Wanderer D 5,519 followers · 65 stories

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  • 225 weeks
    SA: Round 167

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    In a facility as large and as continuously expanding as the Seattle’s Angels compound was, finding someone wasn’t as hard as it would at first seem. All you needed was a little patience and the right tools. Tools such as the universal locator that Cynewulf had built into her shades. One blink was all it took to bring up the HUD, while a second blink activated the locator.

    The display gave off a ping, quickly finding her intended target.

    One transporter pod jump later and she stood in front of the door for the Holodeck Ultra 2000 (HUT). As she expected, it was in use as indicated by the occupied sign hanging off the handle. Shaking her head, Cynewulf turned the door handle and pushed, entering the HUT. Her HUD pinged again, prompting her to look upwards.

    Read More

    6 comments · 8,003 views
  • 341 weeks
    SA Reviews #117

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    Warmth. Beautiful, blessed warmth. It didn’t matter what it was, or where she was--all that mattered was the warmth. The endless hellcold of winter had been temporarily banished. Cynewulf might yet survive the 50 degree farenheit blizzard hoarfrost of December yet, if only she had a few more minutes of--

    There was, of course, an explosion. Because there is always an explosion.

    Memory came back swiftly, in the microsecond before disaster. The warm thing was the cat and also the beanbag floof pillow. She grabbed the cat and shielded her precious blobby body from the no-doubt incoming shards of wood and plaster.

    But nothing came. Seconds passed. Cynewulf opened her eyes.

    Read More

    8 comments · 9,640 views
  • 431 weeks
    Everfree Northwest Fanfiction Spotlight #36

    Fanfiction Spotlight #36
    Published 3/5/16

    Hello my little authors and readers! Welcome to the return of the Everfree Northwest Fanfiction Spotlight! We’re back and working hard to give you some lovely pieces to read, review, digest, gank ideas from, and as always, we try to bring you a little bit of everything as reviewed by the writing track team! I’m Heartshine, and I’m taking over for Xepher as editor!

    But enough about us, to the stories! This week we have Sunset Shimmer solving a mystery, Celestia’s response to being constantly under the influence of the Worf Effect, and an emotional story that explores the deep connection between Princess Celestia and Twilight.


    ---- Review by Silver Flare ----

    Feedback

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    14 comments · 6,039 views
  • 445 weeks
    Fic Spotlight #21 - Truth is stranger than Fics

    The Royal Guard—Ring-Ting-Tingling Edition

    [Obs]Hi guys. It's time for more fic spotlight. Jinglemas is coming up soon, so all of you are probably going to need some horse words for your festive jingle related holidays. Here are some good ones so that you don't have to cry to Santa that he didn't bring you MLP fanfics on jinglemas morn. Read and be merry.[/Obs]

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    15 comments · 6,952 views
  • 448 weeks
    Fic Spotlight #20 - It's The Fic Signal, Batman!

    The Royal Guard—Missed Thanksgiving By One Week Edition

    [Obs]
    Hey guys, it's Fic Spotlight. It's like a magical world where good MLP fics rain from the sky and all your troubles are washed away. Only it's real and not actually anything like what I described. Instead have a choice selection of good MLP fics, which should distract you long enough to avoid remembering that the world is actually a dark and scary place.

    Enjoy
    [/Obs]

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    9 comments · 7,376 views
  • 449 weeks
    Fic Spotlight #19 - Can We Fics It?

    The Royal Guard—Running Out of Edition Names Edition

    [Obs] Hey guys! Time for more fic spotlight. You're probably all really starving for high quality horsewords, so here's some high quality horse words. It's really convenient that your wants lined up with what happened to be available. It'd be kind of weird if you were starving for like actual food or something and all we had was just high quality horsewords.

    It'd be really awkward probably.

    Anyways just click below the break and you'll get more words than you'll even know what to do with.[/Obs]

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    9 comments · 6,815 views
  • 452 weeks
    Fic Spotlight #18 - Back to the Ficture

    The Royal Guard—Fortified with Calcium Edition

    [Obs] Hey guys, fic spotlight is back to bring you cool fics. Technically Back to the Future Day was yesterday, but the magic of time travel is that you can pretend anything from some other time is happening RIGHT NOW.

