• Member Since 25th Feb, 2013
  • offline last seen January 11th

Titanium Dragon


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

More Blog Posts590

Oct
4th
2015

Recommended Story Reviews #6 – Mistakes Were Made, Regarding the Need for Sex Education, At The Top, …And Borrowing Dulls the Edge of Husbandry, Glory · 6:12pm Oct 4th, 2015

On Thursday night, at about 6pm, my internet died. Around 10pm, it came back to life.

Fortunately, I downloaded a number of pony stories from FIMFiction, so not all was lost. Still, being without the Internet is a terrible fate, and leaves me feeling diminished, as if I have been cut off from a part of myself.

Even more fortunately for all of you, this spurred me to complete another set of Recommended Story Reviews. And then promptly forgot to post them until today. Still, I hope you enjoy.

Today’s stories:

Mistakes Were Made by Sharp Spark
Regarding the Need for Sex Education by GaPJaxie
At The Top by Pearple Prose
…And Borrowing Dulls the Edge of Husbandry by Softy8088
Glory by Rune Soldier Dan


Mistakes Were Made
by Sharp Spark

Romance, Sad
5,358 words

Applejack and Rarity's relationship was never easy, even at the best of times. But their love for one another was constant, an irresistible force, up until one day when it was no longer enough.

Years have passed since then, and on one quiet night, their paths cross once again.

Why I recommend it: Tragic but hopeful RariJack.

Review
It has been years since Rarity and Applejack were together – or, rather, were together most of the time, except when they periodically broke up with each other due to fights. Rarity finally moved away to Manehattan to get away from it all, find someone else… but now, they find each other in a bar, and talk about what was, and what is, and what might be again.

But Applejack is reluctant. She remembers how this dance always seems to end.

But does she really want it to stop? Or does she want to give it another go?

After all, she never found anypony else, because she never stopped loving Rarity.

This is one of those “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” kind of stories, and it documents their memories of heartbreak when together, along with their memories of heartbreak in the present now that they’re not even trying anymore.

And it is quite good. The emotion of the piece comes through quite well, as does Applejack’s anger and both ponies’ longing for one another, and for things to be right between them once more.

This story is very heavily focused on them getting together, time and again – all of the memories and all of the pieces are about them coming back together, and them being reluctant to come together because of their concerns about their relationship blowing up in their faces yet again. But the final memory is the time that Applejack didn’t try, and it shows exactly why they made the opposite decision every other time.

Recommendation: Recommended.


Regarding the Need for Sex Education
by GaPJaxie

Romance, Comedy
7,604 words

Ponies these days are nuzzling younger than ever. Talk to your foals about the dangers of unprotected tummy rubs.

Why I recommend it: Hilarious story about Twilight being confused about the birds and the bees.

Review
Twilight is pregnant. Or so she thinks, anyway. She had been waiting, but it was the night after she became a princess, and it just felt so right.

“I think I might be pregnant.”

For a moment, neither of them said anything. Twilight slowly lifted her gaze from the floor and sought out Rarity’s eyes. She found the other pony staring at her, her mouth agape, face a blank mask.

Then her teacup hit the floor and shattered, the sound driving Twilight’s stare back to her own hooves.

“Twilight, I...” Rarity said, fumbling for the words. “I didn’t know you were seeing anypony.”

“We wanted to keep it a secret, you know. Private. We didn’t want anypony gossiping about us,” Twilight said. Her throat grew tight as she spoke, and her voice was soon ragged. “I thought it was okay! We weren't doing anything. I mean, we kissed and curled up together and stuff, but I said I wanted to take it slow and that was fine. We didn’t do anything I wasn’t ready for. But after the coronation, I was so happy, and we met up in private and everything seemed so right and we started kissing and I didn’t want to stop and I stayed there all night and I’ve been making visits ever since—” Twilight drew a deep, shaking breath, her whole body wound so tight it was like she was trying to squeeze into a little ball. “And I threw up this morning!”

“Okay,” Rarity said, and a moment later, she added another “okay” for good measure, drawing a deep breath. That was all the indulgence she had time for though, and when she let the breath out, her shocked expression had been replaced by something more sympathetic, strong and supportive. She stepped up to Twilight’s side, putting a leg around her friend’s haunches. “It’s alright, Twilight. Everything is going to be okay,” she said, watching as Twilight’s eyes started to glisten. “You’re not the first mare in history to end up surprised, and you won’t be the last, but you have friends and family to help you through what’s to come, and—and sometimes these things work out for the best,” Rarity said, forcing a smile onto her face, though the strain was visible. “I was a surprise for my parents, and they said that nothing made them happier.”

