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Titanium Dragon


TD writes and reviews pony fanfiction, and has a serious RariJack addiction. Send help and/or ponies.

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Aug
10th
2015

Read It Later Reviews #25 – Rarity’s Rodeo, Dangerous, 100th Day, She’s Dazzling, Naked Lunch · 10:53pm Aug 10th, 2015

I wrote a piece of original fiction over the weekend – the first such piece I’ve written since late 2013. I had some fun writing it, and I think I shall be doing more of it and see how it goes.

But don’t think that means I’m giving up on ponies. Original fiction is business. Ponies? Are fun.

Speaking of fun, I reviewed five more stories, including one that really impressed me.

Today’s stories:

Rarity’s Rodeo by Somber
Dangerous by totallynotabrony
100th Day by Exelion
She’s Dazzling by ellie_
Naked Lunch by Estee


Rarity’s Rodeo
by Somber

Romance, Slice of Life
10,247 words

Once upon a time there was a slumber party. Once upon a time, a pair of friends gave each other a dare: one to enter the local rodeo when it came to town, the other not to enter. Applejack turns out to be quite happy with fulfilling her part of that challenge, but what about Rarity? Is she willing to rise up, climb on to a sweaty, icky beast, and risk her beautiful hide all for the respect of her friends? What about her own self respect? And what will it mean for the relationship between the two?

This time, it's Rarity's Rodeo.

Why I added it: It was recommended to me by Present Perfect. And it is RariJack.

Review
When the rodeo comes to Ponyville, Applejack holds Rarity to the bet Rarity made in Look Before You Sleep: Applejack wouldn’t enter the rodeo, and Rarity would do so in her place. Rarity is planning on merely entering, but after Applejack notes how disappointed she would be in a pony who didn’t even try, Rarity decides that she must enter.

Written back in season 1, this story is written very much in the style of the show – and when I say that, I mean it quite literally. The story is written as if it were an episode of the show, with lots of descriptions of various events happening, flash cuts between all of Rarity and Applejacks’ friends both at the fair and during a training montage sequence, an adversary at the rodeo (along with three helpers), lots of visual gags…

And not much regard for medium displacement. The story is 10,000 words long in part as a result of these descriptions, but a lot of the descriptions of funny things happening – visual gags which would work decently in the show – end up falling kind of flat as they’re described to the audience rather than show to us visually. The story as a whole is very much focused in the ways an episode would be, and while it does have a fair bit of internal dialogue from Rarity the story often reads a lot like an episode of the show would if someone was describing it out loud.

As a shipfic, this story features Rarity and Applejack deciding that they like each other, noting various things they have in common. I wasn’t super happy with Applejack’s monologue at the end about why they wouldn’t work out in some ways, but it was decent enough in others, and all-in-all, the attraction was explained reasonably enough, though it had a slightly cursory feel to it somehow, possibly because it probably could have been removed from the story and replaced with more organic feelings of respect and the story still would have worked – maybe even worked better, as it would have cleaved more closely to the show.

All in all, it isn’t bad, but it shows its age, and I never really could get into it properly due to the writing style.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.


Dangerous
by totallynotabrony

Slice of Life
5,806 words

Most folks in town know about Longbow, even if not many really know her. She's somepony parents teach their foals to avoid. Everypony understands that she's dangerous.

Everypony except Twilight, who just moved to town.

Why I added it: The Royal Guard queue.

Review
Twilight meets Rainbow Dash at the local Hay Burger for lunch, and while there notices a sharp-eyed pony who sits off on her own. After nearly stepping on Longbow while walking along a nearby hill, Twilight gets increasingly curious about the former soldier, but everyone seems to be scared of her because she was ex-military and had a disconcerting way about her.

The moral of the story is “Military veterans are people like everyone else, and many of them are lonely and have trouble transitioning back to ordinary life,” but not only does the story act pretty telly (and heavy-handed) about the moral, but Longbow – the OC veteran – is pretty bland as a character. I never got a voice in my head for the character, and she never really stood out in any particular way – she felt very generic, I didn’t get much emotion out of her, and she didn’t really do anything distinctive and was defined by what she was rather than who she was. And that, I think, kind of undercuts the moral, because we get very little view of her as a person beyond the fact that she likes romance novels.

Recommendation: Not Recommended


100th Day
by Exelion

Sad, Slice of Life
1,723 words

A routinary life can make us weak against any unexpected event that modifies our routine. Twilight Sparkle writes a report about her activities in this day, trying to seem calm. But the reality doesn't allow her to lie.

Why I added it: The Royal Guard queue.

Review
Twilight loses her ability to use magic after she ascends to alicornhood for… some unspecified reason, and struggles going through the day as an ordinary earth pony.

This is a very simple story, but I wasn’t terrible impressed by it; it was very one note, “being disabled sucks”, and while there was a speech in there about how the magic is really inside you, not just what you can do with your horn, it felt pretty scripted and generic, the general thing people say to placate disabled folks. This didn’t really put any sort of new spin on it.

