• Member Since 16th May, 2013
  • offline last seen 32 minutes ago

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

    Read More

    16 comments · 271 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 · 310 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 · 351 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
Mar
24th
2016

Paul's Thursday Reviews Have Returned! · 4:25pm Mar 24th, 2016

Despite the best efforts of my computer, that is. Keyboard decided to not work this morning. Jokes on it; I still have my trusty laptop!

And we're back, folks! The post-season (or would it be pre-season by now?) hiatus has come to an end and I am here to resume providing you all with a weekly dose of reviewing goodness. In truth, I meant for this to happen last Thursday. Mother nature decided it was having none of that. But the flood waters have receded, I have power again and a set of stories just waiting to be viewed.

Before I get into the stories, I'd like to announce a change. As many of you may know, I am now an active member of the Round Robin Reviews group – you can find my first set here. The first review set caught me off guard, and I wasn't willing to go through my backlogged review set trying to pick out good reviews for it, so I just rehashed some old reviews. However, I'm going to try not to do that in the future. To accommodate this, I've set some new policies in place. You can check my user page for all the details, but the important stuff is thus:

1) For every week's set of reviews, if I find stories I think deserve the extra attention, I will pull those stories from that week's set for the Round Robin. I will pull no more than two stories from any given week. If stories are pulled from a week's set, stories from the next scheduled set will be pushed forward to take their place in the current one. If this means that the set isn't ready in time for publication, I'll skip a blog week to give myself more time.

2) Because the above rule could lead to unpredictable review sets, I'm no longer including the "Stories for Next Week" section. Don't want to lie to people, after all. Once I know for certain what the next review set will include, I will have that information on my user page.

Alright, that's that. Shall we begin?

Stories for This Week:

Stupid, Sexy Twilight! by TheNewYorkBrony
Angel Kisses by Vanilla Mocha
Celestia's Surprise for Twilight by DarkTwily (Requested by Cerulean Voice)
I Forgot I Was There by GaPJaxie (Re-Read)
Twilight Sparkle's Report on Fluctuations Of The Local Entropic Gradient And A Proposed Solution by alarajrogers (Prequel to Discord in Hell (Not Literally))
Total Word Count: 123,449

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 0
Pretty Good: 1
Worth It: 3
Needs Work: 1
None: 0


Stupid, tall cover art! If I didn't hate using this laptop, I'd start enforcing the image sizing limitations I've been thinking about doing for these things.

This is everything I expected, but not quite with the same delivery. In the very brief Stupid, Sexy Twilight!, TheNewYorkBrony puts us in the head of Sunset Shimmer as she watched the Equestria Girls sing… well, Equestria Girls, in the CHS cafeteria. Amusingly, amidst her anger and hate she can’t help but think of just how hot Twilight is.

There’s nothing at all to this story. It’s silly for the sake of being so, and if you’re going in for that kind of thing then you’ll be pleased. If you’re looking for something with depth, look elsewhere. The good news is that the story achieves exactly what it wanted to, but I would have preferred something with a little more meat (uh, I mean, in an entirely non-sexual way (ack, images!)).

I’m placing this one in the middle ground. I really think this concept could have been milked a little more.

Bookshelf: Worth It


A short little story about a filly Applejack who gets frustrated to tears when the local kids tease her for her freckles. When Granny Smith only partially manages to console the miserable filly, shy colt Caramel shows up to finish the job.

This story has a number of issues that got in the way of my enjoyment. The most blatant is an abundance of telly narrative that bleeds the emotions away from most of the dialogue. A few examples:

"I... I was at school, a-and, I... I was laughed at." Applejack stuttered.

Yes, we can see she’s stuttering from how the dialogue is written. It should probably also be pointed out that there are some writers/reviewers out there who believe that actually writing in the stuttering is always the wrong thing to do. I disagree with them, but the point remains that for some this is a heavy blow.

"Now now, Applejack. I'm sure they are jest jealous of your freckles, an' they tease ya' 'bout it so they don't feel as bad." Her granny tried to comfort her.

Once again, the narrative repeats exactly what the dialogue is already telling us.

"Wha- no." The colt said shyly.

This is less of a mistake compared to the others, but it appears often enough that it becomes a major issue simply from overabundance. There are far better ways to indicate a shy manner than to outright tell the reader it is so.

Add to this some LUS, some ‘meh’ atmosphere and copious grammatical issues. Last but not least, Applejack’s and Granny Smith’s accents are made apparent in the dialogue – again, not something that I don’t like. But one should always keep in mind that there are people who treat written accents in the same way they might treat a child molester.