“I-I know, Rarity,” Twilight whispered. “But, I... I’m not ready.” Twilight sniffled, trying to hold back the tears. “How am I going to tell her?”

“Her?” Rarity asked, leaning around to catch Twilight’s eyes, watching as her friend weakly tilted her head up.

“Princess Celestia,” Twilight squeaked out, her voice like a rusty hinge, and when she squeezed her eyes shut, tears ran down her cheeks.

“Oh, Twilight,” Rarity said, sighing as she levitated a cloth from across the store, using it to brush away her friend’s tears. “Do you really think any of us are going to judge you for this, her most of all? Princess Celestia will understand. She knows you, and you’re hardly the first member of the royal family to end up pregnant out of wedlock.”

“N-no, Rarity. You don’t understand,” Twilight said, letting out a faint whimper before she continued. “Princess Celestia and I... we’ve been seeing each other for years. And now I might be carrying her foal!”

Rarity considered this for a moment.

“What?”

Yes, it is quite the scandal. Twilight Sparkle, knocked up with Princess Celestia’s lovechild out of wedlock! How is she going to tell her?

Rarity, however, has a somewhat better grasp on the birds and the bees, and there’s a slight problem here, seeing as Celestia is lacking in some of the necessary, ahem, equipment.

But Twilight won’t have any of it, and goes out to her other friends to seek comfort. How could Rarity reject her love for Princess Celestia, and her doubts about their relationship!

And so Twilight embarks on a hilarious misadventure across Ponyville, looking for advice on what to do and bemoaning her friends’ lack of understanding of her situation, while her friends try to carefully explain to Twilight why Princess Celestia could not have possibly knocked her up.

Well, most of them, anyway. It seems a couple of them had the same level of sex-ed as Twilight…

Absolutely chock-full of jokes about traditional pegasus weddings, implied S&M, pudding, Twilight finding Shining Armor’s porn stash, and many other things, this story is hilarious from the moment you find out just who the “father” was to the finish, and just when you think things couldn’t get any funnier, you discover just how wrong you are in the next scene. And yet, somehow, everyone is in character the whole time.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended.


At The Top
by Pearple Prose

Slice of Life
2,210 words

What does it mean to be Celestia? What does it mean to be "at the top"?

Celestia knows.

And soon, Twilight will too.

Why I recommend it: Because it’s lonely at the top.

Review
Twilight asks Celestia about what it is like at the top. Celestia tries to protect Twilight from it. But she can’t, and knows she can’t, and needs to give her at least some of the truth, whatever it might bring. But she can’t bring herself to lay it all down on Twilight and snatch her hope away, not all at once…

What is interesting about this story is that Celestia is simultaneously arrogant and humble; she is aware of exactly what she is, and how it sets her apart, but at the same time, she is well aware that she is just a pony – consciously, at least. And yet, subconsciously, we see that she knows that she isn’t just another pony, and even beyond it setting her apart, she allows it to set her apart, even in her mind – this is the first time in a thousand years she’s had equals, and she lets them into her heart in ways that she has barred to others, and yet at the same time is setting up a cage for Twilight – a cage that Celestia herself lives in, a cage that she believes all ponies at the top live in, and yet a cage that Celestia doesn’t need to inhabit, whatever she tells herself.

Ultimately, this is a very interesting perspective on Celestia, and the piece is all about exploring this Celestia’s view of the world through the lens of talking to Twilight about what it is like to be at the top.

If the story has a weakness, it is that the prose is not always of top notch quality; there are a few weird word choices here and there, and there’s a few places where the exposition doesn’t feel quite right. Still, on the whole, it is a very strong story that accomplishes what it set out to accomplish, and ends on a powerful note.

"What I meant was, what's it like being so..." she hesitated, and in that brief pause I heard a number of possible words, all of which made my guts turn in on themselves. "Above it all?"

I pondered the question. It was certainly rather diplomatic, better than what she could have said. But even then, I didn't know how to breach the topic. I'm certain that, if I had decided to be heavy-handed, events would have come to a satisfactory conclusion.

