Banner drawn by my sister, Izanna!
What I see: One normal and completely average morning, everything went wrong. Rarity arrives at the Castle of Friendship to pick up Spike for their weekly gem hunting trip, only to find that Spike has locked himself in his room and Twilight is working herself into a frenzy in the library. As she tries to piece together what happened that morning, and mend a damaged friendship, she'll make a number of startling revelations.
Some of them bigger than others.
Judging by its cover: I always cringe inwardly when I see the words “startling revelations” in the description of a story. Much like how knowing that there’s a twist in a movie can ruin the twist, it’s hard to be “startled” by a revelation when you’re told that startling revelations are to come.
And yes, you can argue that it’s still accurate because it’s the protagonist of the story who is startled rather than the reader, but then you just open the doors for the reader to think that the protagonist is thick for not seeing the painfully obvious revelation that the reader already knows is coming. I understand the need to jazz up your description, but nine times out of ten it’s better just to avoid this whole business of telling your readers about the big twist you have in mind.
Thoughts coming out: A major problem with this story is that the tension feels incredibly forced. Basically, the premise is that Spike has suddenly grown to the size of a teenaged dragon, and no one knows why. But he’s not hoarding anything and his personality is exactly the same, so there seems to be no reason to fret. And everyone (that is, Twilight, Spike, and Rarity) seems to know this. But they’re all freaking out and it isn’t until Rarity shows up that any attempt at calming down is made. This gets lampshaded when Zecora shows up mid-way through the story:
"The atmosphere here is quite tense. Come now, such worry makes no sense! There is nothing to fear from your beloved charge. It is a simple reason for why he has grown so large."
“Holy crap, you guys need to relax; you’re acting like someone sent you anthrax. Just sit down and chill; stop being such a joy-kill.”
Anyway, what follows is the revelation that Spike grew to fulfill a desire to seem mature enough to court Rarity’s attention (yeah, big surprise, I know) as Rarity grapples with the question of whether to put his crush to rest at last or if he actually is mature enough to give a shot (I think you can guess what her ultimate answer is). I will give the author credit here, because that inner monologue is played surprisingly convincingly and makes the second half of the story much more believable than the first. That said, it’s still rife with romantic cliché and questionable behavior.
Who would like this: Sparity fans will eat this up, but otherwise there’s not much to take out of this one.
What I see: The princesses want to share a rare honor with Twilight and her friends. They will all journey to an ancient monastery where they can get in touch with new powers gifted to them by the Tree of Harmony. Unfortunately, to attend the monastery, Twilight and her friends must shave their manes and tails. Rarity cannot perform such an dreadful act without spending an evening saying her final farewells.
Judging by its cover: That’s got to be simultaneously the funniest and most disturbing cover image I’ve seen in ages.
Thoughts coming out: This one would make for a fantastic dramatic reading, because it has that perfect combination of total sincerity, serious prose, and underlining humor that every overly dramatic interpretation of a comedy needs. The comedy is pretty low-key, and the story is a little slow to start off, but the premise is played to its full comedic potential with the prose is just pitch-perfect for what this story sets out to accomplish. Additionally, the ending doesn’t cheapen the premise, something I was afraid would happen as I was reading it.
Who would like this: I definitely recommend this for comedy fans. The humor isn’t exactly laugh-out-loud worthy, though I was giggling at various points throughout. It’s a sincere story that knows how to make the most of its premise.
What I see: Rainbow Dash introduces Applejack to parkour. Racing to see who the better athlete is, they discover something else in the process.
Judging by its cover: I don’t know if I see AJ as a parkour girl. She seems too practical-minded to seriously consider jumping off walls.
Thoughts coming out: So we open with:
“It’s a good thing you’re from the Earth Tribe, A.J, because you’re about to eat my dirt.”
…And then the Fire Nation attacked.
Anyway, besides some bizarre terminology (“Sky Tribe” is also thrown around a lot, and the comparison to Avatar: The Last Airbender seems more apt than I realized, given that everyone apparently has special elemental powers), the story is rather slow to start, dropping the obvious shipping cues with parkour not even being explained or demonstrated until almost half-way through the story.
A light ignited within Dash’s eyes, her fervor apparent in every step she took, her passion plain in the slight tremor in her voice. “With parkour, I’m in complete control of my body. Every step, every dive, every swing flip or jump, it’s all me, A.J. I know I could get hurt, I know I could, but you haven’t felt the rush. As long as I’m absolutely perfect, as long as my execution is flawless, I’ll be fine.”
And now I remember why people who do parkour annoy the crap outta me.
Anyway, running, jumping, shipping, yadda yadda yadda. You get the picture. And boy does the romance come out of left field here. I mean, you know it’s coming, but you’re still left thinking, “Wait, just like that? What?”
