than I had intended it to sound. I put a lot of thematic and background elements into the ‘worldbuilding’ category. When I say unrelated what I mean is that this story, so far anyway, has yet to directly connect with the character arcs or plot of the previous one. I’ll have to ponder a better way to express the concept in my head, since even that isn’t really very precise.

      So: Yes I’m wrong, but I’ve got reasons behind being wrong that made sense to me at the time?

      • Max

        August 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm

        First, sorry for the delay. My younger brother was visiting for a day and a half, so everything was moving at a rapid pace as I spent time catching up.

        Anyway, I keep forgetting that these are first impression thoughts, so I apologize for any consternation that I might have caused. Being reminded that they are “right then, right there” thoughts definitely throws some context in there that I was forgetting. Again, I apologize.

        Ultimately, in reading your response, it sounds like your thoughts are coming from two areas. The first is that the story is only halfway done at the moment, so you’re comparing a final product (the predecessor) to the in-progress work (the sequel) … which does make it difficult to compare. Rise, after all, started with a lot of character progression and scaled into action, while Beyond starts heavy on the action and scales the other way with development as a response to action … sort of an inverse of what Rise did, and being only halfway through the story, that would make things hard.

        The other is that you’re buzzing through it, and like you said, filing a lot of stuff under “worldbuilding” rather than, like you said, pausing and stopping to see where each piece connects. With that in mind, your stance makes sense (and I would also expect that later things are going to start “clicking” in larger amounts, especially by the end).

        So you’re right, your reasons do make sense. I just came from a different angle. Again, apologies.

      • Griffin

        August 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm

        No worries. I often manage to convince people I put thought into things that just isn’t there.

        And yes, it does seem to be the incomplete versus complete thing. Even though the beginning of the two stories is actually fairly similar. Building a team of exceptional characters to accomplish dangerous things, in the first story it was almost entirely character building, while in this one there is more plot/worldbuilding/etc going on so the character-building has to take a backseat to things. Which is actually proper for a sequel, even though the new characters throw expectations out of wack a little. But you’ve pretty much got where my brain is coming from.

        Yeah, my brain is weird like that. I don’t really examine the books I read all that much. Just my brain tends to put things together a lot of the time. So I buzz through stories and by the end I’ve usually gotten a pretty good idea of everything going on. But it’s much less a rational “I wonder what this means” and more of the occasional flash of “I bet this is what it means” during the story.

        The fun part about being the blog owner is I get to have the last word. After three replies, there is no reply button but I can still go into the dashboard comments page and keep replying with the fancy blog admin tools there.

  2. Present Perfect

    August 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Wow, shit, that’s a lot of reviews. c.c

    • Griffin

      August 11, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      and you are responsible for less than a quarter of them at this point.

  3. Soge

    August 12, 2015 at 9:27 am

    I need to get to those “Dusk Guard” fics. It looks like an interesting series.

    Also, insert obligatory “Over Nine Thousand” reference here.

    • Griffin

      August 12, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      I was trying so hard to not do that myself. The 9k reference, anyway.

      They are good stories. I’m eagerly waiting until the current one is finished.


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