25/25 stories reviewed
Okay, let's see how editing all of my reviews into one post works out. I'll probably hit the character cap, though, making this moot. Oh well.Piece of Mind:
Naturally, when I randomly select a story to start with, the 13k beast is chosen for me. Even after just a few long paragraphs, this doesn’t feel really aimed at the target audience. Like Ezn mentioned above, it doesn’t need to talk down to a child (nor should it) but with detailed descriptives and a large vocab with words like “extricate” and “blithely”, it may not be accessible to a 7yo even if it’s read to them.Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak:
Darn it, author, you are filling me with conflict. I’m loving the idea of embarking into Fluttershy’s mind and encountering different sides of her personality. And even though I’m not finished yet, I’m sure this would do remarkable on FimFic. But I really don’t feel like this is properly aimed. It’s a teeny bit too dark, way too existential, and just so grandiose for the target audience. I’m sorry to harp on that so much.
I spotted the Phoenix Wright and Dr Who references, nice. And the literal baggage is really cute. Argh. Post this on FimFic after the contest and get the viewcount you deserve. I’m just not sure this is the right one for this contest.
And now the second-longest story… my randomizer is the worst. Gah, this one is cute. I like how first RD, then the Princess, then, um, Spot (heehee) is serving as a source of courage. I’m a little bugged by some of the LUS, but the pacing and slight-overtelling of the story feels appropriate for the target audience without being patronizing. D’aww and then it comes full-circle again at the cliff scene! I’m a little torn about Deus Ex Celestia’s inclusion. The always-watching vibe is a nice enough justification, I suppose, especially for a young filly on a dangerous journey, and there’s probably some maternal allegory going on there too. But I instinctively cringe at Celestia hovering above the scene and meddling. Still, Fluttershy was able to make it to the summit on her own, and that’s what’s important. Overall, heartwarming, a good message, feels accessible.Barking Mad:
I’m having trouble putting my finger on the issue here. It seems like it might be overtelling? I know that some stories are laying it on thicker than normal, and that might be okay, but I feel like this one is crossing that line. Lines like:A Zebra in the Bed:
[She] offered a suggestion that might cheer up Sweetie Belle.
“Maybe Scoots will be available! I’m sure the two of ya will find somethin’ fun to do.”
Sweetie Belle cracked a smile, trying to stay hopeful.
Mmm, Screw Loose? I suspected that from the title, but… I’m hesitant about major inclusion of a character from a single scene like that, especially a mental one. I guess for our purposes, I’ll read her as an OC, cuz that’s likely what the target audience will see her as.
The saidism “spoke” is getting used a lot, I’m noticing. Hmm, Rarity ran to get help but she left Sweetie with Screw? :P Overall it’s a cute story about acceptance, though the mental patient themes may make it a tad bit inaccessible and a few mechanical issues get in its way.
Celestia’s Sun. :I Goodness, she bucked the bed? I mean, it explained that she felt her personal space was intruded, and truth be told I’m not sure how I’d react if a stranger was sleeping in my bed, but that just felt like overkill. AB is coming off as nice and cute. AJ I’m split on; if I was imposed upon as much as her, I’d probably be feeling a bit sour too, but I’m not sure if I feel like I should hold her to a higher standard, what with Apple Family hospitality and all that. And AJ is being awfully snippy, like in the glass of water scene. I feel like she can still feel imposed upon without being so hostile about it.Little Pinkie and Madame Pie.:
Oh wait, we’re at the end now… and AJ’s writing the letter? But isn’t that the lesson that Zecora learned? And only because AJ explained her feelings, but not before lashing out? Dunno, that played out a little weird, IMHO. That said, the P.P.S. at the end was a happy little twist that I enjoyed.
