Banner drawn by my sister, Izanna!
What I see: One day, Rainbow Dash notices something about Sunset Shimmer: she only eats salads, fruit, and non-meat products. So she decides to dare the former pony to try a meat product the next day at lunch. Little do they know what's on the menu that day...
Judging by its cover: Yes… little do they know what what’s on the menu!
…Wait, no, that doesn’t sound right.
Thoughts coming out: So, this immediately goes into a flashback where, post-Equestria Girls, human Rainbow Dash is pointing out that human Sunset Shimmer never eats meat. Rarity and Fluttershy are quick to defend Sunset, pointing out that there’s lot of vegetarians in the school and Sunset can do whatever she damn well pleases. Frankly, I don’t see what Dash’s problem is here–
Sunset's eyes narrowed as she unwrapped her fork and knife. “There's something else going on here, isn't there? Why do you find me eating lettuce objectionable now?”
That was the cue for Rainbow Dash to lean back, cross her arms, and stare at the dimples in the ceiling. “Remember when we were going to order that barbecue pizza, but had to just order mushrooms and onions from Torgo's because that was all you would eat?” Everybody nodded. “Or when we were going to spin by Oaf Burgers, and couldn't because they had no salad for you?” Another nod. “Or that time we were going to go to the beach, and had to spend an extra five hours on the road because you couldn't stand to drive by a slaughterhouse and we had to avoid the fastest way there?”
Yeah, you know what, even if she is being unnecessarily aggressive, I can actually see Dash’s side of this. When one side of a friendship is making all the sacrifices, that’s going to raise some ire. I doubt that’s what the author intended to convey, but that’s what I got out of it.
So, thus challenged by Dash, Sunset gets some meat from the cafeteria, tries it, likes it, and then finds out that it’s… well, I’m pretty sure you can guess what it is.
Who would like this: Despite what it appears to be on the cover, this one isn’t much of a comedy. There are a couple of jokes in here, but it’s really more of a slice of life fic with a pro-vegetarian bent. So take that for what it’s worth.
What I see: When Twilight is accused of nepotism, her friends rush to her defense! Sortof.
Judging by its cover: Sortof, huh? What am in for here?
Thoughts coming out: I got some mighty good chuckles out of this one, I must say. Basically, the premise here is that Twilight is accused of only becoming a princess because of her connections with Celestia. What follows is Twilight’s dawning horror that it’s not what you know, but who you know that matters in Equestria, a fact that her friends are already aware of and fairly comfortable with (partly because they’re clearly benefiting from it). Hence begins Twilight’s quest to demand true equality, which quickly ends in miserable failure.
Who would like this: While there is definitely a cynical overtone to this piece, there are still some really solid jokes that come out of it, and it actually manages to hold back from full-out character assassination, which is surprising given its premise. If you’re willing to forego a more… well, “realistic” isn’t really the word, so let’s say “subtly grim” outlook on Equestria, there’s some good comedy in here to be enjoyed. Just don’t read too deeply between the lines.
What I see: When Cadence told Celestia she was having twins, the princess of the sun wanted to be happy for her. She tried very hard to be happy for her, but she couldn’t. Celestia knew that it was inevitable, but hearing that Cadence was having foals drove a dagger of jealousy through her heart, for she is able to have something that Celestia can never have.
Judging by its cover: Eh. This one sounds like it’s going to be really overbearing, but I’m holding out hope that I’m wrong.
Thoughts coming out: Yeah, this one is pretty aggressively mopey for my tastes. The premise is trying much too hard to tug at the heartstrings, and the prose tends to be pretty tell-y, leaving little to subtlety. There is a nice bit of sisterly bonding between Luna and Celestia, but this one falls into a lot of the traps that sad fics tend to succumb to.
Who would like this: Those who really enjoy sad fics might like this one, but otherwise this one is just too blunt with its emotions to make much of an impression.
