• Member Since 16th May, 2013
  • offline last seen 12 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 · 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.

    Read More

    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

    Read More

    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
Apr
8th
2016

Paul's Thursday Reviews XXX · 12:36am Apr 8th, 2016

Extra naughty edition!

...no, not really, but I know some people are thinking it. Pervs.

Anyway, today was my first day at my new job. It reminds me of why I had these review blogs on the weekends back in the day, and I may move to that schedule again. I haven't made that call yet; we'll wait to see how late I get in from the office every day. I just thought I'd bring it up. Y'know, for future reference.

Not much to say this time, and aside from that I've still got around 30,000 words to read and a story of my own to work on tonight, so let's get cracking!

Stories for This Week:

"It's All Lies And Slander!" by GeodesicDragon
How to be Cruel by Erisn
Barkin's Curse By Drag0nf1y (aka Harry_Jones) (Requested by Harry_Jones)
One Word by BronyWriter (Re-read)
The One Where Pinkie Gets Even by Justice3442 (Completed Story)
Total Word Count: 108,334

Rating System

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


I am not amused.

”It’s All Lies And Slander!” tells the story of the infamous “I” (insert note about how I typically don’t like first person narrative) becoming the target of vicious rumors suggesting she’s a whorse. She and her friends Roseluck, Colgate and Berry Punch promptly set out to determine who is responsible for the rumor.

This story made a wide range of mistakes, starting with cover art that doesn’t fit the story in even a remote sense.

The majority of the story involves the four characters roaming around Ponyville meeting random ponies who spread the rumor. This would have been fine if there was some attempt to do something with these meetings. Instead, we have two or three lightning-fast, dull conversations with no attempt at individualizing character voices and which don’t add to the story in any perceptible way. I wouldn’t have minded that if the meetings added to the intended humor, but they don’t. Indeed, they don’t even try.

Then we throw in a random human. Why is there a human in this story? There’s no reason at all to have the character as a human. The one and only thing this decision does is instantly alienate all the potential readers who hate HiE with a burning passion.

Then we get to the end joke and finally learn who “I” is. I repeat, I am not amused. It was nothing more than stupid wordplay taken to unrealistic proportions. I know this kind of ridiculousness is some people’s cup of tea, but to me it’s more like drinking engine oil.

Yet again, public opinion has failed me.

Bookshelf: None


Do you believe it’s at all possible for kind, sweet, innocent little Fluttershy to become Equestria’s most vicious and capable general and strategist? If not, then go no further. If so… you might find this interesting.

In How to be Cruel, Erisn tackles this subject. The story begins with post-Twilight’s Kingdom Tirek getting a surprise visit from Fluttershy, who announces that she intends to kill him. He find this dubious, naturally, and asks her how she could possibly bring herself to cold-blooded murder. And then we get the meat and bones of the story as Fluttershy relates her personal, violent crusade to defeat post-A Canterlot Wedding Chrysalis and her entire army of changlings in a secret, month-long war in the Everfree.

Some elements of this story are great. Being a fan of military strategy, watching Fluttershy match wits with Chrysalis in an ever-shifting war of attrition was a treat. The combat avoids the finesse of more detailed stories, instead focusing on brutality – which one might argue is a more realistic approach. The constant back and forth and the final confrontation were all thoroughly enjoyable, provided you’re into that sort of thing. Since this made up the brunt of the story, I consider myself more pleased with it than anything else.

Yet there are also a lot of issues in Erisn’s work. Let’s start with the most obvious: Fluttershy’s decline. The story starts off with her being everything we know. Then, she finds herself caught up in the return of the changelings – in a manner entirely beyond her control – and is forced to kill in self defense. This is fine, as is her horror for having done the deed. But then things rapidly go downhill for her, and here’s where my sense of disbelief became strained; Fluttershy’s shift from innocent and kind to cruel and battle ready is fast.

Whether or not her decline into cruelty is too fast or not is up to speculation. To me, it was way too fast. I simply couldn’t believe it, and this put a severe strain on my ability to appreciate her developing character. Sweet and fearful to vicious and bloody in a couple weeks? Not under these circumstances. But again, this is a subjective interpretation; I strongly encourage others to read it and come to their own conclusions. You may think her personality shift is perfectly legitimate within the given timeframe.

Then we have the second issue I had with the story; the sheer ignorance of Fluttershy’s friends. She does what she can to keep them from knowing about her secret war, but it strikes me that the only way her friends wouldn’t know is to be blind, deaf and dumb. The scenes where Fluttershy ‘fools’ them into not knowing anything is going on struck me as silly in almost every instance, to the point that I regularly rolled my eyes at the convenient, contrived nature of it all.