The dialogue punctuation threw me until I spotted Ezn’s comment about author being foreign. I guess I haven’t done enough reviews to recognize alternative dialogue punctuations. ^^ Really, though, kudos to the author. If the punctuation had been fixed, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the author’s nationality. This is better than some stories I’ve seen by native speakers. Not flawless—Ezn pointed out a few other revealing points—but you should feel proud.Twilight and the Snow Princess:
The fact that all of Ponyville is out patrolling for Pinkie Pie is a little strange. Since Twilight didn’t explain what was going on, wouldn’t they be asking lots of questions? Especially when she says they may need to capture her if she tries to resist. I was also a little confused by the monster. In Pinkie’s room, she said that it wanted destruction and chaos, but all she was doing was decorating the town, right? Sure, she was using too much paint, but that’s hardly anything to fear banishment over. Overall, it was a nice retelling of Jekyll and Hyde, slightly rough around the edges, but a solid attempt.
A number of punctuation and formatting issues… multiple speakers in the same paragraph, homonym confusion, run-on sentences, and the like. I can understand that story-in-a-story might be a difficult concept for a children’s story, but it was still a little disappointing that the narrator told the Snow Princess story rather than Mom. It’s a sweet enough pony version of The Night Before Christmas, but it doesn’t really seem to stretch beyond that, and a lot of mechanical issues get in the way.Always There in Your Heart:
Simple, sweet, to the point. Introducing four new characters as they suddenly appeared in AB’s dream felt slightly unsatisfying though; I feel like it might’ve been nicer if they had all offered some assurances in the waking world first, so that their reappearance in the dream could pack more punch. But that might risk sending the story off-message. Alternatively, the story could’ve just focused on AB and AJ, and still carried a lot of its weight.A Brand New Canvas:
Celestia’s sun :I Hmm, an OC, first person, a guard pony… considering the target audience, these feel like somewhat risky choices. Mmm, Small Stature is bucking recruits and leaving craters in the wall, and pulling drill sergeant tactics like “don’t speak unless spoken to.” Sorry, I had to skim ahead to the ending. It seems like a nice enough fic, but I’m just not getting the vibe that it’s on-message enough for this event. It’s a bit too brow-beating (granted with a warm payoff at the end) and really banks on the target audience being interested in a fic about boot camp.Lessons in Friendship:
Return of Discord? Going full-on adventure fic. Intriguing. “It seems you have gone and, oops, messed up a summoning spell.” Oh, you. Wait, Screwball? Goodness, people seem to be liking the one-shot characters. Obligatory “target audience won’t know who this is so I’m treating it like an OC” disclaimer. The hoofacure reference is fun, but you’re counting on the target audience having seen that episode. Applejack is one word. Mmm there’s gonna be some Debbie Downer (like meee) who points out that magic and love were indicated to be separate elements in the show, harrumph harrumph. And the ending felt a wee bit… dunno, unfulfilling? There’s this big buildup with Screwball summoning the magic of friendship, and then Discord just sorta poofs and they go out for ice cream the end. Perhaps the falling action is the problem.Winter Lily:
Quibbles aside, I loved it! Parallel action and heartwarming plotlines, some Discord kookiness, the CMC do good by educating Screwball on the Elements via demonstration, and then Screwball puts those lessons to good use to save the day. In a word, delightful.
Hmm, another story about an OC guard. Same warnings as last time: OC may not appeal to target audience, story about a guard may not feel very pony. Well, my initial worries were mostly for naught as this is an entertaining adventure tale. The pony connection for the target audience feels a bit slim at this point but we’ll see. The “filly interrupting the storyteller” bit came out of nowhere and felt unwanted. Maybe if the first one wasn’t over halfway through the story. And then we see who the filly, which I suspected might be the case, but… Eh, this presentation just make the Twilight bit feel tacked on. I feel like it needs more Twilight interruptions, or maybe an intro section with Twi and Shiny, or even ax them altogether (though that would cut down on your main character connection). And the inner story was nice on its own, but it suffered a bit due to lack of tie-in… Bleh, kinda a nasty catch-22. I did like the inner story, at least.Thoughts for the Future:
The beginning is sort of infodumpy. Since Rarity comes along later and asks what’s wrong anyway, wouldn’t it be better for them to talk it out?The Shelter in the Forest:
“…you were trying to save my life, remember?”
“I remember, what about it?”
These lines are unintentionally hilarious.