What I see: Look, I heard you the first time! Yeesh, I wish you'd stop staring at me, as if you're reading my thoughts. 'Cuz if you could, then you'd know that while this is the first thing I'd want to do, it's also the last! I mean, horseapples, things would be a heck of a lot easier if I'd known ahead of time that Twilight and the rest of the girls had only packed three sleeping bags instead of six for this mountain hike! For realsies, if you had any friggin' clue how many restless nights I've spent thinking about you, fantasizing situations like this, then you'd know... you would freaking know how impossible it is for me to actually... sh-share a sleeping bag with my totally not-sexy-in-any-way best friend... (*ULP*) ... overnight... s-so that we could keep our bodies warm in the cold, cold forest. Grnnnng! Alright... alright! I'll do it! Of c-course I'll do it! I'm awesome! I'm not afraid of anything! Okay... I can do this... I can totally do this... I can... I can... I-I...
Judging by its cover: skirts.
skirts, wat are you doing.
skirts, please stahp.
Thoughts coming out: This one is pretty unusual from a technical viewpoint. It’s first-person perspective, except that Applejack is referred to as “you”.
Let me explain that again, just so that I’m clear about this: It’s not second-person perspective, but “you” are Applejack.
It’s… interesting, and I give props to skirts for trying such an unusual approach. But it’s also rather unintuitive, and I’m not sure what is gained from it. If “I” am present in the scene, then why do I have the intimacy of knowing another’s thoughts? It’s also present tense, so it doesn’t have the air of someone telling me a story after the fact, but rather telling me what they’re thinking in real time. Maybe when the description says “as if you’re reading my thoughts,” I’m supposed to think along those lines quite literally.
Or perhaps my issue lies not with the technique, but what is gained by it. Because Rainbow Dash in this story is really bordering on… obsessive. What’s weird about this one for me is that the more Dash elaborates on what Applejack– or, rather “you” mean to her (and believe me, she does plenty of that), the less it feels like romance and more like lust. And because it’s being told through intimate first-person perspective directly addressed to “me,” it makes me feel rather uncomfortable. Imagine someone who you’ve never had any attraction towards suddenly crushing on you and openly telling you all their deepest secrets, and all you can do is stand there and awkwardly take it. That’s this story.
I mean, geez, just look at this:
But even while I'm thinking this, I feel you reach over... reach over me.. and oh goddess rich sweat and apples and buttermilk pancakes and zippppppp goes the cold-as-ice metal teeth, locking us in, locking me in this prison... this heaven-prison with you. With you. I am sleeping with you. Omigosh omigosh omigosh pinch me great glowing squirrel god of the cosmos this is actually happeniiiing.
“Uh… listen, that’s nice and all, but… Well, it’s just that… you’re not exactly my type.”
Also, this is a minor point, but when you do a title drop, are you supposed to capitalize it even if it makes no sense to do so?
"Are y'all even hearin' yerself? Enough with this hoo-ha, Rainbow!" You frown. You frown at me. Good gosh, I've never been so ashamed and so turned on all at once. It almost prepares me for the authoritative bark that follows, shaking me down to the very base of my spine. "Just Quit Yer Fussin' and Snuggle Up, Sugarcube!" And, in the next blink, your frowning face melts into a motherly gaze of concern. "I'll be darned if my loyalest and most dependable friend freezes her tail off. Now get over here, please?"
Who would like this: Of course, the way-too-intimate-for-me approach in this story is probably exactly what shippers, and AppleDashers in particular, are always craving. If you fall into that category, this will probably be right up your alley. If not, it’s still interesting for its technical approach, although if you’re not interested in the premise you might just want to skip it anyway for its lengthy prose.
What I see: Natural selection. It is the byword of every changeling queen who has ever lived. The chief resource that has always curbed the hives' growth used to be love. Now though, with Queen Twilight Sparkle's bloodline capable of producing love on their own, the old guard of changeling morality has seen fit to acquire this ability for the next generation before removing all of their future royal daughters' competitors.
Some queens are far closer to this goal than others.
