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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 #59 – Mare of Many Hats, The Counselor, There Is Always Some Madness In Love, Tick, This Side of the Mirror · 3:00am Oct 18th, 2015

For those of you who missed my post earlier today, Mistletrapped’s sixth chapter went up earlier today.

But Mistletrapped is not all there is to the world of ponies today. There was an episode, which I actually liked! And, of course, new stories to be read.

None of which relate to today’s episode, so maybe that was a bit misleading. Still! I’m sure at least some of them will be good, right?

Today’s stories:

Mare of Many Hats by Skywriter
The Counselor by CoffeeMinion
There Is Always Some Madness In Love by Dubs Rewatcher
Tick by billymorph
This Side of the Mirror by Baal Bunny

Mare of Many Hats
by Skywriter

Comedy, Random
2,568 words

Applejack mourns the loss of one of the last 67,986 links she had to her dead father.

Why I added it: Skywriter is a good writer.

This is a bait and switch story that erects a sign stating “This is bait” under the trap. You know it’s bait – in fact, you aren’t entirely certain they even bothered with any actual bait – but you still have to poke at it just to see what happens.

Applejack is mourning the loss of her hat.

Her father’s hat.

One of the 67,986 he gave her.

Well, 67,985 now.

Yes, this story attempts to reconcile the idea of the hats being heirlooms with the fact that there are a truly ridiculous number of them, as well as an explanation of where all the hair bows came from, how Applejack’s parents died, and why Equestria isn’t overgrown with Apples.

This story is gloriously dumb. And yet, it still amused me with its sheer weight of ridiculousness. There isn’t a bit of this story which is serious, from the smoke detectors to spooning in bed with Rarity and everything in-between. It doesn’t take itself seriously and swiftly wanders into black comedy without taking a look back.

Applejack choked back a quick sob, hoping that the snowy-white unicorn sleeping right next to her wouldn't hear. Fate had continued to conspire to put Rarity and Applejack in bed together; this time it had been a booking error in the reservation combined with a complete lack of rollaway beds in stock. A.J. didn't mind it as much as she once had. It was actually kind of enjoyable sleeping next to a friend. Not in that way, of course. A.J.'s barn door famously swung only one way. And besides, even if she were to some day decide to install double-acting hinges on it, she would definitely hit up Twilight first. To A.J.'s appreciative eye, that mare really put the "ass" in "Asperger's Syndrome." But Rarity did have her qualities, one of them being a certain sensitivity and delicacy. It was the sort of sensitivity and delicacy that nearly ensured she would not stay asleep while the mare in bed next to her wept.

Recommendation: Worth Reading if you like silly dark comedy.

The Counselor
by CoffeeMinion

Slice of Life
1,235 words

Apple Bloom realizes that she's missed something important in the midst of the Cutie Mark Crusaders' cute-ceañera. And with all that's changed in recent weeks, she finds herself needing 'Twilight Time' now more than ever.

Why I added it: He asked.

Apple Bloom talks to Twilight about becoming a counselor.

A story heavy on psychology, including a few jokes about Big Mac, this is a short, simple piece about Twilight explaining why ponies go to counselors.

There’s nothing wrong with this in terms of the prose – it is reasonably well-written – but it is just kind of bland, and feels kind of like a PSA. Everyone needs help sometimes! See your local counselor today!

Recommendation: Not Recommended unless the subject matter particularly interests you.

There Is Always Some Madness In Love
by Dubs Rewatcher

Romance, Comedy, Slice of Life
2,935 words

For the past month, Twilight and Pinkie have been holding nightly study sessions, where they have the chance to sit around, eat lemon cake, and ponder the mysteries of the universe. Never before has Twilight had such an attentive student—and never before has she felt this warmth in her chest whenever she looks at Pinkie.

One night while studying, Pinkie lets slip that she's not just studying for herself, but to impress another mare. When Twilight starts to press her on who that mare is, however... things take a turn for the intimate.

Why I added it: It was in the last write-off.

Pinkie Pie has been the perfect student for Twilight these last few weeks, mastering in hours or days subjects that would take weeks or months for other ponies weeks and months to master. But she isnt’ planning on going back to school – she wants to impress somepony. Somepony who went to Celestia’s school for gifted unicorns, and has three colors in her mane and tail, and who used to have no friends at all but now has tons of them…

The original version of this story – the writeoff version – ended about halfway through the present length, and it was a clear jokefic. This, however, while it LOOKS like it is going to be a jokefic at first… honestly really isn’t. The cadence of the story has been changed significantly, and the tone, rather than being comedic like the original version, is actually much more serious as we get a stronger look at Twilight’s emotions and feelings towards Pinkie Pie, here, and the ending thus takes a very different cast – and goes on for a lot longer.

