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Apr
14th
2016

First Impression Reviews: Episode Four · 9:28pm Apr 14th, 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!



Pride or Joy by Mister Friendly
Rating: Teen
Tags: Adventure, Romance, Thriller
Summary: Set in the Nightmare Moon Takeover Timeline of the Season 5 Finale.
When Nightmare Moon cast down Princess Celestia and rose to power in Equestria, Rainbow finally found some sense of pride as one of her chosen Night Guard; pegasi empowered by Nightmare Moon herself as her elite soldiers.
When Rainbow joined the Night Guard, she met Applejack, the only pony she felt she could ever truly rely on. The only pony who ever gave her a sense of joy in her otherwise dreary life.
But when Rainbow discovers a terrible secret hidden by her closest of companions, she will find herself with a difficult choice: Choose her pride as one of Nightmare Moon's finest, or the one thing that brought joy to her life.
Grammar: 4/5 - Word repetition in the first paragraph. Various random typos. Nothing too bad, though.

My Thoughts: I’ve been meaning to read more AU stories from the Season 5 finale. That episode presented so many awesome possibilities. The two I found most intriguing was from Nightmare Moon and Queen Chrysalis. In the former AU, it has ripe potential for a gothy, Tim Burton-esque Equestria. A skilled writer can really do a lot with that atmosphere alone. In this story’s case, I particularly liked that ponies can be “transformed” into bat ponies. They call it the “night’s blessing.” Yeah, I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

Pride or Joy opens up on a grim note for an AppleDash shipfic. No spoilers here, as it’s the very beginning of the fic, but Rainbow Dash is pursuing Applejack with the apparent intent to kill. I was really hoping the author wouldn’t go through with that--the tags suggested that a bittersweet ending was possible at least. If there’s really character death, I would have appreciated a dark and/or tragedy tag. I suppose this is a thriller, and the prospect of a character dying is certainly thrilling, but... I'm such a delicate soul. :fluttercry:

Anyway--

The story flashes back a few hours, and it seems things take place soon after Twilight Sparkle teleports in from the main universe and denies Nightmare Moon Starswirl the Bearded’s time travel spell. The queen is quite displeased about this, and Rainbow Dash discusses the aftermath of the momentous event with a fellow guard pony. I like this version of RD--the way her loyalty is twisted to serving this evil ruler. None of the other Main 6 can really boast the malleability of her virtue. Fluttershy cannot be genuinely kind and cruel or evil at the same time, for instance. So I dig it when people take the opportunity to put Rainbow Dash’s loyalty to the test in stories in imaginative ways.

The one nitpick I have with her characterization here is that she apparently has completely forgotten what the world was like before. I’m not sure why a pony who had lived in Ponyville for years would manage to forget its name, or how RD could possibly forget what the sun felt like when Celestia ruled for most of her young life. If it was the author’s intent to change these canon details, then they probably should have made that clearer from the get-go.

I was really liking the imagery of Pride or Joy -- it’s somber, but beautiful. For instance:

She turned her attention upward, towards the dazzled night sky. The profound clarity of her eyes showed her the immense tapestry of stars overhead, countless in number. Situated in their midst was the moon itself, shining with an odd iridescent hue, the same way it had since Nightmare Moon’s victory.

Applejack’s characterization is also really cool. I like how she’s some battle-hardened earth pony that’s treated like a second-class citizen. It makes for some really interesting tension. Rainbow’s loyalty to her feels very stirring, too.

Final Verdict: I really liked this, and I can definitely recommend it. It’s a one-shot, and I got through most of it in one sitting. (I didn't finish it, so I can't comment on the ending. That's not really the goal of these reviews anyway.) Great read if you want something dark, gritty, and thrilling!

EDIT: Whoops! I dunno why I thought this was a one-shot. It's not. This hasn't been updated since December, which is something to keep in mind. The author might still get back to it, but you never know...



Princess Celestia's Newest Arch Enemy by naturalbornderpy
Rating: Everyone
Tags: Comedy, Random, Slice of Life
Summary: When a colt named "Bad Dude" storms into Celestia's personal study and declares himself as her latest arch enemy, the Princess can't help but nearly gush from the sight. As perhaps the cutest villain Celestia has ever encountered, she hurriedly calls for Luna to meet him as well.
But is there more to "Bad Dude" than his cute exterior would suggest?
No. No there is not.
Grammar: 4/5 - Mostly typos. And again with the spaces after ellipses thing. Gaiz… Gaiz y u do dis… Stahp it… PLZ. (But on the whole, pretty solid writing.)

My Thoughts: Hilarious. Cute. Kind of heart-warming. If you’re feeling depressed, or in need of a quick “d’awww!” moment, this is the fic to read. I’m kind of struggling on what else to say here… It’s a fairly straightforward little story, and it’s so short that I fear ruining it by giving the jokes away. I like how Princess Celestia is portrayed here--patient, warm, and loving. A bit taken aback by the unusual situation, but she can think on her hooves. Bad Dude might give you diabetes. Is that an off-color thing to say? P’shaw, political correctness is overrated…

Final Verdict: I definitely recommend this one! It’s a great and amusing read, and certainly worth the time of anyone who loves a healthy dose of “cute” in their stories.


Current To-Read Count: 176/184

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