    Like cool fics.

    So go read some of these while you're riding on a hoverboard, drinking a pepsi perfect. It'll be cool and stuff.[/Obs]

    Read More

    6 comments · 3,843 views
  • 454 weeks
    Fic Spotlight #17 - Fic Spooklight

    The Royal Guard—Hat Trick Achieved Edition

    [Obs] Hey guys! It's October, and also it's time for spic fotlight. Things are about to get pretty spooky, because this month all the fics spotlighted are going to be about pony skeletons. Except the twist is that the skeletons are trapped inside sacks of meat, like some kind of living body. Actually they might just be regular fics about living ponies. Which is still pretty spooky, I guess. Go read them or something. [/Obs]

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    4 comments · 4,441 views
  • 456 weeks
    Fic Spotlight #16 - Fics it Now!

    The Royal Guard—Keeping the Ball Rolling Edition

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    9 comments · 3,476 views
  • 458 weeks
    Fic Spotlight #15 - Return of Fic Spotlight

    The Royal Guard — Triumphant Return Edition

    [Obs]

    Hey guys, I bet you forgot all about this being a thing, right? Me too! They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, though, so maybe fond memories of the times when quality fics were served up on silver platters. Y'know, in the before time, back when the One True King sat on the throne and the words flowed as wine. What's that? You don't remember that time? Then clearly you haven't read enough ponyfics! The Royal Guard is back now to deliver them to you. I guess they're a thing again. Click below the break to get ponies.

    [/Obs]

    Read More

    26 comments · 4,391 views
Mar
20th
2016

Fic Spotlight » Round Robin Reviews # 2 · 4:21am Mar 20th, 2016

The Round Robin Reviews are written by different groups and reviewers taking turns each week. If you are a story reviewer or part of a group that reviews stories and would be interested in joining the Round Robin Reviews, feel free to PM me (Wanderer D), Professor Plum, or ElDorado to tell us about it.

For all of you who know me: hi.

For all of you who don’t know me: hi.

My moniker is PaulAsaran. Ever since February of last year I have endeavored to deliver high-quality reviews to the public on a weekly basis. I went on hiatus recently due to being brain dead from nearly a full year of constant reading/reviewing.

As of now, the hiatus is over. Today I will be sitting in as this session’s reviewer for the Round Robin, and I must say I am thrilled to be here. When I heard the Round Robins were coming, I leapt at the opportunity, and the fact I was accepted despite not being backed by a group makes me a little proud. (Takes a moment to preen.)

For those of you accustomed to my reviewing methods, things are going to be a little different this time. First, I’m going to be reviewing stories from past blogs; second, I will only be reviewing stories that I rated as “Pretty Good” or “Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?”; and third, I will not be reviewing any mature-rated stories. All of this is to meet the criteria of the Round Robin. Those of you interested in seeing my regular review methods – including lower-rated, mature-rated and newly reviewed stories – feel free to go through my existing Thursday Review blogs or visit me every Thursday for new stories.

And now for the real reason you’re all here:

Stories for This Session:

Late Night Reading Buddy by Scout Feather
When The Snow Melts by Bluespectre
Over a Cardboard Sea by SPark
Heads in the Cloud by PresentPerfect
Arthurian—The Black King by Wellspring

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 3
Pretty Good: 2


Late Night Reading Buddy

by Scout Feather
Original Review Date: 04/13/15

Despite the lack of a comedy tag, I half-expected this to be a humorous story. Late Night Reading Buddy involves Rainbow going to Twilight’s place late in the night and asking if they can read together. That’s it, really.

One of the things I really liked about this story is that it showcases a side of Rainbow that isn’t often seen, and yet is entirely believable. In essence, Rainbow has been working unusually hard in the past few weeks, which has kept her from spending any time with her friends, and so she’s getting lonely. This in mind, she reacts to Twilight in a way that is more openly affectionate than would be her norm, and it works well. It’s nice to see Rainbow not trying to put on airs every now and then.

Also, apparently Rainbow has broken so many of the library’s windows that Twilight doesn’t even bother to get angry over it anymore. What is it with RD and windows, anyway?