Above all else, this story doesn’t really ‘do’ anything. It’s short, fast and doesn’t seem to convey any meaningful purpose other than to show Caramel comforting Applejack with a sweet story regarding the origin of freckles. Maybe if Vanilla Mocha had made this into something a little bigger, but as it is it just doesn’t stand out to me.

Bookshelf: Needs Work


I can sum up all my thoughts for this story in just seven words: “What the fuck did I just read?”

But that wouldn’t make for a very good review.

Celestia’s Surprise for Twilight begins with Celestia taking Twilight to some back room in the castle and declaring her love for her young student. Twilight promptly returns the feelings and is prepared to give herself to her mentor, but Celestia’s plans for Twilight’s first time in bed lean towards the bloody… or, I should say, morbid. Be forewarned, not only is this story mature and possessing clop, but it actually qualifies as ‘guro.’ What is guro, you ask?

Guro is sexual arousal derived from extreme – and typically fatal – gore. You can find art for this kind of thing all over the internet; it makes for a fascinating and unquestionably disturbing study. It also does absolutely nothing for me, so to say I wasn’t turned on by this story would be an extreme understatement. Part of that has to do with the complete ridiculousness of the concept – Twilight actually derives sexual arousal in this story because Celestia is licking her exposed heart just prior to surgically removing it.

Sorry, but dying doesn’t really appeal to me on any level, much less a sexual one.

This story was advertised to me as a test of trust between two lovers. It struck me instead as totally unrealistic and silly. Even if we’re talking about Twilight – who we all know worships the ground Celestia walks on – you’ll never be able to convince me that she’s going to continue to love, and indeed feel even stronger romantic feelings towards, her mentor while her organs are being removed and she’s about to die. Granted, she doesn’t die, but she had every reason to expect otherwise. You find me someone who honestly says they love you while you’re emptying their insides and they’re seconds from death, and I’ll be wondering what was really in those drugs you fed them (while calling the cops).

And yes, Celestia did force drugs into Twilight’s system.

But what about the quality of the story itself?

For starters, the beginning could use a lot of work. It jumps directly into: “Twilight, I love you.” “I love you too, Celestia. Let’s have sex!” “Okay, just relax.” It’s an uninteresting, boilerplate opening that left a bad taste in my mouth.

As for the actual sexual events and the ending, those were written fairly well. There were a few repetitious points that could have been avoided or reworded to improve the flow and readability, but nothing too serious, and the author did a decent job at pacing out the events. I’d like to speak positively about the descriptions and depictions, because I was indeed sick to my stomach from them, but I’m not sure if my reaction had to do with the description or my disgust with the events in and of themselves. I suppose that, since the events were so unusual in the overall depiction and interpretation, that DarkTwily earns points for creativity.

Now if only the story had a purpose to it other than “Celestia guts Twilight like a fish, and they both enjoy it.”

So, is it a good story? I guess that depends upon the reader. For me, it’s a lot too weird and unrealistic for my tastes. But it is well written (opening aside) and it has a very creative slant. The author took a big risk and got mixed results, but I can’t blame DarkTwily for the attempt. At the very least, it makes for interesting study material. I would recommend it on condition that you can stomach it and aren’t understandably offended by the entire premise, so I’m taking the middle ground on my rating.

Bookshelf: Worth It


There are times when even I don’t know what I was thinking.

I Forgot I Was There is the very first story I ever read by GaPJaxie, and it left a good impression on me. The story tells of how Twilight, obsessed with the idea of magical exploration, decides to try out one of Starswirl’s forgotten spells that would supposedly double her magical power. This proves predictably misleading, for when Twilight finishes she finds that she’s given her own reflection life. Now there are two Twilights roaming the world, perfectly identical in every way.

Most authors would approach this as an opportunity for humor, silliness and general absurdity with some supposedly feel-good lesson in the middle. GaPJaxie earns credit by approaching this with utmost seriousness, and the results are great. The story acts almost like a character study as Twilight, forced to stand face to face with her own flaws, grows increasingly frustrated and bitter, and her clone reacts in kind.

What I like most about this story is that GaPJaxie does a great job of capturing Twilight as a character. It’s hard to tell if the clone really is exactly like Twilight or if Twilight’s personality was split in two. Either way, watching her behavior and steadily seeing her inner conflict unfold was a treat. And it’s not just Twilight who is well-presented here; everyone from Applejack to Spike got their moments to shine, revealing weaknesses, mistakes, faults and strengths in near equal measure. I was especially pleased with the handling of Luna, Celestia and Discord, each of whom were wholly believable in their response to the slowly growing identity crisis of Twilight and Sparkle.