Related to this is that, in order for us to believe this story as legitimate in the canon world (you’ll notice there’s no AU tag), we have to ignore everything we know about Fluttershy between A Canterlot Wedding and Twilight’s Kingdom. I admit I can’t remember every event between the two, but I’m reasonably certain that you can’t apply the events of this story to the events of canon and come out cleanly. This is a minor complaint to me, but I know there are those who will latch onto it as if Erisn had sinned against God Himself, so I thought it beared mentioning.

Last but not least, we have the narrative. Obvious typos frequent every chapter. Word repetition rears its ugly head all over the place. Even worse is the thought repetition, in which Erisn tells us something one way and then repeats the exact same information in another. I’m sure it is meant to be thematic and atmospheric; it comes out as redundant and annoying, and it is everywhere. Add to this the expositiony nature of every detail we do or do not need, often in tension-killed tangents, and I found the narrative as a whole to be the story’s dominant flaw.

Erisn, I strongly recommend getting some editors.

And there’s one last thing I simply must point out:

For just a moment, Tirek had lived in that world. It was entrancing – if he didn’t know better, he would have sword that Fluttershy’s cutie mark should have been a quill and ink, rather than three pink butterflies.

Eeeyeah, how about no? I only show two sentences here, but this is at the end of a 184 word section in which Tirek is reflecting on how amazing a storyteller Fluttershy is. Now, I will grant that in context this should be interpreted exactly like that, but to a certain degree it felt like the author was boasting. If Erisn reads this I’m sure they’ll deny it, and the denial has the virtue of probably being honest, but that doesn’t change the way it sounds. It’s just one small section in over 86,000 words, but it stuck with me to the very end, which is why I point it out now. It’s okay to praise a character’s storytelling ability, but that becomes tricky when praising that character has the added side effect of praising your own.

So, put simply: be cautious.

Now, from reading all of this, one might think that I didn’t like the story. On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fluttershy’s character development is fascinating even if I feel it was rushed, the constant strategy and scheming held my attention, the fighting was great (albeit brutal enough for me to question the T rating), and the overall plot was competently devised.

I look upon this story positively, even with its myriad flaws. It held my attention well enough to deserve a high rating, and you can bet I’ll be reading the sequel.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


Barkin's Curse

Drag0nf1y (AKA Harry_Jones) failed to provide cover art. Not his fault, though; fanfiction.net was never image-savvy.
Requested by Harry_Jones

Here we have another curious request. Harry_Jones – a frequent commenter of my works – approached me asking if I would review his first story ever. The catch: not only is it not written on FIMFiction, it’s not even My Little Pony! No, he wanted me to review a Kim Possible fanfiction he wrote over on FanFiction.net. Since I’d only recently agreed to read Viking ZX’s original story Dead Silver, I figured it would only be appropriate for me to agree to this too. Besides, even though I’ve only seen a half-dozen episodes or so, I actually really like the Kim Possible series.

Barkin’s Curse is an extremely short story (<1,000 words!) in which we learn of the greatest fear of Kim Possible’s teacher, Mr. Barkin. It happens to be the Possible kids.

The story is brief, to the point, and 100% silly nonsense. In that third category, it isn’t my cup of tea. There’s no purpose or ulterior theme to this story, it’s just a little something intended to make fans smile. Unfortunately, I know Mr. Barkin in the same way I know about astrophysics, which is not at all, so I’m afraid the humor didn’t touch me. But in all honesty, I don’t think it would have in the first place, because I recognize the kind of humor being used and it’s never appealed to me. You more knowledgeable fans of the Kim Possible series, however, might find it hilarious.

The story suffers from a few typos, but not enough to be an issue. I was more annoyed by the formatting, which included the entire first half of the story written in italics for no good reason (no, it being a dream sequence doesn’t count). The overall presentation isn’t attractive at all, but that is hardly the writer’s fault; FanFiction.net itself earns zero points for aesthetics.

This is a story meant for knowledgeable Kim Possible fans with a willingness to laugh at pointless humor. For me, it didn’t do much. Even so, there’s nothing so wrong with this story as to make it outright bad. Plain? Sure. Bad? No. I shall give it a mildly favorable rating; it achieves its simple goal and will appeal to the target audience, of which I am clearly not a member.

Bookshelf: Worth It


In BronyWriter’s One Word, we get to look into the thoughts of Diamond Tiara as her actions at school finally begin to catch up with her. Written long before the airing of Crusaders of the Lost Mark, the story tells of how Diamond isn’t really aware of the pain her cruel words cause her fellow classmates. One day, Ms. Cheerilee calls her in to not only reveal the truth, but to warn that the harshest consequence she can offer is on the table. For the first time, Diamond comes to realize her situation, and the effect this has on her is profound.

But not enough.

