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First Impression Reviews: Episode One · 8:45pm Apr 11th, 2016

Below are two fanfic reviews based purely on the initial impressions provided by the first chapter (or first 3k words.) For an outline of what my reviewing guidelines are, go here. Please do not request reviews!

Progress by Andrew Joshua Talon
Rating: Everyone
Tags: Comedy
Summary: A thousand years is quite the generation gap, so Princess Luna decides she has to get with the times. However, this isn't quite as easy as she thinks it will be…
Grammar: 3/5 - Punctuation issues (incorrect ellipses use, overabundant ellipses, and missing commas), word mix-up (“formally” instead of “formerly”), contraction confusion (“it’s” when it should have been “its”)

My Thoughts:
This was literally the first story I added to my “to-read” list upon joining FimFiction. It seemed cute, and the cover art made me chuckle. I enjoy comedy, but I’m rather picky about what I will read in that genre. At the very least, I have to find the writing clever on some level, and it must be able to get me to genuinely smile (if not outright laugh.) The timing of this is important. I need my comedies to get the lolz started pretty quick, otherwise I move on.

So I was a bit disappointed that the beginning of this fic saw fit to awkwardly outline the things Princess Luna understands as a set-up to what she does not. I really would have preferred if the author had just cut to the chase and focused more on Luna’s struggle with a microwave (as the chapter had promised) instead of dedicating four hundred of its opening words (a little over half a MS Word page) to what is essentially pure exposition. I didn’t feel it was necessary to the punchline, and it really weakened the delivery, IMO.

+1 for the abacus joke. I did like that one. Too bad it was in the later half of the chapter, and also the only thing to get me to smile. Briefly.

Final Verdict: I won’t be continuing this one. I think the concept is great, but I felt the author missed the mark.

It's Always Sunny in Fillydelphia by bobcat
Rating: Everyone
Tags: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
Summary: When Applejack goes with Rainbow Dash on a trip to Fillydelphia, she learns that life doesn't always go according to plan... and that can lead to something better.  Written because I wanted to do my take on a shipfic, minus what always annoyed me.
Grammar: 3/5 - Using double quotation marks for thoughts (a pet peeve of mine). It’s true that this could be forgiven if the author is at least consistent, but for the most part, the publishing world prefers that double quotation marks be reserved for spoken dialogue, and I’m afraid I agree with this standard. Since thoughts with double quotes in fanfiction is so prevalent, I find myself having to forgive this a lot. Doesn’t mean I like it. There was also some word repetitions, incorrect ellipses use, one missing comma, a floating period, and a missing article.

My Thoughts:
As this is a one-shot, I only read the first 3k words.

The story jumps right into the plot by having Applejack invite Rainbow Dash to Fillydelphia to attend an apple convention with her. It feels a tad bit convenient, and by that I mean that the set-up feels simple to the point that I wonder why we couldn’t just skip straight to the trip itself. I also get the impression that the author is making every effort to capture the essence of the show, but with these rather heavy-handed references. For example:

She was bouncing like Pinkie Pie on Winter Solstice morning.

She was starting to break into a Pinkie Pie sized grin.

Those were both within the same page. This lacks finesse, thus ruining my immersion. It’s like the story is trying to remind me I’m reading an MLP fanfic. It’s a thing I see authors do all the time, and I never seem to understand it. I mean--I get it. References are fun, and are of course, expected. Fanfiction can hardly get by without harkening back to its canon material in some form or manner. But it is possible for references to be disruptive when they are mishandled. There are more instances of this throughout.

There’s also a bit of noticeable telling versus showing going on that’s also preventing my immersion. And I find Applejack’s speech to be laid on a bit thick. I don’t mind dialects being reflected visually, but I’m of the opinion that “less is more.” Sometimes the mere suggestion of an accent works better than trying to illustrate that through constant weird word spellings and informal contractions. I also don’t know why Rainbow Dash would know what ‘ergonomic’ means, or why Applejack would be fussing about bad grammar. That seems a bit out of character for both of them.

The writing certainly does have its moments. I loved the mail scam joke with Twilight Sparkle, that actually made me chuckle. The bit where Applejack learns that Applecon was canceled was executed well. I also like how the author paints AJ out as some kind of apple nerd. It’s a pretty great characterization angle that I’m surprised more people don’t pursue.

Final Verdict: While I felt this story did have its upsides, I’m afraid there just wasn’t enough here to get me to keep reading. I just couldn’t immerse myself in it. The grammar mistakes I could forgive, but the overall characterizations just didn’t find their mark with me. I won’t be continuing this one.

Current To-Read Count: 182/184

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Comments ( 3 )

I think the "To-Read Count" is a nice touch. Gives us an idea of where you're at.

3863849 Thanks! I think it'll be a good way to motivate myself. :pinkiehappy:

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