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May
3rd
2016

First Impression Reviews: Episode Twelve · 10:36pm May 3rd, 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!

FUN FACT: Both stories being reviewed today are Star Wars crossovers! Whee! (Stuff being clumped together like that will happen a few times in this series. I was perusing some pages when I realized with a small amount of dismay that I had four stories from The Abyss back-to-back…)

I’m actually supposed to be working on my own stories today, but if you follow my blog posts, you know I had a bit of an emotional day today, so I thought it’d be safer to focus on something simpler.

EDIT: It's fate. Must be. I did these reviews, forgetting that tomorrow is Star Wars day. MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU.

Without further ado...



A Galaxy Far Away by Otaku250
Rating: Teen
Tags: Alternative Universe, Crossover, Human, Sad, Tragedy, Sci-Fi
Summary: One of the many myths that fall in Equestria is that a lone bipedal figure in a brown cloak overlooks the town of Ponyvile for some time. Many of the townsfolk simply use this myth to scare their children to not venture out far away from the town, but one brave filly was reckless enough to do so.
Scootaloo thought she would find nothing, and came back saying she did in fact not find anything to prove this myth was real. What her friends don't understand, however, is why Scootaloo takes her time out from crusading to go back to the hill. To them, it was odd, but to another... it was much needed.
Grammar: 3/5 - Multiple instances of exclamation marks being used where question marks ought to be. In fact, just too much exclamation marks, period. ‘Alright’ is also not all right with me. Failure to properly capitalize a pronoun. (“Sugarcube corner”) Periods where commas ought to be.

My Thoughts:

This story takes place before the CMC get their cutie marks, a fact that is immediately apparent in the first paragraph, though the author felt the need to clarify in the summary. Perhaps a little long-windedly. (All he really needed to say was, “Takes place before season 5.”)

Things get off to a rocky start when I have to read this:

The first of the trio bounced excitedly out of the school house, her pink bow nearly flying off as well, her name was Apple Bloom. The second trotted down to meet her with a grin ever-present on her white muzzle, her name was Sweetie Belle. The last, but certainly not least, was an orange filly who flapped her tiny wings in excitement, her name was Scootaloo. The three had one major thing in common, they didn't have their Cutie Marks, a pony's calling in life, what is practically perceived as one's identity. These three wanted their's badly, and wanted to share the moment of discovery with each other as close friends, forming the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

It’s true that, regardless of the fact that this is fanfiction, every character deserves some kind of introduction, but this is really too much. Even with the descriptive actions, this feels cumbersome. By the second sentence I was already getting impatient. “Yes, author. I know these are the Cutie Mark Crusaders. I know they really, really want their cutie marks. I know they are good friends. I know already, please get on with it.”

Following this paragraph, there’s an awkward conversation that I could only envision as nails scraping down a chalkboard as the fillies try to come up with what new zany activity they’ll get into next. The dialogue felt forced because of the constant use of exclamations, and there’s also a disappointing amount of telling going on. Like this:

"Alright y'all, ready to earn our Cutie Marks!" Apple Bloom cheered, almost bursting with energy.

"Yeah, I can't wait! What should we try this time!" Sweetie Belle replied with as much excitement as Apple Bloom.

"Maybe we should try ski jumping!" Scootaloo suggested, equaling the excitement that her two friends shared. Sweetie Belle gave a look of uncertainty to the idea.

I know the author is capable of providing more active visuals then these. He did it in that awkward intro paragraph for the CMC. So I will bet that they are perfectly capable of doing better than this. Instead of saying Apple Bloom was “almost bursting with energy”, why not take the time to try and illustrate that? Not to step on the author’s toes, but here’s an example:

Apple Bloom cheered as her hooves danced in place, and her withers quivered with pent up energy.

Just an idea of one way that could have been done differently.

After a baffling idea to go ski jumping out of season, Apple Bloom decides they ought to go to Sugarcube Corner and think some more over milkshakes. Then Scootaloo stops suddenly upon remembering that it’s Wednesday, and she tries to tell the others she’ll see them later while she goes to “the hill.”

Then we get some rather bad info dumping:

"Scootaloo, you've been going to that mountain every Wednesday, ever since Diamond Tiara dared you to go there to find 'The cloaked Demon'." Sweetie Belle pondered.

And that was when I quit.

Final Verdict: I only had to go 587 words in to know that I couldn’t recommend this story under any circumstances. It needs a lot of work. There’s only been one other time in this review series where I didn’t finish a chapter, or read up to 3k words. I didn’t even get to the Star Wars bits that justified the crossover tag. I was really disappointed. I wanted to like this story. I’ve been craving a good Star Wars crossover since I joined this site. This will not be the story that will do it for me, however. I think anyone with a moderately critical eye will feel the same way. I’m even downvoting this. Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother after offering all the criticism above, but this story somehow has 27 upvotes to 1 downvote. I’m doing this and posting a link to my review in the hopes that the author will consider revisiting the work and improving his craft.