The story does have its issues. Most prominent is that the narrative is very telly. The way Scout Feather handled this made it more than tolerable for me, and I even enjoyed it, but if you’re one of those ‘Show or Die!’ types it’ll ruin your enjoyment of the story.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


When The Snow Melts

By Bluespectre
Original Review Date: 10/29/15

Oh, but I am a cynical man. I see a story starring Celestia and some human OC and I immediately anticipate a blatant, hideously written self-insert. A self-insert When The Snow Melts may still be, but it’s hard to tell under the circumstances. Starring a mere reed worker named Rush in feudal Japan (or perhaps the equivalent of feudal Japan in the Equestria Girls world), this is a decent story of love and conflict that I didn’t see coming.

In the story, Rush is a bitter war veteran who lives in a little hamlet outside a small farming village, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Meanwhile, Celestia is in the middle of a bloody war with her sister, and her army just got slaughtered in an ill-planned battle. Wounded and on the run from thestrals, Celestia panics and opens a portal into another world in a desperate bid to escape, only to be followed and nearly killed by two of her enemies. It is in this state that she is found by Rush. As Rush tends to her wounds and helps her to heal, the two thestrals that remain have begun a small war of their own; one an honorable leader and warrior, the other driven to madness by war fervor and narcotics.

As I said before, I still suspect this story of being a self-insert. Rush and Celestia fall for one another so quickly it’s unreal, which calls the legitimacy of the entire story into question. I know there’s such a thing as ‘love at first sight,’ but it typically leads to divorce in first year, and I prefer my romances to offer a bit of realism. In Bluespectre’s defense, there are some unusual circumstances and it can be argued that a certain ‘magic’ may have addled our young and not-so-young lovers’ minds. I am willing to be at least somewhat lenient, because there are some hints that this is the case. Not enough to quell my doubts, but they are there.

One thing does please me, though, and makes a strong case for this story: the characters are indeed characters. Rush may seem bitter and angry at the world, but he’s bitter for a very good reason, and while Celestia is a majestic and good pony, her vehement hatred of the thestrals borders on fanaticism. The thestral Thorn is interesting in his own right, going to war and obeying his ‘moon goddess’ without question even as he dreams of a better life for his race.

The young Rend’s madness was also quite believable, although there were times when I felt he’d slipped a little too easily into the villain’s role. Out of all the individuals in this story, he is the one who lacked the most character, which is unfortunate. I judge a story by its villains, and while Rend is an undeniably severe threat, everything about him was too simple to make a lasting impression.

How curious it is, then, that the humans were the most interesting characters. Particularly, the ones who you’d expect to be the bad guys; the local lord, who seems lazy and conceited at first, only to prove an honorable and valiant man when the flames of battle strike, or the local gambling boss – clearly a criminal – working as hard as he can to protect the village and keep order amidst the chaos.

There are, of course, a good number of hiccups in the story. For instance, there’s a blatant lack of information regarding the final fate of several characters, most notably the good warrior Thorn. Then there are the copious grammatical mistakes, although the nature and repetition of said mistakes speaks of a writer with English as a second language. Incorrect punctuation for dialogue and questions were the most common of these, appearing constantly from beginning to end.

None of these are particularly significant gripes, but there was one thing that set my hackles to rise: the capture. I’ll acknowledge that we are dealing with a younger and probably less powerful Celestia, but it’s still Celestia. So when a bunch of measly peasant humans ¼ her size and weight with no magic whatsoever manages to capture and imprison a creature with enough power to move a sun without so much as a casualty, I scoff. Oh, Bluespectre does make an attempt to justify this by saying she didn’t want to harm them, but it’s a feeble excuse. You’ll never be able to convince me that Celestia couldn’t have found a way to get herself and Rush out of there without causing harm to the teeming mass of ignorants.

This one moment was by far the biggest black mark on the entire story. It’s one thing for the author to arrange for something to happen, it’s another entirely to force that something to happen when no realistic means can be found. I was probably supposed to feel Rush’s despair and anger, but all I really felt was anger at the author for making such a poor plot decision. If not for this one tragic flaw, I may have been willing to set this into my favorites shelf.