Also, Rarity and her novelettes. Perfect.

The pacing is steady and strong, the emotions are powerful, the reactions are real. The grammar and typos are an issue early on, but get smoothed over significantly when a couple editors get called in. The story also proves unorthodox in that, where most authors would probably engage Twilight and Sparkle in some kind of epic magic duel, this story moves on quietly, resolving its issues through time, stubbornness and, ultimately, communication.

I did have one or two complaints. Most of them were minor. I think the biggest issue I had with the story was its ending, which lumped months of events into a very rapid explanation in order to jump to the author’s desired conclusion. Still, I cannot fault GaPJaxie too much in this decision, mostly because I am guilty of doing it myself once or twice.

With all the good that exists in this story, I have only one question: why the hay did I lump it with a “Needs Work” rating? Again, sometimes even I don’t know what I’m doing. Suffice it to say, that was an injustice that shall now be rectified.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


In Discord in Hell (Not Literally), we learned that Discord decided to have some fun by visiting an alternate dimension, but got captured by a group of Element Bearers who had been corrupted by that world’s now deceased version of himself. The overall story was rather ‘meh,’ but the concept intrigued me enough that I was interested in seeing what alarajrogers would do with it.

This story takes place prior to Discord’s desperate plea for help and is another letter. This one is written by Corrupted Twilight to Corrupted Celestia, and is an entirely clinical review on what Discord is, with the ultimate conclusion that Discord must be ‘tamed’ as a weapon to spread harmony and order (with emphasis on order) to the world. Clearly, her proposal was accepted.

This story is better than its predecessor in some ways. For one, it feels more like an actual letter or report, which was the big complaint I had with Discord’s supposedly desperate – yet somehow very long and descriptive – letter for help. The letter also does a decent job of revealing some background of the world, including such horribly depressing things as the permanent death of Princess Luna and apparently deteriorating state of Equestria’s culture. I found the entirety of it interesting simply from the perspective that we see so much in so little.

At the same time, some people may find the technical writing style dull, despite the fact that it is truly necessary under the unusual circumstances. Moreover, grammatical issues still show up throughout the story. Normally, they wouldn’t be enough to be a serious detractor, but since this is Twilight – and a corrupted Twilight at that, who now takes on Order as her Element – any mistake at all is a glaring one.

All in all, I think this was decent, but it may not interest people who haven’t read the original. I think the two could have played on one another a little more, although I’ll acknowledge that it’s hard to plan for such things. When it comes down to it, I’m fairly certain this story was made for fans – or, like me, the curious – of the original, and it shows. But I can say one thing for certain:

I really want to read the sequel.

Bookshelf: Worth It


Liked these reviews? Check out some others:

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
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXV
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXVI
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXVII

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

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Comments ( 10 )

Despite some reader complaints about the ending of I Forgot I Was There, I considered it absolutely perfect. My only complaint is I forgot to stick it in my Favorites list, which I have fixed now.

you think you could look at some of mine when you have free time?

Oh god Celestia's Surprise for Twilight.

This is why I leave my Mature filter on. Even though there are authors such as yourself who write mature stories.

3824727
I can, but the timing is up to you. I could just put one or two of your stories in my RiL, but if I do it will literally take over a year to get a review. Alternatively, you could request a review for a specific story, in which case it will only take a month or two (yeah, I'm that far behind).

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

licking her exposed heart

NO NO NO NO

NOPE NOPE NOPE

ABORT ABORT

WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

3824826 Ok, thanks for getting back to me. there is one, and i dont mind how long it takes you. im pretty good understanding how busy reviewers get.

Heres the link to the one i'd like checked.

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/312327/shattered-harmony-the-corruption-of-twilight

3825259
Very well, I've got you on the list. Be warned; I don't sugarcoat.

3825314 im not that worried. ive been dealing with harsh criticism my entire life, i'm used to it when it comes to my art or writing. dont worry, i wont bit your head off k?

I remember I Forgot I Was There.

I was reading it and thinking "Wait, what?" at the end. Was absolutely fantastic though.

Good to have your reviews back!!:pinkiehappy:

.

.

You too... I guess...:trollestia:

3826195

I remember I Forgot I Was There.

Wut? :applejackconfused: (I know what you mean, but that sentence just seams so weird.)

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