I’m not sure if I can really say that I liked this story; it isn’t bad, but at the same time, I’m not really sure if it “worked” for me – the story’s tag suggests it is comedic, but while Pinkie Pie is Pinkie Pie here, the context of the story makes it all rather sad rather than funny, and not even in the tragicomedic sort of way. There is, of course, a terrible sense of irony to the story, but not all irony is funny. On the other hand, I walked into this story expecting it to still be the jokefic from the writeoff, and it really isn’t, so I’m not sure whether my opinion is truly fair to it, as it isn’t really the same story it was before, nor is it meant to be.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

by billymorph

Gore, Dark
1,306 words

Hello, Twilight Sparkle. This is the six million, four hundred and twenty-three thousand and third time you’ve failed to save the world.

Why I added it: It was in the last writeoff.

Equestria is dead. Everyone is dead. The only way to save the world is the Machine. But the Machine can’t save the world, not this time. The only chance is to go back in time, to build the Machine again, but better, with all that was learned, so that everyone can be saved.

But is it really worth the death of everyone in Equestria to fuel the thing, to save them all?

A story of a time loop, this is a fun, compact little idea, and goes on just long enough to establish itself before throwing the decision in Twilight’s face and making her decide what to do differently this time.

Recommendation: Worth Reading if you like time loops.

This Side of the Mirror
by Baal Bunny

Slice of Life
1,270 words

After learning about their human counterparts in the world beyond the mirror, Cadance and Shining Armor begin to wonder about the pony counterpart of Abacus Cinch.

Why I added it: It was in the writeoff.

Abacus Cinch is an accountant. Just a simple accountant. Certainly no one of importance, this side of the mirror.

So why is her alternate universe self in charge of the Equestria Girls verse equivalent of the Crystal Empire?

A tight story about some of the implications of using the mirror universe, as well as some shades of people making up for the Rwandan genocide via Truth and Reconciliation committees, this is a neat little piece which has a lot of fun with Equestria Girls and some of its implications for Equestria.

Recommendation: Worth Reading.

Mare of Many Hats by Skywriter
Worth Reading

The Counselor by CoffeeMinion
Not Recommended

There Is Always Some Madness In Love by Dubs Rewatcher
Not Recommended

Tick by billymorph
Worth Reading

This Side of the Mirror by Baal Bunny
Worth Reading

Hope you folks have a good Saturday night!

Number of stories still listed as Read It Sooner: 87

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later: 355

Number of stories listed as Read It Eventually: 1700

Comments ( 5 )

Not Recommended.

Sounds about right. :derpytongue2:

Horizon said a few of the same things; he too couldn't quite decide how to feel about it, since it's so different from the original version presented in the Writeoff. This is what I said to him:

As I said in my roundup/autopsy/whatever, I really didn't like the original version of this. It was just something stupid I wrote in an hour because I wanted a third piece to submit. I'm generally not a fan of 1000-word joke pieces, and especially not that one, which was just a predictable joke leading to a simple punchline. Sorry you couldn't get into it as quickly as the last.

And I guess I kinda gotta say the same thing to you.

I was conflicted over whether or not to put the comedy tag, but I eventually decided that as I might as well, because I figured it'd attract more viewers than straight romance.

I think the biggest problem with it, as-is, is that it still has the structure of a jokefic for part of its length - the bait-and-switch back-and-forth between Twilight and Pinkie Pie - which ends up feeling incongruent with the story you're telling, which is a much more serious piece. That's not to say that misleading Twilight into thinking that Pinkie is confessing to her and then, well, not, is wrong, but the way it is structured presently ends up making it feel like it is the lead-up to a punchline, which is inconsistent with the tone of Twilight getting her heart crushed.

Agreed. Thanks for the criticism.

Thank you for your review! One of these days I'm gonna have to write something you'd be willing to recommend... :pinkiesmile:

I think it's more than fair to call out the story's PSA-like qualities. I wondered how strongly those might factor into your assessment of it, but I was honestly curious to see what you would make of it.

Celebrate your release of the latest chapter of Mistletrapped with a series of reviews huh?

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