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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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Read It Now Reviews #47 – Daring Do and the Goggles of Shipping, Last Words, Keskiyönnon, To Whom It May Concern, Lost and Never Found · 10:55pm Aug 27th, 2015

I actually had this set done yesterday, but I forgot to post it. As such, you can all expect to get another set of reviews this weekend.

Today’s stories:

Daring Do and the Goggles of Shipping by CoffeeMinion
Last Words by BlazzingInferno
Keskiyönnon by Bradel
To Whom It May Concern by Pascoite
Lost and Never Found by Oroboro

Daring Do and the Goggles of Shipping
by CoffeeMinion

Romance, Comedy, Adventure
6,585 words

Discord went through a brief "arts and crafts" phase a few millennia ago, but even he knew some of his creations were too dangerous to be left lying around. So he buried them someplace where he figured nopony could ever find them again, and he moved on with his life.

He didn't count on the intrepid Daring Do coming along and messing things up...

Why I added it: The author was looking for feedback on his story.

Discord wants to tell Fluttershy how he feels about her, and goes to the trouble of taking her to visit his house – his horrible house, surrounded by chaos and madness – to talk to her.

And then he gets a call letting him know that one of the various artifacts he made in his youth has been stolen by Daring Do. You’d really think he could have built better traps…

Alas, as is always true for poor Daring Do, the artifact in question is quickly stolen by Dr. Callebron, who uses them to hypnotize Discord the moment he appears to fall in love with Daring Do, and vice-versa.

This is labelled romance/comedy/adventure, but it never really feels like it gets where it wanted to go in any direction. The romance axis – Discord liking Fluttershy – acts as a motivation for him throughout the piece, but is never really developed very much. The idea of Discord having made a bunch of horrible artifacts and hidden them all over the place is amusing, but not much is really done with it. The goggles themselves are only used once, and are cut off in a manner which, while it establishes why Discord can’t just magic the problem away, isn’t really something that the reader can predict or which feels like it flows from our knowledge of magic. The adventure aspect of catching up to Dr. Callebron and taking back the goggles didn’t feel like a struggle at all – they didn’t really have to strive to catch up, and the battle itself felt very straightforward. As a result, their victory felt kind of weightless.

On the whole, the story seemed like it had some potentially interesting ideas, but it felt like it never really executed on any of them to the point where I actually could bring myself to enjoy it.

Recommendation: Not Recommended

Last Words
by BlazzingInferno

Romance, Slice of Life
11,704 words

Big Mac doesn’t say much. That’s just his way. However, when a routine medical exam reveals he’s going to lose his voice, he decides he’d better get his last round of speaking in while he still can. Saying a few last words to his friends (and asking out a certain schoolteacher) is all he planned on doing. If only he understood the full repercussions of opening his big mouth.

Why I added it: It was in the “A Matter of Perspective” writeoff.

Big Mac is told he’s going to lose his voice, and has one week left to tell everypony everything he’s ever meant to say before he really goes mute. He needs to talk to his friends, his little sister, Miss Cheerilee…

Especially Miss Cheerilee.

A story about someone going around and having their (almost) final say to them all, this story felt unfocused. Was it supposed to be Big Mac going around saying the things he should have been saying all along, and therefore heartwarming and full of wisdom? Or was Big Mac supposed to be blundering through his day, causing problems by handing out bad advice and making everyone freak out over why he is suddenly being so talkative? The story seemed at first like it was going the wise words way, then it seemed like it was going the bad advice way, and at times it seemed like it was going the funny way, as the scenes not featuring Big Mac but rather his wake were mostly pretty funny. But these things seemed to only seldom intersect in any given scene, and while it is perhaps realistic that someone who is suddenly having to go out and say their final words to everyone would do some combination of nice things, wise things, and very stupid things, the net effect for the reader when he asks Rarity to give Spike, who is, let’s face it, a little kid, a chance at romance (and likewise, giving Spike some advice about being a Real Man™), is to feel like the author is advocating for this, even though it is obviously a terrible idea (and, moreover, wrong). This is especially a problem because up to the point where he deals with Spike, he really is helping people, and it only becomes obvious as the story goes further on that Big Mac isn’t actually being uniformly helpful, but is actually actively causing problems with questionable advice.

The story, thus, felt very offputting to me in the middle, and it is only at the end when the whole edifice comes crumbling down that it becomes clear that Big Mac really was making mistakes and the author knew it all along. And I think the real problem is that the central thematic idea behind the story is kind of undercut by this – the story seems to be about the idea that Big Mac needs to come out of his shell, and instead it seems to be that maybe there were a lot of things he really wasn’t speaking up about for a good reason, but at the end the piece concludes with Big Mac going and talking to Miss Cheerilee, reinforcing the idea of speaking up but kind of making a hash of any theme at all. The story doesn’t really feel like it has any sort of underlying thrust, just being a series of events that happen which eventually concludes with him talking to Miss Cheerilee like he should have been anyway, and if the idea behind the story was to go with the idea that Big Mac was going out of his way to avoid talking to Miss Cheerilee, even though it was his last chance to do so, that should have been more strongly reinforced textually throughout the piece.

I really wanted to like this, and I really liked the idea behind it, but it just didn’t come together for me.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

by Bradel

Lost City
2,134 words

Northwest of Canterlot, perched high in the boughs of an ancient oak tree, there is a city of soaring towers and deep shadows.

A love letter to Cold in Gardez's "Lost Cities".