But, as my sister La Lune has reminded me constantly, I am a mare who cares too much. Especially when it comes to the ponies that I name family, both face-to-face and within the safety of my own mind.

“Above it all?” I echoed. “Are you, perhaps, implying that I am not a pony? Something greater than that?”

Twilight squirmed; it was a loaded question, and she knew it. “No!” she squeaked. “Just… well, you’re Celestia. You aren’t exactly a pony to be ignored. Y’know? It’s a little…” I could see the cogs turning. “Overwhelming? Sometimes.”

I snorted inwardly. I could not be more aware of that little fact of my existence, for it was something that permeated so deeply into the ordinary pony’s understanding that every encounter was marred by it. But, on the exterior, I nodded and I smiled and I watched her relax, like the pretty little princess I was. “That is true. But, would you say that it is merely a cosmetic problem? I am aware that I do not look as… inconspicuous as a regular pony.”

Twilight shook her head emphatically. “No, not like that. I mean, if that were true, then I’d be like you too!” She chuckled nervously, and my heart skipped a beat. It was funny, honestly, just how close she came just then. “It’s more like… gosh, it’s so hard to describe—”

“Let me guess,” I interrupted, before I could stop myself. “You look at me, and you don’t see a pony. You don’t feel like I should be able to exist, in this imperfect world of ours. You look at me and you imagine a mountain crumbling, or a tidal wave crashing into a continent, or the sun and the moon meeting in the heavens. Something so utterly overwhelming that you have trouble comprehending it all at once. It gets hard to think, hard to concentrate. You don’t feel worthy of simply being in the same room as such a thing. All you know is that it is just… beyond you.”

The room settled into a tense silence. She looked at me with wide eyes, and I just watched her, blankly. Did I hate myself for thrusting it upon her so directly? Should I have kept my mouth shut? Possibly. But, in retrospect, perhaps it was all for the better.

Perhaps.

Recommendation: Recommended


…And Borrowing Dulls the Edge of Husbandry
by Softy8088

Comedy, Slice of Life
8,588 words

After a recent cluster of calamities cursing her farm, Applejack's livelihood stands on the brink of financial ruin. Desperate, she asks Twilight Sparkle for a loan to keep Sweet Apple Acres running.

But when Twilight's unexpected answer inadvertently causes the two mares to butt heads, the stalemate threatens not only Ponyville's food supply but also their friendship.

With the two obstinate mares sticking to their principles come Tartarus or tidal surges, can Pinkie Pie bridge their ideological gap and save Applejack's farm?

Why I added it: Ponies dealing with money problems.

Review
Applejack needs money to ensure the future of Sweet Apple Acres.

Twilight, being the student of friendship that she is, is wary about loaning money to Applejack, out of fear that it might ruin their friendship – but she’s okay with simply hoofing over fourty-five thousand bits.

But Applejack is no charity case. Even just loaning her the money would earn her gratitude forever, but giving her that kind of dough? It isn’t right.

Can Pinkie Pie talk sense into the two mares and work things out to save Sweet Apple Acres?

Of course she can!

This is a great “friendship problem” story which is surprisingly funny despite the serious subject matter. Pinkie Pie is wonderful here, exhibiting both her zaniness and yet simultaneously showing that she is far more capable than she appears on the surface, which only makes her silly behavior all the funnier. Applejack, Twilight Sparkle, and Pinkie Pie are all voiced excellently, and the subject matter – loaning money to a friend, and the potential problems it can cause, as well as the reasons why a friend would want a loan instead of a gift – is handled excellently.

In the end, Pinkie Pie’s solution is brilliantly terrible and gloriously in-character, and the whole piece comes together very well at the end. I remembered having fairly mild feelings towards this story previously, but on the whole, I can’t really remember why; it is a very good story, and while the epilogue doesn’t really contribute to the rest of it (it would have been funnier without it), the story is an excellent piece.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended.


Glory
by Rune Soldier Dan

Sad
8,782 words

No one's important. No one's special. Except for the princesses.

Blueblood's always known this. He's always accepted this. He'll never be special. He'll never do anything important.

But now he has to. There's too much at stake.

He knows he'll fail, but he has to try. Because...

Why I added it: Prince Blueblood as an absurdist in a world with immortals.