Star Crossed Ponies by MillenniumFalsehood
Rating: Teen
Tags: Adventure, Crossover, Dark, Human
Summary: The Mane Six, Spike, and the two alicorn princesses are sucked into an alien world. They soon discover that they have been transported to a galaxy far, far from home. A galaxy which is under the control of the evil Galactic Empire and where Emperor Palpatine knows of them and wants to use them for his own nefarious purposes.
Twilight must lead her friends on their journey through a cruel and hostile galaxy, avoiding the Imperial forces and bounty hunters sent after them, trying to find the Rebel Alliance.
They may be the ponies' only hope for getting home . . . .
Grammar: 5/5 - I’m kind of iffy on this, but I really can’t recall coming across any errors, so I guess this is fine...

My Thoughts:

The first thing I feel needs to be said is that this story is not only incomplete, it’s on hiatus. Ordinarily I avoid projects that are marked as such, but since this is Star Wars and it has over 169k words spanning 25 chapters… I thought, “Oh, to hell with it. They might pick it up again, and it might be entertaining in the meantime.”

One thing I was a bit disheartened to find was that many of the Star Wars’ crossovers are HiE. As I’ve stated in the past, I really have no interest in HiE. Stories where the ponies go to the Star Wars universe, on the other hand…? I can do that. The idea of Rainbow Dash and Han Solo clashing egos makes me chuckle. I’m still holding out for a pony-only Star Wars crossover, though. I know unicorns present some odd challenges when The Force is concerned, but I think a good author should be able to overcome it.

Anyway, back on topic--

So I really liked this story’s first line.

The day the universe imploded was otherwise quite normal.

Understatement! How fun. I think it worked to good effect.

Then the mood was ruined with this:

Twilight Sparkle, the unicorn student of Equestria’s ruler, was watching Rarity, her fashionista friend, perform a new spell she had taught her. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, two pegasi who were good friends with Twilight and Rarity, were watching too, as were Applejack and Pinkie Pie, the earth-pony members of this group of six.

It’s not as bad as that instance from the previous story I reviewed this episode, but it’s still the same issue. I don’t need this lengthy introduction of the characters. If you want to give me some descriptions about how they’re looking that particular day, that’s fine, but I don’t need to be reminded that Twilight is Celestia’s student, or that Rainbow and Fluttershy are pegasi. It just drags things down.

Also, keep in mind that following the above paragraph, it is mentioned that Luna and Celestia are there as well.

With that established, next came this:

Yes, they were all gathered to watch Rarity perform a brand new spell, and she looked confident in her ability to cast it.

First, this is telling. How does Rarity look confident? Is she puffing her chest? Smirking? Doing cartwheels?

Second, why would the princesses bother to come see Rarity performing a spell? What for? What spell is it? Why did they feel it was okay to stop running a country to come and see this pony, whom they have no special connection to other than the fact that she’s one of the Elements of Harmony (but let’s face it, even then only Celestia seems to have a special relationship with Twilight--the Elements don’t make the girls important save for when there’s a problem that requires a friendship beam to the face.)

Third--and I’m not saying this is wrong per se--but the fact that you just had the narrative say “Yes,” like someone’s nodding their head with an air of knowing makes me wonder if Star Crossed Ponies will be employing the use of a personified narrator throughout, or if this is just a slip from the author who was perhaps recalling fondly Terry Pratchett’s work or something. That’s usually reserved for tales that are meant to be comedic on some level. For a dark adventure story, I wonder if this is appropriate? It kind of sabotages the tone.

Then the story just kept unraveling from its excellent opening. I watched in horror as it descended downhill at breakneck speed:

But Twilight could tell something was wrong.

Maybe it was the way Rarity’s concentration faltered at the last second. Maybe it was the odd roaring noise that built to a cacophony of terror.

Maybe it was simply her own mistrust in her friend’s ability as a magic-user.

Whatever it was, Twilight knew that the otherwise normal day would end in disaster when the spell Rarity had cast grabbed hold of them and hurled them through time and space. As the purple unicorn passed the event horizon of the vortex, her only action was to mutter, “I knew I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed this morning . . .”

So much telling and not showing. And how in the hay was Rarity so powerful that she could cast a spell that ripped through time and space? I mean, I know she’s a unicorn, but not even Twilight Sparkle can do that, and she’s a much better magic user than Rarity is.

As I kept reading, I became too frustrated to continue. I stopped before even getting halfway through the chapter. I just… I can’t…

Final Verdict: I am so very, very disappointed! Guys! Seriously! I want to like your Star Wars crossovers, but I need something a little better than this! I can’t recommend this to anyone. This one had even more upvotes than the previous story. 284 people liked this to the 18 who did not. Once more, I find myself in a position where I feel I need to make my dissent known in the way of a downvote. I try to refrain from doing this, but this story really needs quite a bit of work--less on a technical point, and more from a creative one. The inciting incident is rushed and improbable. There’s a lot of telling versus showing. I can feel that the author has some potential. His ideas and their presentation just need work. I’m notifying the author in the hopes they’ll consider my critique.


Current To-Read Count: 158/184

EDIT: Shout out to the authors featured in this episode! They were good sports and very receptive to what I had to say. :twilightsmile:

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