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Minds Eye


Are you not entertained?

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Jul
11th
2015

Minds Eye's Coin Flip Reviews: A Joke Too Far, Song of Thunder, Trust This · 1:12am Jul 11th, 2015

So after a brief mention of this idea in a Skype chat last night, I figured I might as well give this reviewing thing a shot. There’s just one little wrinkle, but it’s rather simple to understand.

After I read a story, I flip a coin. Heads, I write a positive review. Tails, I write a negative one.

Let’s see how convincing I can be…*

Synopsis: Princess Luna meets Princess Cadance for the first time, which leads to a rather large misunderstanding. It seems she believes Celestia is Cadance’s mother, and Cadance can’t resist to opportunity to have a little fun...

Coin says: TAILS

First off, what in the world is going on? While I must admit the cover art posted above provides the answer to that question, the thumbnail version on the story itself is nowhere near as clear. The story attempts to start in medias res, which is all well and good, except for the fact that it takes seven hundred words—nearly a third of the story’s total length—for the reader to understand what ignited the fuse for these “fireworks,” as Cadance puts it.

There is nothing in either the short or long description to help the reader understand what transpired before the story begins. In fact, the first line is thus:

Cadance struggled to hold down her laughter. She bit her bottom lip, her cheeks puffing out as she tried desperately not to lose control in front of her beloved Auntie Celestia and newly-returned Aunt Luna.

Shining Armor joins in Cadance’s mute hysterics soon after. Something has obviously happened, but no effort is made to let the reader share in the characters’ mirth. Arranging things this way senselessly adds a hurdle for the reader to jump before getting the full experience of the story.

But, as I said, the story does continue after the reader is brought up to speed. Unfortunately, it falls apart.

I can’t mince words here. Cadance is completely unlikable in this story. She stirs the pot relentlessly, perpetuating Princess Luna’s confusion and driving a wedge between two sisters reunited for the first time in a thousand years for her personal amusement. So much for being the Princess of Love, capable of bringing two hearts back together with a simple spell. This is not the Cadance we know.

No one is safe in this story. Not only is it clear Shining Armor suffers from Cadance’s bouts of drama-stirring, Celestia soon joins in the act to pull one over on Cadance herself, leaving Princess Luna even further in the dark, and there she stays until well after the story ends. Worse, the ending itself informs the reader that an innocent servant in the castle is about to be drawn into the mess as well.

In the end, the story paints a rather unflattering picture of the Equestrian Royal Family, in which any humor that could be derived from the plot evaporates in the callous disregard Cadance and Celestia show for the ponies closest to them.

Minor issues and nitpicks:

And in front of young Princess Cadence?
Cadance schooled her expression

Confusion as to the spelling of a character’s name has never helped anyone. Please pick one and stick with it.

Celestia’s smile slowly turned shark-like .

Please stop the sentence where the sentence is supposed to stop.

"Oh, don't worry about the scandal!" Celestia kissed the top of her head. "The nobility might raise a bit of a fuss when they find out that I was with my senechal, but Fidelius's skin isn't quite as thick as you think!"

Then by all means, worry about the scandal! If the poor soul’s skin isn’t quite as thick as you think, don’t try to pierce it! Never mind the fact Celestia is trying to drag an innocent servant into this whole mess, the logic of her statement is simply nonexistent.

Final Thought: I agree with the title of this piece. Cut this joke short.

Synopsis: Lyra is a clumsy, socially awkward mare going through life with a few friends and her romance novels to keep her company. Thunderlane is an easy-going stallion who is just at home busting his tail on weather duty as he is resting his head on a cloud. They bond over lunch (after Lyra runs away screaming from him a few times,) and try to take things from there.

Coin says: TAILS

What we have here is an Adventure enthusiast trying to write a Slice of Life/Romance, and you can see those tendencies bleed through a little bit, specifically in Blossomforth, the antagonist of the story.

