• Member Since 16th May, 2013
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PaulAsaran


Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords, and reviews both independently and for Seattle's Angels. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

More Blog Posts459

  • 6 days
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXI

    My preliminary editing of the original fiction version of Guppy Love is all but finished! Soon I will have the entire story stored in GDocs and ready for prereading, which means it’s about time I started really looking for prereaders. I intend to ask the prereaders of the MLP version to come back to evaluate the changes, but I’d like to get a few others to offer a fresh perspective. I’m

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    16 comments · 275 views
  • 1 week
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCX

    Howdy, folks. I’m afraid I don’t have much to report this week. Well, other than the very real possibility of maintaining 2,000 words/day of writing this month. Feels like I haven’t pulled something like that off in ages. Pays that I’m finally cutting down on the video games again. It comes in phases.

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    4 comments · 311 views
  • 2 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCIX

    The past week has been one of highs and lows. The brief crash has led to me being two days behind on my reading schedule. The good news is that I’ve got a Vacation Week coming up in a couple weeks that I can use to easily make up the lost time. The bad news is that my current major reading project was scheduled to be finished the day before its review gets published, so I’ve no choice but to

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    7 comments · 353 views
  • 3 weeks
    Charity Stream!

    I usually save these kinds of things for my main review blog, but this one's time sensitive, so: my old friend Cerulean Voice is hosting a charity stream! Head here to get the details.

    0 comments · 76 views
Jan
28th
2016

Paul's Thursday Reviews XXV · 10:19pm Jan 28th, 2016

Not much to say this week, except that I am seriously considering changing my rating system slightly. It's entirely possible that this will be the last time we see the ratings as they are currently named. Since horizon offered up his rating system, I may just take him up on the offer... but we'll see.

Oh, and also: The Silence updates tomorrow!

...

Yeah, yeah, I get it. Shutting up and delivering reviews. You'll note that there is no requested story this week. That's because at the time I scheduled this week's reading, I had no requests pending, so the request slot got filled by an RiL.

Stories for This Week:

Influence by Sapidus3
Famous Last Words by Titanium Dragon
The Incandescent Brilliance by KitsuneRisu
Of Birds and Bees and Awkward Things by JoeShogun (Re-Read)
Mistletrapped by Titanium Dragon (Completed Story)
Total Word Count: 53,107

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 2
Pretty Good: 3
Worth It: 0
Not Bad: 0
None: 0


Excuse me while I shudder.

Sapidus3’s Influence opens with Shining Armor coming home to his wife and having a friendly little discussion about love. Friendly, that is, until Cadance slips that Celestia has been channeling her magic through sunlight to subtly influence every pony in Equestria into being more harmonious with one another. After his experience with Chrysalis, this sounds too much to Shining like mind control, and so he sets out to Canterlot to do some research. In the process, he encounters his sister…

This story is a great example of the power of words and the horror of mind control. For roughly 90% of the story, I’m reading it and thinking that Shining is just being paranoid. While I am absolutely, undeniably against mind control, the way Cadance and Twilight argue the point makes it seem like Celestia is practicing something even I would consider acceptable. Then the rug gets pulled out from under me and I’m left with a sense of terror.

I really liked this. It played to my personal fears like Nero with his lyre. Others who don’t view the subject so strongly may not get what I do out of it, but I found it compelling and interesting from beginning to end.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


Titanium Dragon enters the WriteOffs fairly regularly, with entries that commonly score well. Famous Last Words includes three entries into the same contest, all of which focus on the last words of a different pony. None of these stories are linked to one another or even in the same continuity, they simply operate under the same theme.

I am certainly impressed. Knowing TD had only a couple of days to write and came up with three completely different and interesting stories in that time is not something to scoff at. My favorite was the third one, The Dying Words of Starswirl the Bearded. The Pony and The Phoenix rates a close second. Well written and extremely brief, these stories are poignant, interesting and highly amusing (in that order).

I think that, more than anything, I am impressed with TD’s ability to rapidly shift gears to create entirely new tones and directions in such a short span of time. I do similar things, but I do them over periods of several days, not a weekend. It only reminds me that practice makes perfect.