So it seems like there was supposed to be some sort of parallelism drawn between RD and Rarity, but I didn’t really feel it. RD vented her feelings, Rarity reassured her, and she felt better. Rarity feels some similar feelings of apprehension… and the CMC tackles her and Spike hits on her… and she sluffs off on work because family and friends are more important? And then the narrator tells us what the lesson is, but… Dunno, maybe it’s just me, but I missed the connection between the RD section, Rarity section, and final lesson. Just didn’t feel cohesive enough for me, sorry.
Oh dear, flashbacks of Story of the Blanks. Oy, I know that you prefaced the mushrooms by stating she shouldn’t eat them, but the good lesson about not eating forest shrooms is kinda weakened when AB uses it like a flashlight by… putting it in her mouth. And now we’re talking about eating forest berries, oh those impressionable children D: Well aside from “stop sticking stuff in your mouth”, this was quite enjoyable. Kinda reminded me of a ponified The Hatchet. Putting some survival instincts together with some memories of lessons from her friends was a nice touch. And I did enjoy Scootaloo’s blatant lie, hehe. Overall, a sweet little adventure/survival fic.A Party for kiki:
Mmm. I mean, as a kid, the whole concept of actually getting to meet the characters from your favorite cartoon is great. Reading a story about getting to have adventures with them is great… if the kid or someone close to them had written it. While I’m certain this had the best of intentions, it just feels weird to write Kiki as a character without having a solid grasp on her personality. As such, Kiki is sorta a blank slate character, which in-and-of-itself is fine, but you the author seemed to be really constrained by that. The party—the point where Kiki should be enjoying herself with her favorite ponies—is kept to one vague paragraph, likely because we don’t know her well enough to craft an adventure that we’re confident she’d enjoy. It really leaves it to the reader to fill in the blanks of what fun specifically she had at the party. Sorry, there was good intent here, but I feel like this either needed more research (which wasn’t available to us) or to just be more bold, craft an adventure for her in Ponyville, and gamble that she’d enjoy it.Dear Journal:
This is interesting. Same disclaimers: OC first person journal not the best format for the target audience. This one does an interesting job by tying it to a royal visit and meeting the Mane Six from the outside, so to speak. I could see that potentially working for the target audience, who might feel excited about feeling more knowledgeable than the narrator. Roid Rage? This contest is really drawing out the minor characters! Uh, kinda a downer ending, no? He’s basically thankless, save for Pinkie’s cake, and he has a “forever alone” moment there at the end. That kinda sucks. Um. I am curious about the author’s intent in naming the guards Galahad and Mordred.Born to Scoot:
The title reminds me of Sweetie Belle scooting across the floor. “Ugh, I’m so bored!” Hee. Okay sorry, time to read.Playing Along:
“she picked a cliff that was only a few feet tall.” That’s not really a cliff then, more like a ledge… eh, semantics. I haven’t read a ton of Scootaloo fics oddly enough, but the narrator calling her “Scoot” is coming across as slightly odd. “Rainbow watched her pupil with an ironic sense of pride.” Nope nope nope, I’m not going to bite. If I discuss the usage of “ironic” here, this entire thread will derail. For Kiki’s sake, I must ignore. I was about to call into question your plan of having AB and SB prank DT (it didn’t really seem in-character for them to retaliate) but the Gilligan Cut made it worthwhile. Ah, good. I was worried that the first part of this fic was starting as a fairly standard “Scootaloo tries to learn to fly” fic, but a scooter race against DT is taking it in an interesting new direction, particularly with the stakes. Mmm, the race was a little rushed though; needs more description, excitement, etc. It’s the climax of the story, after all. No, Sweetie Belle, you’re clearly not getting untied so stop asking. Not bad, not bad at all. This took what could be a fairly overdone plot, turned it in perhaps a more realistic angle, and produced a nice little moral.