I’m not even sure this story needed an antagonist. The main conflict comes from within Lyra, her inner struggles with her confidence and her growing trust of Thunderlane. The fact that Blossomforth loves Thunderlane too, creating a triangle in which two of the three sides aren’t even aware they’re part of a triangle, feels like it’s there because... because.

That’s not to say Blossomforth’s role in the story is insignificant—she throws a large obstacle in Lyra and Thunderlane’s way—but the protagonists are never really challenged by her. They don’t make a sacrifice to overcome her plan, or learn anything new about themselves. I fail to see how they grow because of her. In fact, Blossomforth defeats herself with a slip of her tongue during a moment of frustration. Her role didn’t require a living, breathing, intelligent entity to fill it.

In the end, the strongest parts of this story are the scenes between Lyra and Thunderlane. Not surprising, considering the whole thing is about them, but there is a lack of polish that makes me wonder if there was more in this story than there needed to be.

Minor issues and nitpicks: (not extensive)

He shrugged to himself.

Not entirely sure how this happens. Considering Rainbow Dash whaps Thunderlane upside the head in the next paragraph, she saw what he did.

She went to find Cloudchaser and Flitter and the others.

Later on, Rainbow Dash comes back with Cloudchaser, Flitter, and no one else.

I’m not stalking you, I swear!..

I noticed a couple instances in Chapter 2 of only two periods in an ellipsis. Plus, in this example, there’s no separation between the end of a sentence and the pause before the next.

Standing up ,she used her magic to open her door again. She peeked around the corner to find him staring back at her, his expression holding the faintest tinge of hope. “Lyra—“ she continued. “—Lyra Heartstrings.”

Inaccurate comma in the first sentence. At the end, I’m not quite sure how Lyra continues after stopping with the em dash, nor how she interrupts something or pauses again to give her full name.

Final thought: This story has a good list of bullet points, but the threads connecting them aren’t a strong as they could be.

Synopsis: Twilight waits for Applejack to join her at a festival. And waits. And waits. And freaks out until Applejack talks her down.

Coin says: HEADS

Short, sweet, to the point, and it’s so fluffy I’m gonna die.

It doesn’t take Twilight very long to start her freak out, about fifteen minutes of tardiness on AJ’s part. Something that leapt out at me fairly quickly in this bit was Twilight’s use of “Hay” in her inner monologue as an interjection. The story makes it clear that Twilight and AJ have been dating for a bit, and Twilight’s character reflects this. She’s a touch more homey.

Applejack is portrayed as a tried-and-true pillar of support, and she plays the part nicely. She bounces some of Twilight’s qualities at her to bring her down, and in the process, the story gives us some glimpses of how Twilight has been affecting AJ as well.

And... yeah. It’s an adorataining little slice of an evening between lovers. Pinkie Pie agrees.

Minor issues and nitpicks:

Twi’

As often as AJ said it in this story, seeing the apostrophe after Twi got a little awkward. Using one to cut off a G sound is one thing, but an entire syllable strikes me as a bit much.

I’d’ve

Please, please, never do this again. Yes, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this enunciation before, but a three word contraction? No.

You’ve even talked sense into me, and I like to think I’m pretty down-to-earth.”

Smiling, I poked her in the side. “Everypony needs some advice now and then.”

Applejack grinned. “Oh, yeah! How could I forget about that? I think I can practically take all the credit for you learnin’ how to kiss.”

This section of story the line about kissing refers back to is about ten paragraphs up from this. Even if AJ couldn’t forget, I almost did. For a moment, I thought she was realizing she couldn’t forget the very thing she just reminded Twilight of.

Final thought: Cute story, bro. You should tell it at parties.


And with that, I’m done.

I’m not sure if I’ll make this a thing or not. Guess I’ll see how this goes over first.


*I upvoted all three of these stories, even the two with negative reviews. I strongly encourage you to read all of them and exercise a combination of your own tastes, personal enjoyment, and judgment to make up your own goddamn mind.

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