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First Impression Reviews: Episode Nine · 9:54pm Apr 22nd, 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!

This episode is dedicated to the late Prince. This is what it sounds like when doves cry...

Purple Rain by CoffeeMinion
Rating: Everyone
Tags: Drama, Sad
Summary: Among the host of backup dancers and stagehooves supporting Countess Coloratura is a unicorn with a small but important role:  Activating her voice-changing amulet.
But that unicorn's place in the world of music wasn't always so small.  There was a time when he was every bit the star that she is now.
One night she changes her act, firing her longtime manager and choosing to let her natural voice shine.  And the unicorn finds himself with time to ponder what this means; both for the Countess, and for his dreams of making a comeback...
Grammar: 4/5 - My newest pet peeve with new sentences after ellipses not being capitalized was present. I’m wondering if there’s a grammar guide out there I don’t know about that has so many people doing this. I’m baffled at its prevalence. Also…”riffling”? Did the author mean rifling?

My Thoughts:

In honor of Prince’s unexpected passing, I decided to bump this fic up in my queue for review. By the time I came across this story in the feature box, my MLP fic tastes had been more developed, and it wasn’t quite the sort of thing I would typically go for. BUT, I was so taken by the clever idea that I knew I had to give it a shot. That, and I really like Prince. I have the Purple Rain album on CD, vinyl, and digital. That’s how freaking good it was.

So did this story do its namesake any justice?

At just under 1,500 words, this was a really quick read. This story is set during the Coloratura episode, The Mane Attraction. Purple has been cut out of Rara’s set after she decides to be herself and fires Svengallop. I found myself carried through the fic, interested to learn about Purple Rain and his sorrowful recollection of the past. This leads to an interesting moment between him and his former music manager. (I don’t know if the manager’s name would actually constitute spoilers, but I’ll treat it that way anyway.) I thought it was well-written, if sparse. It’s my opinion that this idea could have used with a bit of expansion.

The ending feels a bit abrupt, and you get this sense of incompletion on the part of us the readers. It’s fine if a character doesn’t achieve what they want in a story, but I find myself asking, “What did this story accomplish?” It seems to suggest a reconciliation of sorts between Purple Rain and his former manager, but it feels lacking. So the manager is sorry… So what? We don’t even get an idea as to what Purple Rain will do now that he’s essentially been axed from Coloratura’s show.

Final Verdict:
I recommend this one, but it has some caveats. I think it was well-written, and some might think the story is fine on its own, but it’s my personal opinion that the story ending could have been developed more. I kind of also wished it had more to do with the man who inspired Purple Rain's name, but its quality makes up for the lack of relation.

The Quiet Place by Aynine
Rating: Teen
Tags: Adventure, Dark, Romance
Summary: Twilight lives a comfortable, expected life with the security of being surrounded by her mentors and friends. As she grows into a model unicorn, a dangerous being takes hold of the potentially volatile Brood and drives them to war, breaking a long period of peace. After years of preparation for a higher order, Twilight is chosen to ascend beyond that of a typical sorcerer in a mysterious plan to counter the impending conflict.
During her dark, trying mission, Twilight will discover a caged soul and unknowingly set them free, gradually acquiring an affinity for the darkness as a result. As she struggles within deepening conflict, she must cast aside doubt and fight for what she believes in. With manipulation, deceit, and betrayal storming around her, will she be able to contain herself and protect those she loves, or will she succumb to the creeping darkness and abandon everything she stands for?
Grammar: 4/5 - I believe the first sentence needs a comma after “dirt”. There was also a moment I thought could have benefited with a dialogue tag for a new speaker.

My Thoughts:

The earth pony held a hoof out to his side. In a small flash of white, a beautiful and brilliant white staff appeared in his grasp, gleaming ominously in the moonlight.

I’m curious to see how the author will explain an earth pony casting magic. It could be that he has a magical item that he’s wearing. That’s the only way I can guess he would make that work. Also… I’m sorry, how did the pony grasp the staff? Certainly not with his hoof. With the first bend in his leg, I hope? Some think that’s awkward, but I prefer it to the cartoon logic seen in the show.

The descriptions work, but I do kind of wish they had a bit more oomph to them. There’s a few good lines here and there, but for the most part, the imagery feels typical and even a bit cliched. The dialogue is interesting. Not perfect, in my opinion--I think the back and forth could use with some more fluidity. It feels a bit stilted. Some authors struggle with archaic and “epic-y” speech, and it certainly can be hard getting it to sound natural. But it’s not horrible, and it could just be my personal taste quibbling over details.

What I really do like is the set-up. I know alicorn OCs are generally disliked, but the one in this story’s prologue does nothing that deserves real ire. He might be a bit typical for a villain, but he fits in this scene. The battle that takes place is pretty awesome. I may like romance best, but I also adore epic fantasy type action. Lord of the Rings type battle-type stuff. It gives me a chill. I feel the characters mythical achievements vicariously. The action in The Quiet Place is well-paced and engaging. The author has a good handle on keeping the rhythm of a fight from dragging.

The ending was a bit of a surprise! I wasn’t expecting it. Perhaps I should have.

Final Verdict: This is one of those stories that I recognize as perhaps being written by someone who still has plenty of room to grow as a writer, but who has a particular knack for great story ideas. It’s true that they may just be appealing to my tastes, but hey, I can no more ignore my predilections as stop breathing. I recommend that anyone looking for epic adventure (with a bit of romance, if the tags are to be believed) to give this a try!

Current To-Read Count: 164/184

NOTE: Another one bites the dust. I think an author removed yet another story. I don't know which one. I just know I didn't do it. So my list has shrunk down by one extra.

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Comments ( 3 )

Thank you for the review, and the recommendation! :twilightsmile:

This was kind of an experimental piece. My goal in writing this was just to capture the feeling of melancholy on (digital) paper. But dang does it feel weird having written this not long ago, and having ended it on a sad note, given Prince's recent passing. :twilightoops:

3889861 You're very welcome! It was a good read. :twilightsmile:

This story was one of the first things I thought of when Prince passed away.

3889891 I am surprised but honored that it would be. :heart:

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