Why I added it: I really love Lost Cities.

This story is about the ruins of the city of the Kainen Tellervo, the ancestors of the Breezies, this is a piece in the vein of Cold in Gardez’s Lost Cities. The city is built in a huge oak tree. Between the shadows of the branches on one side of the tree and the mountains on the other, one side of the tree is beautiful, airy, and fully-grown, while the other is twisted, dense, and undernourished, and in each side of the city are very different dwellings for two different kinds of residents – the residents of the light side are implied to be tall and thin, while the dark ones are shorter and more broad. Both were, of course, tiny, but the city would have been huge to its inhabitants – doors the size of an apple? What extravagance!

Alas, the city is in ruins now, the story implying it to be the result of some sort of internal conflict between the two halves of the city – the wealthier, more airy half and the poorer, nastier, dirtier half.

While these stories can be kind of neat, frankly, I didn’t care very much for this one. It was fairly long for such a piece – north of 2,000 words – but it actually felt like it had less content than the Lost Cities, which were often only half its length. But I think its real flaw lay in its ambiguity. I feel like the piece left things in far too broad of strokes – being able to derive the specifics of what happened and why makes for a stronger piece, I think, and I felt like the greatest strength of several of the original Lost Cities is that there was a sort of sinister undertone to the ruins which gradually came to the fore as you learned exactly what it was that undid the population there/made the residents forever abandon the place. Here, due to the ambiguity, there wasn’t the same general sense of creeping doom. While the hubris here was obvious – and all of the Lost Cities are about hubris, with all of them being magnificent cities which were once the center of their worlds now being decaying ruins left to rot because of the actions of their own populations – here the hubris didn’t actually explain why the city was destroyed. Why is it that the city is abandoned now? What is it that made it so none of the inhabitants remained? I feel like the story fell down there; I never got a really clear story of what was going on in the city, nor did I understand why everyone left after the internal conflict.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

To Whom It May Concern
by Pascoite

Romance, Sad
3,204 words

Twilight Sparkle has asked Rarity over to the castle to help with... something. She wouldn't say what. And Rainbow Dash is sure going out of her way to make sure Rarity gets there. Finally time to deal with this, it seems.

Why I added it: It was a writeoff story.

Some years in the future, Twilight Sparkle asks Rarity to help her write a love letter confessing how she feels to a pony who she cares about, but isn’t sure if the pony in question loves her in return. The original letter is far too generic, and Rarity encourages Twilight to be more specific about the pony in question, and Twilight uses examples from her own interactions with Rarity as inspiration…

This is a sad story, all the more so because it is obvious that things would be better if Twilight just spat it out, but she can’t – and Rarity won’t do anything if Twilight can’t do it.

While the core of the story is good – and I still remember this story from the writeoff it was in – I must admit to being disappointed still. When I read the original, I felt it was too ephemeral; I feel like this version, even at 3,000 words, is STILL too ephemeral, because the real core of the story – Twilight’s feelings towards Rarity – just aren’t expressed convincingly enough. I really wanted my heart to ache for them, and it just didn’t.

The idea was great, but the execution didn’t get there for me.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

Lost and Never Found
by Oroboro

Sad, Slice of Life
3,930 words

Helping a lost filly find her way home should have been a walk in the park for Princess Twilight Sparkle, but this time things turned out to be a bit stranger than she was expecting.

Why I added it: It was in a writeoff.

Twilight Sparkle encounters a young filly who can’t find her way home to show her mom her cutie mark. At first, it seems like she’s lost, but it quickly becomes apparent that the situation is much more complicated…

This is a cute little story about Twilight trying to help out a lost filly, and discovering that it was a lot harder than she thought. The filly in the story is okay, but a little bit generic; she sort of feels like a placeholder, a generic “cute little kid” whose purpose is to slot into the story and do her thing, but she doesn’t feel like she has a ton of independent personality, with her main personality trait seeming to be that she’s a bit shy and willing to give up when things get tough. The story itself is something I’ve seen before as well, though perhaps not resolved in quite this manner.

All that being said, I still enjoyed the story, even if it wasn’t perfect or the freshest thing in the world; I hadn’t read a story like it in a while, and Twilight breaking reality to get a little girl home so she can show her mom her cutie mark worked for me, somehow.

Recommendation: Worth Reading if you don't mind kind of glurgy stuff.

Daring Do and the Goggles of Shipping by CoffeeMinion
Not Recommended

Last Words by BlazzingInferno
Not Recommended

Keskiyönnon by Bradel
Not Recommended

To Whom It May Concern by Pascoite
Not Recommended

Lost and Never Found by Oroboro
Worth Reading

See you all tomorrow with another set of reviews!

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later – Important: 78

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later – High Priority: 329

Number of stories listed as Read It Later: 1651

Comments ( 8 )

you have an extra space in one of those links, Tanny. (Can that be a nickname for you?)


And, well, sure I suppose. People are free to come up with nicknames.

Where does "Tanny" come from, though?

Author Interviewer

I was actually kind of hoping for a hat trick this time. :B

Hat trick of recommendations?

Author Interviewer

No, non-recommendations!

Though I know you're trying to include at least one actual rec every time. Which I think is noble of you. :B

Yes. I may be a uh... few sets of "Read It Now reviews" ahead of myself right now with 4/5 reviews.

Not that I'm saying I am, but... :trixieshiftright:

1/5 today, still too many to read in the time I have.

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