Two paragraphs in and this is already painfully charming. The jokes might go ever-so-slightly over the target audience’s head (because she’s only this tall, you see) but at minimum it’s a nice parental bonus. Mareibu feels a little out of place in a filly Twilight’s toy collection [Ed. though by the end when her original owner is revealed, I see what you did there], but Ser Charley is an absolute delight, and Smarty Pants has a nice feel too, with the whole “insightful notes” shtick. “Camraderie is mystical” ಠ_ಠ “IwouldlovetogotoPrincessCelestia's…” This is more readable if you use hyphens, and it still conveys the same effect. “I-would-love-to-go-to-Princess-Celestia’s…” “Twilight Tinkle”? Oh no he did not. The streets will run red tonight.Treasure:
Gah, that was just… awesome. I was a bit fearful with the “grow up and discard your toys” theme being a little too close to home for the target audience, but the final scene with Caddee/Caddy (you weren’t consistent) really brought it home. There were a few derps in the last scene like missing words or one of those unhyphenated words so long that it broke the page. But pretty much every scene was saccharine (the Shining Armor scene’s banter was especially cute). Bravo.
Charming start, but this is another fic that worries me with its dependency on show knowledge. If the target audience hasn’t seen Read It And Weep, they have no idea what Dash is talking about here re: Daring Do. It feels like there’s an unfortunate amount of LUS going on, not in the “tut tut this is uncouth” sort of way we usually do around /fic/, but more in the “there’s only two characters here, and they’re different races, yet I’m still having difficulty following the LUS sometimes” sort of way.The girl who loved unicorns:
“The lair of Horse. Untold riches…” This paragraph is supposed to convey what they expect, with the following paragraph indicating that reality was different. This contrast isn’t really as clear as it could be, though, probably because it’s not really until the fourth sentence of the second paragraph that the true state of the room is stated. It’s clear enough for you or I; I’m just concerned about the target audience.
Err, suddenly Trollestia ending? Wait, no, Trolluna. Hmm. Endings like this never really feel satisfying to me, because of how little the story built up toward that particular ending. There was some foreshadowing in the beginning with the fact that this was the Princesses’ castle, so it’s not like Celestia and Luna’s involvement came out of left field, completely. But it’s still the fact that 90% of the story is “Twi and Dash go on a makeshift Daring Do romp”, only for the ending to have Celestia appear and explain how everything was completely wrong and actually was part of a completely different puzzle a la Metal Gear Solid 2. I just prefer a bit more cohesive building and foreshadowing, so that the ending doesn’t feel like such a blindside. Still, this had a fun and energetic adventure through the tomb, and was fun.
Hmm, a story about how another girl went HiE, rather than Kiki herself. That could be an interesting little bit of fantasy, a la “maybe me too!” Minor quibble: the story is framed as a letter addressed to her parents, but if this were to win and become the illustrated story, that might be a slightly odd gap in the premise. “Lara Hendersing”, heehee, I can already see where this is going.Pinkie Pie's Balloons:
Mmm. The premise had potential, but the whole thing felt very rushed. She becomes a fan of the show on her fifth birthday, and almost as soon as we’re introduced to that, she’s forgotten the toy and is a teenager in a rock band. Then she gets hospitalized, and still treasures a toy she hasn’t played with in a decade. Then she presumably goes into a coma or dies (!!!) because instead of in the hospital, she’s suddenly a pony in Equestria. And aside from being turned into a unicorn, not much in conveyed about her new life in Equestria, which is kinda the most exciting part. There’s a good framework here, don’t get me wrong, but the story just needs more meat. Could easily be stretched twice as long.
-_- Clowns… Why did it have to be clowns… Not sure if it’s just me being terrified of the blasted things, but the clown’s silliness is falling a bit flat. This story has some rather strange hidden references in it o_O Nothing wrong with that, just surprising. Mmm, I’m torn on this one. I feel like the repetition of some lines has a nice effect: “zero balloons tied to her tail” was sadder than it had any right to be, and the final repetition of “Is something wrong? You don’t seem too happy.” was a really sweet way to bring it full circle. On the other hand, the five balloons and the repeating structure of giving one away made the ending transparent from the beginning. While I can tell that there’s heart in here, the repetitive structure sorta breaks my immersion, giving me a very “THIS IS A STORY” feel, and it’s hard to connect to that heart. The morale at the end is touching, but I kinda feel like Pinkie’s friends ruin the effect somewhat by overexplaining it and possibly crushing the metaphor in the process. Dunno. Like I said, this had a lot of parts that I liked and a lot of parts that I didn’t.
Remaining reviews at >>1318
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