Just finished Memoirs of a Royal Guard. My beginning thoughts (inital thoughts really, but wrote them down at the halfway point) can be found in yesterday’s post.
- Memoirs of a Royal Guard by Anzel
Review of first attempt to read the story (turns out the story was better than I thought that first time)
I enjoyed it. Started rough, but got better. Never really got to amazing though. I think… I think I liked Crystal Wishes more and/or I think it was the better story. Hard to say which honestly. As mentioned my reaction to that story was all over the place. This was a much more… I want to say typical, fanfic, but in a way that isn’t negative. The focus was different than the other stories of the AU I’ve read too. Encounters in those stories are glossed over or skipped past in this one, likewise events that have both characters show up here but not in the others. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read this one first, then branched out to the rest of the AU. Which is another thing that I noticed. This story is much more a Alternate Universe than the other ones (of this AU) I’ve read. I didn’t notice anything in the other stories that would set it apart from, shall we say, standard Equestria? In this one we get glimpses of history and backstory and it’s made clear that Cadance is a unicorn and that at one point Princess Luna may have been a unicorn as well.
I still think the AU would work a lot better as original fiction, but I can understand that making the shift would be near impossible. Building a fanbase of pony fanfic fans means you are kind of stuck with. Not that the authors seem to be tired. Just my normal compliant of human-style body language and movement. There is a brief fight scene where Silent Knight punches someone in the gut and then sweeps their legs out from under them with one of his legs. Not really easy a maneuver for four-legged ponies. Plus the stories don’t take a lot of what I consider the cool bits of Pony into account. Weather control is sort of sidelined, the stories I’ve read focus mostly on Unicorns with a side of Pegasus and the occasional Earth Pony. Which adds to the usual ‘Unicorns are awesome because they have magic’ sort of deal. Heck, there is almost no flying for our main character who is a Pegasus.
Which are all minor quibbles that boil down to the usual complaint of ‘The author is not writing their stories to my exact tastes’. This wasn’t bad and had good bits. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting a bit of slice-of-life with a few sprinkles of adventure here and there. It does not surprise me that this has gotten fairly popular and the only complaint is the one I have about popular things that don’t match my tastes exactly.
So I’d recommend it to someone of specific matching tastes. I kind of want to re-read Crystal’s Wishes, but I’m not sure I’ll ever want to re-read this one. Yet I do plan to read the next completed story in this series because I want to know about the mythos stuff about alicorns and empty hidden cities. As for the characters… Eh, I might have more investment in what happens to them if I didn’t already know everything is more or less going to turn out fine. Genre and themes of the stories kind of work against building tension.
(part two: the bit from another text document I forgot about)
The thing that bugged me, trivial really, is that the character arc of the main character seemed a bit disconnected. It was handled well for the most part. Just… A little off. Like we start with him at the beginning and he changes over time, even in response to events, but we never actually see the moment of change. Like an event happens, then afterward he is acting differently. We get very few actual ‘ah-ha’ or ‘hmmm’ moments from him about the changes he goes through. It still works for the most part. Just had me a little off-kilter for much of the first half of the story.