But fortunately, it’s the only serious flaw in the story – unless you count the blatant Dues Ex Machina that appears in the next-to-last chapter.

The rapid nature of the romance doesn’t appeal to me, the grammatical and stylistic mistakes were constant and the lack of information at the end of the story left me wanting more. Bluespectre also abuses exposition in all the wrong places, frequently giving us extra information that, while interesting, only serves to take away from the scene. Yet the story also hosts strong characters, an interesting and at times suspenseful storyline, and it all takes place in a fully-realized setting of snow, culture and blood.

It’s not the best story I’ve read on this site – not by a long shot – but I am glad I read it. With some polishing and a bit more experience, I think Bluespectre could grow to be one of this site’s better authors. I look forward to reading more in the future.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


Over a Cardboard Sea

By SPark
Original Review Date: 09/03/15

What is that phrase people like to use for stories like this? Oh, right: “Headcanon accepted.”

SPark’s Over a Cardboard Sea was written as a means of explaining what Luna spent the last thousand years doing while on the moon. The answer? Being at war with herself. We get to watch as Luna forgets everything in her mourning, only to struggle to rediscover it and battle her inner demon. Then she finally wins, remembers the pain of her actions, and the cycle starts again. It is a story befitting the nature of Luna (at least, as I see it) and I can’t help but approve.

I want to be nitpicky. I want to find some way to criticize the prose, the dialogue, the style. I can’t. In addition to being an interesting story, it’s also very well written.

What else can I say? Other than that you need to read this story.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?


Heads in the Cloud

by PresentPerfect
Original Review Date: 03/23/15

I have been reviewed by PresentPerfect myself, and I consider him capable and competent in that endeavor, but this was my first time getting to see how he operates as a writer. How often do we see people critique the stories of others and yet have nothing to prove that they have any idea what they’re talking about (and worse, are still taken seriously)? So I have to admit, I was looking forward to seeing if PresentPerfect could deliver.

Heads in the Cloud has a very creative premise, competent writing and an unfortunate lack of ambition. The story involves a re-imagined G1 villain – Catrina – stealing a useless artifact and being targeted by the Mane 6 for capture, but manages to put Rainbow Dash in a coma by an unknown spell. As the story moves (too quickly) forward, Twilight comes to learn that Catrina was attempting to access ‘The Cloud,’ a metaphysical storage for all pony thoughts and memories that literally contains every piece of information in the collective history of ponykind. Every thought, every secret, every memory of every pony, alive or dead.

Simply put, it’s a data server with (presumably) limitless memory.

Twilight discovers that Rainbow’s mental ‘link’ to the Cloud has been severed, and so her consciousness is now trapped in this metaphysical repository. Twilight enters the Cloud to find her friend, only to discover that this was all part of Catrina’s plan from the beginning.

There are a lot of great things about this story. The very idea behind it is fantastic, the writing is excellent and the flow is decent. I have nothing but praise for the concept and, aside from one or two small nitpicks, the delivery is solid. There’s just one problem in all of this: Heads in the Cloud completely fails to live up to its potential. And believe me, there is a ton of potential here.

What happens if the Cloud runs out of space?

Memories can be severed via the Cloud. Does that mean they can also be created?

What happens to a pony trapped in the Cloud?

Could the Cloud potentially apply to concepts such as ghosts and curses?

Does magic let a pony manipulate the Cloud, or does magic come from the Cloud itself?

If a villain like Catrina managed to manipulate the Cloud and change memories, severe links entirely or just take desired knowledge, how would they be stopped? Could they?

And let’s not forget the meta and philosophical possibilities of the entire concept, which PresentPerfect just barely touched upon.

Simply put, while the concept behind this story is great, I was left horribly unsatisfied. This could have been a big story, with the potential to achieve such heights as Background Pony in terms of well-deserved fame. Instead, we get a 15k stub of “here’s a problem, here’s the solution, done.” So much opportunity, cast aside far too easily.