It also reminds me of my old goal to land in a top ten slot in a WriteOff. I’ve gotta get back into those things!

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


In this story, KitsuneRisu tackles the life of Trixie Lulamoon in an unexpected way. Taking place over thirty years after the events of the show, The Incandescent Brilliance stars a world-weary Trixie who has found peace with her existence, past and future. While performing research at Twilight’s Castle, her team sets off a magical reaction that traps her and one other researcher in a safe room. With only hours left to live, Trixie and her companion reflect on their lives.

I’m gonna abandon my man-pride and admit that I cried. Trixie’s story of regret, growth and ultimate acceptance is well crafted. The story starts off quiet and contemplative, and I was actually thinking about docking KitsuneRisu points for using a narrative and dialogue style lacking in emotion. Yet, as the story drove on, we come to learn that there’s a reason for Trixie’s placid manner, and the conclusion is heart-wrenching. While unquestionably sad, it also conjures up pride and a sense of peace; the end is coming, but it’s not really a bad end.

Nothing in this story reflects more on how completely different Trixie is than her conversation with her companion, the young Russet who is very clearly descended from a certain Element Bearer, even if he didn’t know it. She works not to entertain him or give him hope, nor does she try to whitewash the situation. Instead, she helps him find his peace with the coming end. It feels so incredibly unlike what the old Trixie would do, and I was happy to see it.

This story is labeled as a tragedy, but I think it also could be a showcase of the triumph of a life. Yes, it’s sad, but in a way it’s also victorious. That’s not something I see every day.

This story impresses me beyond the average tale. I think it deserves a lot more attention and recognition than it has. I’m happy to put it where it belongs.

KitsuneRisu, you have my attention.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?


Ah, well done, O mighty Celestia. Your decision to sit there like a doofus and be saved by a child was quite successful. Maybe when she gets older you can just hand off all your unpleasant tasks to her.

Wait, this is good! I can work with this!

And now, at long last, we all know when this habit of Celestia’s began: with a discussion of sex.

This story was just as great the second time as it was the first time. In it, Celestia is getting ready for a night of ‘fun’ with a certain stallion, and Twilight has a question about her homework. The princess did say she could come by to ask a question at any time, right? But when she shows up mere minutes before the planned ‘meeting’ and catches Celestia ‘ready and waiting,’ she has questions. Lots of questions. Questions Celestia isn’t at all prepared to answer.

Gotta admit, I love everything about this story. From its whimsical, laid back narrative style to its excellent depiction of the extremely curious, intelligent, talkative and absolutely-determined-to-be-a-good-filly Twilight. I was grinning from ear to ear and from beginning to end. I only disagreed with Celestia’s lesson at one point, although I was more than willing to forgive since an immortal alicorn probably looks at things a little differently than us mere mortals. JoeShogun even managed to squeeze in a little worldbuilding in there by giving us a proper and surprisingly intelligent reason why a world of ponies not burdened by conservative religions (that we know of) might still view sexuality as taboo.

What, you want me to be critical? Sorry, nope. I was having too much fun for that. Really looking forward to the sequel too, which I didn’t know existed until I got around to re-reading this. Fasttracked.

I don’t normally place stories like this in my highest bookshelf. There are always exceptions.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?


One part D’aww and one part gossip, Titanium Dragon’s Mistletrapped covers two separate topics at once to tickle the fancy of a broad audience. It’s Twilight’s first time hosting Hearths Warming, inviting all her friends and the CMC to her castle for the holiday. Spike, hoping to steal a kiss from Rarity, sets a mistletoe over the entrance of the castle. However, his plan backfires when he ends up getting a kiss from Sweetie Belle instead. Now Apple Bloom, aware of Sweetie’s long-harbored crush on the dragon, takes matters into her own hooves by attempting to get that mistletoe over Spike’s head again… by any means possible.