All in all, I enjoyed this. It’s a well written story that feels very real and hits hard just like DT herself. The depiction of her and Ms. Cheerilee is great – good enough that I could actually hear their respective voices in my head, which is no small thing.

The only serious complaint I have regarding this story is that the events occur too quickly. Given the context of the story’s background, the method is understandable, but that doesn’t make it mesh with reality. We’re expected to believe that after so much time of viciousness and ignorance, not to mention dozens of lectures from Cheerilee, we’re expected to believe that this talk is suddenly, miraculously enough to change DT’s way of thinking. Not buying it.

But, ignoring that lone error in judgement, I heartily approve of this story. It works wonderfully to achieve its purpose.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


I’ve always wanted to see Discord and Pinkie go at it in a rather unfriendly manner. In The One Where Pinkie Gets Even, that’s exactly what happens. Taking place after Twilight’s Kingdom, the story opens with the revelation that Discord is as harmful and ignorant of the mayhem he causes as ever. After inviting each of the Mane 6 to his house one at a time and making a royal jerk of himself, Pinkie decides it’s time settle the score. What follows is a malicious prank war of reality-breaking proportions.

The first thing to mention is that I don’t like this view of Discord. Or, to be more precise, I don’t like this view of Discord at this time in the FIM timeline. I feel as though Discord’s maturity level is high enough by this point that he wouldn’t be as wantonly destructive as we see in this story. It’s not a huge complaint – just change when the story happens and the problem goes away – but it bugged me enough that I felt it warranted mentioning.

Other than that? I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The story is amusing from beginning to end, the characters are generally spot on, the lesson learned – well, sort of learned – is good, and the writing is decent. I did flinch at the highly unadvised use of all caps to indicate screaming, which is never a good decision, but as this is a story about Discord I was willing to let the quirks go. I also enjoyed the frequent meta jokes, especially regarding Why Is She Here.

Oh, and this story is being added to the evidence of Octavia being the Best Background Pony.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good


Liked these reviews? Check out some others:

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
Paul's Thursday Reviews Have Returned!
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXIX

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

Report PaulAsaran · 893 views ·
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 11 )

Extra naughty edition!

Lies and slander! You didn't review a single clopfic. :raritydespair:

Interesting set of stories, regardless.

The XXX went right over my head. It actually took me about a minute to remember that the Roman Numeral for thirty can also represent smut.

I am such a nerd. :facehoof:

Thanks for the review Paul. :twilightsmile: I'll remember the Italics thing for future. :twilightblush:

Interesting set of stories and great work as always!

When mine gets reviewed, it will likely fall under None or Not Bad. I look forward to defeat.

3857220 I see you have plenty of stories. Your lack of confidence suggests the lack of constructive criticism in comments is extremely low. "How do you know if your own work is shit if nobody is around or has the guts to say it's shit? Or where to improve."

You just have to keep going and don't despair, for one can never improve their skill unless they can cope with failure and try harder next time.

Perhaps you have the story you wish reviewed on Fimfic; I can read it. I've got dozens of books read and have been writing for two years. In total of bout 200-300k words from when I started. I can at least give you a better idea on what to expect from this amazing reviewer.

Or you can completely ignore this comment.

3857305 I've asked him to review Cadance's Musings. It kinda blew up on this site and I was hoping he would tell me why.

3857320 Alright. Expect a comment on the story from me within the hour. I know shit when I see it...unless it's mine.

Thanks for the review Paul!

I really am grateful for my first net-postive review, and I'm glad you liked my story despite it's numerous failings. I do agree with most of what you said, and I'll have to find an editor quite soon. I've never had one and thought I could get away without one -- that is certainly coming back to bite me now.

And I am sorry about the unfortunate passage you mentioned. I'd like to claim that no backslapping was intended when I wrote it, but I honestly can't remember. I can completely see why you didn't like it. If I ever do get back to fixing my old stories, I'll take a chainsaw to that and the other unnecessary narrative bits.

On that note, I'd warn you that How to Be Kind might be all of How to be Cruel's problems coming home to roost...it certainly felt like it on the writing side. I just finished the last chapter though, so feel free to read and cringe.

Anyways, thanks for the review! It always helps to have someone really tell you what they liked and didn't like. Even if the truth is painful!

3857970
Glad to hear you being so positive about it! How to be Kind is currently on my Sequels list, which means I'll be getting to it faster than I would regular stories in my RiL, but it's still going to be a long time. That list has come to grow larger than even my requests list.

Well what got through to her this time is the real, permanent consequences this time around. She doesn't care if she gets suspended for a week. She'll hang out in her room and get together with Silver Spoon after school. Expulsion is a different matter entirely. That would completely change her life, and she realized this time how much she was hurting Cheerilee, a mare she actually respected.

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!