Review
Prince Blueblood knows that his life is worthless. That all ponies lives are worthless. Rich or poor, genius or idiot, in the end, they all die, and in the end, even anything they did didn’t really ultimately matter. Someone else would have done it anyway – or maybe they wouldn’t have, but even then, you’d be one of countless thousands who did even that.

The only ones who matter are the princesses. Or mores specifically, the Princess – Princess Celestia. Eternal. Loving, Working every day to make the world better, in a lasting way, in a way only one who lives forever can.

But she’s been captured by the-so called Lord Grayshod, via trickery and deception. His iron chains drain away magic – drain away hope – even as they bind you. And with the princesses and the Element-bearers in chain, there’s none who could hope to oppose him.

Prince Blueblood knows this, but he’s going to try anyway. Even though he doesn’t know how to use a sword. Even though he knows he cannot win.

Because he’d rather be dead than allow a worm to rule over the perfect Celestia. That’s not how the world works.

An excellent character piece about a very unpleasant, nihilistic prince, it documents his struggle with the absurdity of live via his struggle with Lord Grayshod to free the Princess, and how his strange resolve allows him the chance to do so.

The epilogues on this piece each posit a different ending to the story. Both spend a fair bit of effort on Celestia’s characterization, and how she sees the world, and specifically, ponies like Blueblood and their vision of her, but they also posit about the meaning of Blueblood’s actions in the story, and whether or not Blueblood can change, believing what he believes.

Overall, this is a very strong piece, and a very philosophical one – if you’re at all interested in the idea of a piece examining an absurdist point of view in Equestria, this is right up your alley.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended.


Summary
Mistakes Were Made by Sharp Spark
Recommended

Regarding the Need for Sex Education by GaPJaxie
Highly Recommended

At The Top by Pearple Prose
Recommended

…And Borrowing Dulls the Edge of Husbandry by Softy8088
Highly Recommended

Glory by Rune Soldier Dan
Highly Recommended

And there we go.

I got a few things written today for the latest Writeoff, and am in a bit of a writing mood, so hopefully, you folks will see more out of me soon.

Number of stories still listed as Read It Sooner: 89

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later: 345

Number of stories listed as Read It Eventually: 1689

Comments ( 14 )

Not a single Not Recommended? Who are you and what have you done with Titanium Dragon?!

Seriously though, I've already read three of these already, not having read the first, but having it on my Read Later list, and having never seen the last before, with it too now being on my Read Later list,
I did enjoy the three I had read, and am now going to re-red the second because it is just that funny.

And my Read it Later list grows ever larger...

I wonder if Sharp Spark's story was inspired by that post bookplayer made about RariJack a while back.

Wow, not even a "Worth Reading." This may be the highest rated round I've ever seen from you.

3442323
You haven't seen the blog with five HRs then, I take it?

3442306
3442323
About once a month, I go through my old favorite stories list which I made before I started doing reviews, re-read the stories, and write up reviews of five of them.

Here's a list of my previous sets of recommended story reviews.

3442306
3442323
This happens every time. :facehoof:
This is "Recommended Story Reviews", not "Read It Now Reviews". In these ones, there's only the good stuff.

*edit* Derp, TD answered first.

3442469
3442454
Oh, umm, right.

Sorry about that. So used to the other type of review blog posts and all.

3442487
Hey, no need to apologize! It's all good.

I have to admit I'm always amused by these responses, so it's not like you're upsetting me or anything. :heart:

I mean, really, let's face it - I do these precisely because I do many of the other kinds of reviews. Gotta give you guys something to read.

Plus, you know, it seems a bit silly not to review/recommend the best stories just because I read them already. :raritywink:

Do you choose these things randomly?

3442826
Most of my recommended story reviews are the result of me re-reading stories that I liked and then writing reviews about them. So, they're random in the sense that they're me deciding I really wanted to re-read a story I liked, or because I wanted to check something out in a story, or something else.

So they're random in the sense that they're probably largely unpredictable, but I don't use a random number generator or anything to pick them.

Woo! Positive review!

Thanks much. While I may be #AuthorBiased, your reviews are always fun to read. Plus, I get to blame Pav for the abomination your poor brain cells were subjected to!

Thanks for the nod - I appreciate it.

3444832
You have an interesting definition of abomination. :trixieshiftright:

3445630
It's a good story! Plus it touches on a subject matter I adore. Several, in fact.

Login or register to comment