Who would like this: Even for AppleDash fans, I know you can do a lot better than this.
What I see: After the destruction of the corrupt 'Order' along with their evil plans, and obtaining Yamato from the demon hunter named Dante, Nero attempts to settle down into something comparable to a 'normal' life. Yeah right, like that was ever going to happen.
When Dante got his buisness back on the road again, he hoped that the trade he relied on so heavily wouldn't disappear completely. A part of him knew that the whole 'Power of Sparda' thing was not quite over yet, and that a new battlefield would open up at some point. But what that particular part of him didn't know was where or when this next fight would occur...
Now not only do both of them have to fight demons again, they have to do it in a world filled with magical talking ponies. Oh yeah, now this is going to be fun!
Judging by its cover: Sorry, all I read in the description was “blah blah blah video game stuff blah blah ponies”. I know of Devil May Cry, but I sure as hell don’t know anything about it.
Thoughts coming out: Oh yay, a protagonist who’s a total dick. The very epitome of a SQUID, right here. Maybe it’s faithful to the game. Hell if I know.
Who would like this: Obviously, I have no way of knowing if this is faithful to the source material. All I know is that I didn’t know what was going on, didn’t really care, and the writing did nothing to impress me.
What I see: Discord apparently has an opposite who happens to be his brother, Order, who is invited to the anniversary of Discord's reforment. Order may or may not ensue
Judging by its cover: Seems like an intriguing enough concept. Sure, why not?
Thoughts coming out: Alright, so we start with Order riding the New York Subway (…sure) when he gets the letter telling him that Discord is reformed. The execution ain’t much, but there’s at least an interesting idea here–
The man’s eyes widened. His brother had been reformed into a much better person? Well that is certainly wonderful news. But this letter was written by a pony. That means they defeated him somehow. He stared at the other item in his briefcase, a p08 Luger. He had purchased it from a friend, and what a friend he was. I suppose I’ll need this in case anything starts to get a little out of order, I don’t want another one of Discord’s incidents to come and bite me in the ass.
Um… okay? This just got dark in a hurry.
So apparently Order wants to restore Discord because… Chaos needs Order? Whatever that means? I don’t know…
Who would like this: It’s an amateur work, so I can’t be too hard on it, but it could have used a bit more consideration as to the protagonist’s motivation. There’s an interesting idea somewhere in here, but it could use more work to bring it out.
What I see: The good news: Twilight now has a narrator for her life.
The bad news: He's an asshole.
Judging by its cover: Ah, the classic meta humor premise. Let’s see how this goes…
Thoughts coming out: So this piece opens with an author’s note:
Trigger Warning: I don't care if you're triggered. But if you're the type who can get their panties in a twist over a story about cartoon ponies, then I suggest you clear out now.
oh noes my 1 weaknesss!!!! wat will i do nao?
Anyway… meh, you’ve all seen this before. Narrator makes havoc of character’s life, randomness ensues. Nothing particularly original here, and the comedy is only so-so. Frankly, if you’re gonna do this premise, I want to see something more along the lines of The Stanley Parable, in which a character has to decide whether to resist the narrator or not. That could make for an interesting fic.
Who would like this: Eh, random comedy fans might like it, but you can do a lot better than this.
What I see: You are Ted, a human who has been trapped in Equestria for a while now. Under the advice of your pony friends, you've come along to join them in one of Pinkie's summer beach parties. While the ponies play their games, you were just planning on simply relaxing and enjoying the rays of the sun. But after watching the ponies play under sun in swimwear, some mixed emotions are brought out inside you. Have you been trapped so long in this world that you were starting to find your pony friends attractive?
Things get even more complicated for you when a pony you were not expecting showed up beside you. And she asks for a favor of you that you'd never thought you'd hear: help her put on her sunscreen.
But she's Princesses Celestia! The goddess of the sun! Why would a goddess like her need sunscreen?
Judging by its cover: Oh, that’s an easy question. See, Princess Celestia suffers from a rare skin condition that makes her particularly vulnerable to sunburn. Haven’t you ever noticed how pale she is?
…Or she just wants some sexy times with a human. That too.
Thoughts coming out: Wow, like… nothing happens here. Anon– sorry, Ted– sorry, “you” are invited to a beach party, sit down, apply sunscreen to Rarity and then Celestia, and in the process “you” realize you’re sexually attracted to ponies. And that’s it.
That’s it. That’s literally it.
Also, does it really make sense to do a second-person fic like this, where supposedly it’s “you”, and then give “you” a specific name? Even if it’s something as generic as Ted, it kind of defeats the point, doesn’t it?