Because Heads in the Cloud so blatantly failed to live up to its potential, I won’t be throwing it into my favorites. Even so, PresentPerfect has proven he can write as well as he can review, and I am still quite pleased with this first foray into his works.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


Arthurian—The Black King

By Wellspring
Original Review Date: 09/10/15

What tales do we conjure with our imaginations, that so many great beings are made whole and beloved in spite of their treachery?

Arthurian—The Black King is a recreation of an Equestrian novelette written by a collector of stories named Whisperwind. The story, written in a form of English representative of medieval tales, is that of Sir Sombra de Onyx; his birth, his life and his downfall. Few figures in Equestrian lore have been written about more than King Sombra, whose history has been recounted over and over again by many an author with many different interpretations. It would be safe to say that the concept is tired.

This story gives it new life.

Written in a semi-historical context, Arthurian—The Black King combines court intrigue, a star-crossed love affair, lives of chivalry and fantastical imagery inspired by the myths of many lands. It is, in a word, brilliant. From Sombra’s birth by the world-serpent Ouroboros, his travels to defeat the Quetzalcotl, his quest to battle the Sphinx to his first meeting with Celestia and Luna, this is a story rife with imagination and flare. Wellspring has created in Sombra a hero cursed by his birth, damned by his sense of chivalry and beloved in his tragedy.

And let us not forget the writing style, which is at once unusual and profoundly appropriate. At first I thought I was seeing typos and mistakes from an author whose native language isn’t English. As time went on – and I read the afterword – I realized that what I was seeing didn’t include mistakes. Or, perhaps more accurate, what I saw was intentional mistakes. Wellspring writes the story in a fashion to suggest that it was penned (quilled?) by a pony living in an age where the language was slightly different from what we know. This suspicion is maintained by the regularity of the supposed errors and their use, which instead speaks of a slight shift in grammar. Seeing this as a nod to potential Equestrian history, I am impressed both by the idea and the fact that the author managed to maintain the formatting throughout the entire story.

Even the plot errors are commendable. Even though there are a number of curious plot holes, these are treated not as mistakes by the author but as mistakes in the history. Some of the plot holes are even directly addressed by the pony author Whisperwind on the odd nature of the story, and later targeted by the last pony to have the story published, Twilight Sparkle. It is then that you realize that the odd quirks of the story are not author mistakes, but intentionally put in to be representative of real-world mythologies and legends that so often skip details or simply leave events unexplained.

This story is thorough, evocative and downright brilliant. It now holds the reins as one of the best stories I have ever read on this site. For your own sake, read it. I couldn’t possibly recommend it more.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?


If you enjoyed these reviews, feel free to check my blog on Thursdays for the latest set! The goal is to write at least five reviews every week. I also accept review requests – see my profile page for more information.

Report Wanderer D · 12,367 views ·
Comments ( 24 )

Just a question. Isn't there 3 "Pretty Good" and 2 "Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?" :rainbowhuh:

Some good recommendations here. Especially Over a Cardboard Moon. Very moving story.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

3817109
Yes and oops. I had to make a last minute change in the story selection and forgot to update those numbers. :twilightblush:

So, last week we had a group that's been around (albeit dying off several times) and this week we have an individual who, while a new voice to the site blog which is nice, dug into the archives of his own reviews instead of finding new fics.

Um... yeah, I'm gonna have to say no good, Paul. This is just lazy.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

3817363
*shrugs*

The Round Robin requires that the stories be of high quality. My regular review blog is about providing a solid, honest opinion on stories in a more general pool. I'm not going to fill my regular review blog with nothing but weak and/or crappy stories just to build up a collection of great stories for this one. That wouldn't be fair to me or my regular readers. I chose for the Round Robin stories that I felt deserved more attention than they already have – that is, in fact, one of the purposes of the Round Robin. If you don't like my decision to make my life a lot easier so I can focus on regularly writing solid reviews according to a fair schedule – which takes a lot of work by itself – and writing my own material, I suggest you look elsewhere.

3817363
In fairness, he wasn't supposed to be 2nd in the order, but the pleasant commentary and reviews group (the original number 2 in the order) weren't ready.

