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Pony Stories 525

07 Dec

Favorite costumes from the Fluttershy Nightmare Night episode are the Changeling, Sailor Moon, and Ditzy as Princess Twilight. Including a cardboard tube for the horn.

One longer review today. The reviews are going to be a little light in the days to come. I’ve taken the plunge and am going to read about Rainbow Dash flying east. Already finished the first one and into the second. However, since all the completed stories add up to around 4 Fallout: Equestrias (or 2.5 million words) it’s going to take a while. I read today’s review story in a break from the first book, and will probably do that again to peck at shorter works here and there. However I won’t be binging on a half-dozen ponyfics at a time.

Because I know many of the people who visit here are writers, wanted to point this out because I just found out about it. More books on writing than you can shake a stick at! Story bundle for Nanowrimo.

  • The Traveling Tutor and the Royal Exam by Georg

The Traveling Tutor and the Royal Exam by Georg

I did not enjoy this one quite as much as the first story in this series. It was just as good, for the most part, but didn’t come together quite as smoothly. Had funny moments, sweet moments, oddly enough I wouldn’t say there was all that many romantic moments. I think my main complaint is that the story was a series of barely connected hijinks and complications. None of them were plot devices. You could see the cause and effect of just about everything. It was just that a lot of the events and actions of the story weren’t actually all that connected to each other. There wasn’t any real thematic through-line for the story. Which is not to say there wasn’t themes. Just that most of the events seemed disconnected.

Following my rule of thumb, which is to see how much work it would take to remove one element and still have the same basic story, this one pretty much falls apart. You could easily remove all the Changeling stuff and barely have to change a thing. The stuff with the Gryphons would be harder, but in a way they were more the end of his Nocturne series and characters. You could have substituted another crisis for them and this story would be more or less the same.

My other complaint is that it takes the playfully manipulations of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to a somewhat absurd degree. I’m all for the princesses to know a lot about what’s going on and have a subtle hoof in how things turn out, but in this story it was basically they were omniscient and everything happened exactly how they wanted. Not literally, otherwise there would be no conflict, but it really did seem to push the idea that they were pretty much infallible. A bit of playful one-upmanship from another character would have been nice.

The story also had a lot of references to other fanfics. Most of them were subtle, and I never complain about references to the civil service ponies, but I think it added to the general unfocused feel I had while reading. It doesn’t help immersion if the story pushes your attention to some other story while you are reading.

Not that any of that is a dealbreaker. If you enjoyed the previous stories you’ll enjoy this one. It just didn’t have the same spark for me. Part of that has to be my current depression, which makes it harder to enjoy things, but I can’t put all the blame on that.

On the other hand this story did do a better job with some of the things I complained about. Primarily it did a lot better at giving the rest of the mane six screentime. None of them were more than secondary characters, but they were nicely characterized and each had plenty of moments to be themselves ‘on camera’ as it were. With parts that made sense and worked in the flow of the story. So in that case the somewhat looser focus compared to the first story was a good thing.

I think my last point is that there didn’t really seem to be much character development. Our main characters are pretty much the same. The secondary viewpoint character, the scheduling assistant we get quite a bit of time following around, had character growth but we didn’t really get to see it. Not exactly happening off-screen, but it was more like an actor being told to play the part of someone with racist beliefs and then slowly letting that slip out of the character. There was never any real feeling that he had character growth because anytime his opinion changed on something it felt less like a personal epiphany and more like an excuse for him to drop the silly notions the plot wanted him to display. Which isn’t saying it right either. But I hope it at least conveys that I found his arc to be a weak point of the story. Though as a character I did enjoy him. Just could have used a little more contrast and conviction I think.

So, story needed to be a little tighter focused, secondary characters were good but could have used better character development, good characterization of the canon characters, and the Gryphon emperor stuff really should have had it’s own story over on the Nocturne side of his AU.

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Posted by on December 7, 2015 in Ponies, Reading 2015, Reviews

 

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