Who would like this: Nah, don’t bother.
(Don't worry, there's nothing too explicit posted below, and no direct links to mature content are provided. But fair warning if you tend to avoid this stuff.)
No Plan Survives Contact by ClanCrusher
What I see: The plan was supposed to be simple. Feed some idiot nobles a centuries old law about harems and they'd jump at the chance to dethrone her. In a couple years it would be overturned and she'd be a princess again after a nice long break. Unfortunately, Twilight failed to account for a devious sun princess, her perverted lunar sister, and five determined well-meaning friends intent on building her the Best. Harem. Ever.
Judging by its cover: Uh-huh. Let’s just get this over with.
Thoughts coming out: Meh, this one wasn’t so bad, mainly because the whole premise is played for laughs more than anything else, which instantly made it much more bearable than I had been expecting. Really, if the first chapter is anything to go by, this should be treated more as a comedy than a clopfic.
That said, it’s hardly what I would consider a good story. Though there are a couple of clever jokes early on, the comedy fails to reach something really worthwhile. That, plus nearly the entire second half of the first chapter (which is over nine thou– err… almost ten thousand words long) is one long stretch of meandering side-story that is all but pointless to the main plot.
Who would like this: Even if you can get over the premise (I know I could), this one is just too unfocused and the comedy too light to make this one worth your while.
Pinkie Pie Impregnates Ponyville or “Satyriasis” by Appleloosan Psychiatrist
What I see: Whoops. Looks like Twilight Sparkle messed up a spell and Pinkie Pie ended up with a little something extra. Now, Pinkie is looking at her friends in a whole new light and is more than happy to get a little closer to each one of them.
Judging by its cover: oh gee look another futa fic wow what a shock
Thoughts coming out: Well, this fic doesn’t waste time; we literally open with Pinkie banging Twilight. No semblance of relationship building here. I gotta at least give the author some credit for cutting to the chase; if you don’t care about the relationship of the characters or the scenario beyond them mindlessly fucking, there’s no point in pretending.
Something I found funny was that most of the typical terms for “penis” don’t get thrown around in here, at least not until really late in the chapter. “Penis”, “dick”, and “man/stallionhood” are never used, and “cock” doesn’t get used until maybe three-quarters of the way through the first chapter. I note this because for a while, Pinkie’s new appendage is only referred to as “it” or “that thing”. I don’t know whether it’s bashfulness on the part of the author (though I sorta doubt it) or just lazy writing, but I found it oddly endearing. I guess after reading so many clopfics with characters yelling “Yeah, ram your rock hard dick into my pussy! Oh, fuck me! Fuck my pussy!” I found this tip-toeing around referring to “it” to be a refreshing change of pace.
Who would like this: At the end of the day, it’s still a crummy futa fic. Take that for what you will.
Getting School’d by TittySparkles
What I see: School sucks. Most ponies know this and most ponies dread going back to school at the end of summer. Of course for some, school is simply a place where being adventurous with sexual partners can be rewarding and kinky. For one certain mare named Scootaloo, along with one of her classmates, both ponies decide to get down and dirty on school property.
Judging by its cover: What can I say about TittySparkles’ writing? Well, not much that I haven’t already said before. It’s some of the most soulless clop you’ll ever find, in which ponies aren’t so much characters but rather lusty bags of meat, completely interchangeable so as to fit the flavor of the day. And while that’s not entirely unusual among clop, what makes TittySparkles’ writing unique (at least in my book) is that it also has strong technical construction, which lends a cold, dry sterility to stories supposedly about ponies in the throes of passion. Clop at its most technically skilled but emotionally impotent.
Thoughts coming out: As I was saying…
Who would like this: Frankly, this character doesn’t bear even a passing semblance to Scootaloo, so if for some reason your interest in the story had to do with who was in it, don’t even bother.
Living with the Night by Silentpegasus
What I see: It has been three months since Tirek's rampage through the small town of Ponyville. Connor Rowe, one of the few humans living in Equestria recieves a new and royal roommate. Can he handle the Princess of the Night or will he be forever lost in darkness?
Judging by its cover: “Connor Rowe”. Sounds like someone’s porn name, if we’re following the traditional “pet name + street you grew up on” formula.
Thoughts coming out: My god, this one drags. The first chapter is mostly tedious exposition, the second chapter has a lot of random developments, and the third chapter left a bad taste in my mouth. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic (which goes double for every male character in Ponyville), the references to Earthly things feel really forced, and the whole thing is just boring as heck.
Who would like this: Maybe anthro or HiE fans, but seriously, there’s no point.
“I have come at the behest of my sister to instruct thee in the ways of perversion and pony pleasure!”
- No Plan Survives Contact