3817402 Never said I had a problem with you promoting solid stories, pal. Hell, I never even implied that you should fill your blog with "weak/crappy stories," but I do appreciate the effort to put words in my mouth. But the most recent review you dusted off was from October. I understand having a schedule, but you mean to tell me that you don't have something from more recent review blogs that you think deserves the attention? Come on now.

3817405 That would bode a problem, and if it had been someone writing new reviews and they were less than thorough, I could sympathize with that. However, by his own response, it doesn't seem like being pushed ahead in order had any bearing on his decision.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

3817426
But I will note that the age of the reviews is of no import. The quality of the stories is. All I did was look through my spreadsheet of stories/authors/ratings and pick a few stories I thought deserved attention.

Aaand I'm done. If you interpreted my attempt to explain my decision as 'feeding words into your mouth,' then I should probably shut up before you interpret anything else I say as passive aggression.

3817448 Hey, you're the one who brought up something I hadn't even mentioned in your reply, bud.

Now I want to ask you a big master review list question and I know you are currently battling sea serpents in abandoned swamps. So I guess I'll just have to wait until you've rejoined human civilization to get my trivial answer.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

3817575
Power has been restored as of 10 minutes ago! Ask thy questions, mortal.

I won't speak for anyone else, however I appreciate a word count included with each story. It saves me from an extra click to check for myself.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

3817458
In that case, please explain, or provide a sample of, how I am meant to defend my reasoning without actually being able to utilize information pertinent to the decision. Or perhaps a means to bringing up that pertinent information without taking on the appearance of "feedings words in people's mouths." Such a lesson would be of great use to me and everyone else reading this.

3817658 You could try defending the point that I did bring up. Which, after moving past the "don't wanna fluff the blog with bad fics" portion of your reply, you did. I happily invite you to find anywhere on this or any forum that I've implied that you should do so. By bringing up that point as one to defend, you make it seem as though I've said you need to change the format or self-imposed quality control on your blog. Far from it. I have no issue whatsoever with your want to promote high quality stories and don't want to increase the number of subpar/crappy stories in your blog. That is your prerogative, and I applaud you for sticking to your standards. I just think you should've done new reviews rather than dusting off old ones.

To be perfectly honest, I was happy to see a new name on the site blog. I don't know you from Bob, so I wanted to see what you had to say about some fics. I even saw a couple I'd read or put on RL on your list. The sole issue I commented on was that you chose to dust a few off rather than promote stories you either a) hadn't promoted before or b) had promoted fairly recently. It looked like you just copy-pasted old reviews so you could fill your round robin spot. And, by your own admission, that's exactly what you did.

In short, I'm pointing out that it seems rather lazy to do so. Hell, RCL features older stories, but they don't copy-paste their old reviews onto the site blog.

Frankly, since you didn't quite get that bringing up a point that didn't need mention was the equivalent to putting words in my mouth, I don't expect you to understand a word of this reply. I'll be damned surprised if you can without asking someone for a proverbial lifeline. If I can be perfectly honest, I started laughing when you replied again after your "Aaaaand I'm done" message. Well done. You've earned your internet cred. Have a cookie.

Wanderer D
Moderator

3817688 I think this is the type of discussion that will quickly deviate into something worse unless you start reining in that undertone there. You might want to take this into PMs if you and 3817658 both wish the discussion to continue.

3817630
You want the review links to aim at your blog with the original reviews, or to these ones?

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

3817737
I agree wholeheartedly. Since I make it a personal rule to quit these sorts of discussions before they can launch – and I already broke that rule as is – I'm going to stop entirely.


3817817
The original, please and thank you.

3817833
Skipping over the comment arguments, let me just congratulate you on this. Great to see more voices, including your thoughtful one, join the site feed.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

3821377
Thanks! I'm hoping to be a little better prepared when my turn comes up next time.

Are these reviews typically so spoilery? I usually read reviews to determine if I want to begin a story.

Good reviews though

Wanderer D
Moderator

3821980 I guess it would depend on who does the reviews. Each reviewer/group has their own style.

Thanks for the review, Paul.
Though it's a shame that there were 3 consecutive words that couldn't make it from the original to here, I'm happy to have to have been featured in the Round Robin.

3821980
Omg, I so totally ruined my reviews! NOO!! :raritydespair:

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