Apparently, this story was translated into English after winning some sort of Latin American fanfiction competition, and the translation is a little telly in places; it is hard to know whether that was the case in the original work, but the prose was pretty dull. I also noticed a few typos; nothing too bad, but they were noticeable in such a short piece.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.


She’s Dazzling
by ellie_

Romance, Sad, Slice of Life, Human
1,009 words

"But then I look at her—at Adagio—I look at her and hear her and, god, constellations are bursting, fires are sparking, silence is deafening, the whole world is terrifying and I'm falling, god, I'm falling, I'm falling in love with her."

Why I added it: The Royal Guard queue.

Review
The unnamed narrator watches one of the Dazzlings’ shows and expresses their adoration – specifically, for Adagio. They want her to notice them, but they don’t…

And that’s it.

This is one of those stories that really could have easily been made about just anyone – the story doesn’t seem to make any use of any of the characters or the world, and it could have just as easily been about some ordinary person and a musician. While it is in broad strokes and thus can sweep up a large audience of folks who feel that way, it thusly also feels a bit generic, and I was not swept up in the surge of admiration that the person felt for the singer, so consequently, there wasn’t much here for me.

The descriptions were reasonably vivid, though, and I think it did a reasonable job of portraying the main character’s crush on the singer. If you want to read a short piece about a lovestruck fan salivating over their idol on stage, this isn’t a bad choice, but it wasn’t my cuppa, even if the pun in the title amused me.

Recommendation: If you want to read a short piece about a fan who is enamored with a singer, this isn’t a bad piece, but it wasn’t for me.


Naked Lunch
by Estee
Comedy, Slice of Life
22,247 words

Crossing Guard works in Equestria's Immigration Department: among other things, he serves as the final check on whether a non-pony can take up residence in Canterlot. It's not a simple job, especially given the follow-ups when a new resident or citizen-in-waiting inevitably gets into trouble. But Gerald Gristle is an exceptionally calm applicant, Crossing's tired from a long day, and so he allows the griffon to begin the five-year process, with the announced food supply business set to open two weeks in.

Which is when Crossing finds out just what kind of food the griffon is supplying.

After all, carnivores and omnivores have to eat too...

Why I added it: Estee is a good writer.

Review
Crossing Guard, the unicorn in charge of immigration to Equestria, just wants to get home. Gerald Gristle is the latest griffon immigrant to Canterlot, and he is, for once, remarkably polite – not just for a griffon, but for just about anyone who comes into Crossing Guard’s office. His paperwork could do with having a few more details being filled out, but on the whole, Gristle steems to know what he wants, and Guard, for his part, is happy to let him through.

Gristle wants to start up a new business, you see. There are few enough places for griffons and other carnivores to purchase food in Canterlot.

But it turns out, Gristle has come to Canterlot to run an upscale butcher shop, and the locals aren’t buying it…

Set in Estee’s rather darker and more racist Equestria, this story follows Crossing Guard as he does his best to make sure that Gerald Gristle’s shop isn’t destroyed by CUNET (Canterlot Unicorns Need Equal Treatment; previously Canterlot Unicorns Negating Traditional Swears), that no riots break out, and that Gristle removes his sign (depicting a bisected cow) before any of the local cattle see it. Sure, none of his produce comes from anything that can talk, but the smell of meat and blood is new to the locals, and they are not happy.

A story full of pretty vibrant OCs, a very cunning Princess Luna, and a whole lot of world building, this story was actually a great deal of fun to read. It was a bit slow starting out, but as the story started picking up steam, it became increasingly enjoyable to read, and by the end of it, I was quite amused. The story was well-worth my time, and it is likely to be well worth yours as well if you like world building and don’t mind a darker, more animalistic Equestria than what we see in the show.

Recommendation: Recommended.


Summary
Rarity’s Rodeo by Somber
Not Recommended

Dangerous by totallynotabrony
Not Recommended

100th Day by Exelion
Not Recommended

She’s Dazzling by ellie_
Not Recommended

Naked Lunch by Estee
Recommended

Sometimes, a story just really makes me happy that I read it, and Naked Lunch, a piece I’ve long put off reading, did exactly that.

Now to read the other stories about griffons that I’ve been putting off reading…

Number of stories still listed as Read It Sooner: 78

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later: 315

Number of stories listed as Read It Eventually: 1634

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Comments ( 5 )

Only one this time? Damn.

3310750
Yeah, but it was a good one. :heart:

I really liked Naked Lunch. It was really cool. I can't find the right words to say anything more; it makes you think, though. Very good.

I've always been an Estee addict. Naked Lunch is a good example why.

Naked Lunch is one of two stories by Estee that I've saved as an e-book (the other being Fluttershy Gets Replaced by a Sherman Tank).

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