Judging by its cover: So this appears to be a sequel to something that was in the feature box a week or two ago, but which I missed, though I gather it has to do with Twilight Sparkle being a changeling queen. Let’s see how this goes.
Thoughts coming out: Hookay, yeah, I’m lost. This is one that definitely expects you to have read the prequel. This is one of those heavily AU stories that deal a lot with militarized forces, politics, and assassination plots. Which is fine and all, but definitely not my speed.
Who would like this: If you were a fan of Aegis of the Hive (the prequel to this), then you’ll probably like this. Otherwise, you’re probably going to have trouble getting into this one.
What I see: Rainbow Dash means the world to Scootaloo, who wants nothing more than to spend every day with her surrogate sister, learning from the best and being awesome together. Yet all that is about to end, possibly forever, and Scootaloo knows there's nothing she can do about it.
The only thing left to do is say goodbye... but that's proving far harder than she ever imagined.
Judging by its cover: I’ve heard good things about this fic, so I’ve got my hopes up going in.
Thoughts coming out: This one’s pretty solid, all things considered. Although, I have to be honest, I found the late reveal of what’s up with Rainbow Dash (which happens maybe two-thirds of the way through the fic) rather maddening, even if it suddenly caused nearly everything to make perfect sense. There’s that point where it just feels like you’re dancing around the crucial piece of info that explains every character’s motivation and interaction, and you’d rather just know it and be done with the increasingly forced suspense that have to deal with more drama you don’t really understand.
That being said, the reveal does prove satisfying, which makes me mostly forgive the delay. It’s a solid premise, and though the character voices don’t always sound quite right to me (Fluttershy in particular seemed off to me), on the whole this actually came across as surprisingly believable. Which is actually saying something, given how easy it can be to make emotions in a story like this feel overly forced. This fic toed that line, but managed to hold back from crossing it.
Who would like this: I’d say Scootaloo fans first and foremost, although those who enjoy lightly sad fics or are okay with teenage angst in general will likely enjoy it as well. If you have low tolerance for angst, I’d recommend skipping this one.
What I see: Spike the dragon has a lot of free time on his claws these days, and has to fill that time with something, right? And where is he getting all these bits from?
Twilight finds out just what he's been doing, and she is not pleased.
Judging by its cover: Alright, I’m intrigued.
Also, how come RainbowBob gets a special surprise in the description and I don’t? :(
Thoughts coming out: This one’s actually kinda funny. Really absurd and not just a little creepy, but still kinda funny. Basically, the premise is that all the stallions of Ponyville, and quite a few beyond, are reading clop comics drawn by Spike.
This one isn’t exactly kind to its characters, but it still manages to get some solid jokes in there. And it does manage to poke a little fun at clop while it’s at it.
Who would like this: It’s nothing amazing, mind you… in fact, objectively speaking, it’s pretty lousy. But it’s short and it gets a couple good jokes in, so if you’re not put off by the premise (and to be fair, a lot of people would be put off by that premise), I can think of many worse ways to kill some time.
(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.)
Storytime by 314
What I see: Rainbow comes down for a story and gets quite a bit more than she expected.
Triggers: Foalcon, Raincest is wincest
Judging by its cover: Eeeecch. Foalcon. Alright, be brave, man, be brave…
Actually, before I jump in, can I take a moment to complain about the trigger warning here? You can’t just slap ‘wincest’ after everything. ‘Incest’ and ‘twincest’ rhyme with ‘wincest,’ which is why people started doing that. But ‘raincest’? The fuck is that? That shit don’t rhyme.
…What? I take my incest very seriously, you know.
Thoughts coming out: What the... wait, no, I don't– WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA–
Nope. Nope nope nope.
No. We’re not talking about this. Nope. Not happening.
Who wou– I SAID NO.
Twilight thought about that for a moment. “But... what about existential fulfillment?” she asked.
“We’ll also go out for hayburgers after.” Rainbow Dash added. “Those are pretty filling.”
-Twilight Sparkle vs Social Inequality