In the meantime, Rarity comes to the conclusion that Twilight is the one who set the mistletoe, and follows that with the assumption that Twilight must be looking to score a kiss from one of her five friends. With devilish thoughts swirling in her head, she trades the mistletoe with Apple Bloom regularly in an attempt to get Twilight her much desired kiss – to the princess’s notable consternation.

Silly antics, romantic gossip and tales of past loves abound in this story. While the whole thing meanders about quite a bit, it manages to be continuously amusing and loaded with cute. From Rarity’s continuous teasing to Spike’s urgent desire to ‘figure out’ his CMC problem, it’s all entertaining.

Only two things bugged me about the story overall. The first is that there didn’t seem to be any real purpose to it other than the d’awws. No lessons learned for the most part, it’s just a silly day at the castle. It’s not really a bad thing, but it doesn’t get me excited either.

The other aspect I didn’t care for was TD’s interpretation of Pinkie. All the characters are strongly interpreted, and she’s no exception, but TD kept using the same joke for her over and over again, namely that she keeps failing to understand metaphors and certain turn-of-phrases. She’s been known to do this kind of thing before, but the fact that she does it again and again (and again (and again)) makes her look and sound a lot dumber than she is.

Other than these two issues, I quite enjoyed the story. From Apple Bloom’s frustrated efforts to Rainbow’s heightened views of her kissing prowess, I never stopped smiling. It’s not TD’s best story, but it’s still a great addition to my bookshelves.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


Stories for Next Week:

Just a Joke by Kodeake
A Sweet Taste of Cake by The Descendant
Dead Silver by Max Florschutz (Original Fiction Request by Viking ZX)
The Benevolent Reign of Queen Nightmare Rarity by Alex Warlorn (Re-Read)
Diary of the Night by CalebH (Completed Story)


Liked these reviews? Check out some others:

Paul's Thursday Reviews XVI
Paul's Thursday Reviews XVII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XVIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XIX
Paul's Thursday Reviews XX
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXI
Jeremy's New Years Reviews!
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXIV

Want me to review your story? Send me a request! Check my profile page for rules.

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Comments ( 8 )
PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

I'm glad you enjoyed Incandescent Brilliance, that story hit me really hard. :D

And as I, too, detest mind control, I feel I have to read that first one, even if it sounds like something I read once, also involving Cadence and Shining.

Went and read Influence. That gave me the heebie jeebies.

Down with the old system! In with someone else's!

Man, I somehow missed you doing these reviews!

Anyway, I'm glad you liked my stories. I've always been rather proud of what I put in for the Famous Last Words competition (sadly, that round is the best I've ever done, and it was my very first writeoff ever) and I'm always happy to see someone come across them later and find them worthy.

As for Mistletrapped - I guess I'm guilty as charged about it being a cute day at the castle. That's really the core of the story - the central silliness and cuteness of the two plotlines.

I'm sorry if I hit the "Pinkie Pie takes something literally" button too much; Pinkie amuses me, and she's fun to write, but admittedly it is easy to fall into traps like that. Though I think at least some of the time, Pinkie does it on purpose to try and be funny.

Still, I'm glad you liked it on the whole and found it an enjoyable read. :twilightsmile:

3864685
That's my fault, really. I normally send out notices to people when I review their stories, but I went on a brief period where I stopped doing it because reasons. As such, I don't think I sent out your notice for these. Also, you getting two in one blog was pure scheduling coincidence.

I did not know Famous Last Words was your first WriteOff. My personal best was my most recent entry, but I haven't had the time to enter them for some time. It has been quite disappointing.

And in your defense, you write Pinkie far better than I do.

3865151
To be fair, Writeoff entries are also kind of weird because they get edited. I've written stuff I'd consider better than The Pony and the Phoenix (the only thing I've ever written that medalled) but they mostly were things that got a lot better after revision.

Dying to Get There and Forever and Again and Again were both originally writeoff entries. I'd probably say they're the best things I've written, but they didn't win their writeoffs and were edited (in one case, significantly) after the writeoff.

3865973
Well, maybe yours do. I always post my WriteOff entries as-is, partially because I want what everyone sees to be what went in the contest, but also because I can't be arsed when I've got so much else I want to do.

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