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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!"

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Jul
29th
2016

Paul's Thursday Reviews XLII · 12:02am Jul 29th, 2016

Not an amazing selection today, folks. However, that's balanced out by the one gem among the rocks, a story that I was almost gleeful to re-read.

I've got nothing special to announce or talk about, and I aim to actually write something today. That in mind, I'm keeping this one short and jumping right to the good stuff. It's not like you people read these intros anyway, right? :duck:

Stories for This Week:

Applejack's Day Off by 1Bit
Non-Alicorns Need Not Apply by MonoGlyph (Recommended by CoffeeMinion)
MLP Time Loops by Saphroneth (Requested by DeathFox4)
Two Tiny Talks by KitsuneRisu (Re-Read)
Stalker by WonderShy101 (Completed Story)
Total Word Count: 120,969

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 1
Pretty Good: 0
Worth It: 2
Needs Work: 1
None: 1


Apparently, Applejack does not cry on the inside.

I don’t rightly know what drew me to this story. Maybe I was just eager to read an AJ-centric fic? Then again, the premise did have some potential, or so I thought.

In this story, Applejack overdoes it while applebucking and injures her leg. As a result, she has no choice but to rest… right in the middle of the harvest season. Unwilling to let this stand, she begins working to find ways to sneak out into the orchards to do some work despite her injury, but the Apple Clan won’t be having any of that nonsense.

This story was meant to be written as an extra episode, but that doesn’t alleviate its shortcomings. It’s far too short for the concept, for one thing, and as a direct result the supposedly primary issue of the story is resolved near-instantly, without giving us any time to appreciate the situation.

The best example of why it fails is when AJ says some mean things to her Granny Smith, then finds out just why it was such a bad thing to say. Except 1) we aren’t given a strong enough reaction from Granny to suggest it’s that bad, 2) the evidence AJ goes through to learn about Granny’s past doesn’t even come close to touching upon how it relates to Applejack’s current situation, 3) the two resolve the argument without fanfare. Thus, the story felt uninteresting, underdeveloped and unrealistic.

Let me head off the argument before it takes off: no, the fact the story was written to be an ‘episode’ does not negate or lessen these complaints. It’s certainly no excuse to shorten things like this. Even if one tried to state that the story has to be short because the episodes are short, there’s no way the events as described would take up a full 20 minutes of air time, unless every scene was stretched out to ridiculous proportions.

All is not lost, though. This is 1Bit’s first story, and I noted they have six of them. I intend to read the latest to see if this author has improved. After all, the concept isn’t bad and the writing, while not the greatest thing ever, is decent. Characterization was generally good and the events were believable overall, just rushed.

Bookshelf: Needs Work


Well, that was certainly weird.

Non-Alicorns Need Not Apply is a silly little story in which Princess Luna and Princess Celestia interview a new candidate for royalty for the upcoming Season 5. The current option: an alicorn whose abilities revolve around game fowl. Meanwhile, Twilight has decided to declare war on Trottingham in order to spread the magic of friendship by force.

Yeah, it’s about as dumb as you’d expect.

This did not amuse me. Not because it’s poorly written, and I’d even go so far as to praise the story for attempting a realistic perspective on a nonsensical scene – which, under normal circumstances, would be my kind of funny. But, for whatever reason, this one didn’t reach me.

There is something to be said about the message being sent, though. In particular, that message involves the steadily decreasing value of the alicorn princess to MLP:FiM. It’s a legitimate complaint and well devised on the whole, using exaggeration to showcase the unworthiness of those who have come after Celestia and Luna (or, as Celestia seems to view it, after Celestia). Even as it does so, however, it also showcases the downside of the argument via Celestia’s ultimate aloofness.

This is a story that aims to be funny and means well. While I like the author’s intent, I believe the humor just wasn’t the type I can get behind. I don’t think that makes it a bad story by any means, though. In fact, I suspect most of you would find it hilarious. Give it a go, you’ll probably like it more than I did.

Bookshelf: Worth It


MLP Time Loops

Partial Reading: 102,488 Words out of 1,813,067 Words
By Saphroneth
Requested by DeathFox4

When DeathFox4 requested I read this monstrosity, I admit to having balked. Recognizing the kind of story it is almost immediately, I elected to only read the first 100,000 words and, if I liked what I read enough, add a continuation for later. There was no way I was going to let myself get locked into reading close to two million words of a story I might not even like... and which is still updating.

MLP Time Loops runs on the concept that the world ‘reboot’ after a certain, unspecified point, which usually leads to slightly differing events or even ‘fusions’ with other dimensions. Twilight becomes an ‘anchor,’ and begins being reborn (or ‘Awakes’) in different versions of Equestria with all her memories intact. As she interacts with others, there is a chance that they too will begin ‘looping’ into rebooted worlds.

So, in a nutshell, this is a collection of stories, most of them extremely short, regaling us with the adventures and hijinks of our favorite characters as they go through a wide variety of rebooted and occasionally fused Equestrias. There is very little cohesion to these stories, most have absolutely nothing to do with any of the others, and in-story canonicity from one tale to the next is questionable at best.

If not for the connecting element of Loopers remembering their past lives in other Equestrias (amongst other worlds), this story would be nothing more than a series or random and unrelated tales. Seeing as of how I’m more inclined to like stories with far more coherent linking, I can honestly say it’s not my cup of tea. Add to that the fact that the stories vary wildly in quality, and I am a bit disappointed. It’s more or less impossible to judge this entire set as one tale, and giving a blanket rating is challenging when the contents can range from legitimately interesting to crackfic stupid to soap box annoying.

Each little story is hit or miss, and you’re as likely to thoroughly enjoy some of them as you are to completely loath others. Throwing the fusions in there – adding such universes as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Pokemon, Dragon Ball and Ah! My Goddess, among many many others – does more to risk potential confusion in the readers than provide some spice, especially when certain characters behave vastly out of character (I’m looking at you, Shinji Ikari). Granted, this can be explained by those individuals also being Loopers and thus changed by having gone through the events of their lives thousands, if not millions, of times, but it can still be jarring in the extreme. Throw in the author’s blatantly one-sided opinion on characters being put face-first in the story and it becomes even less appealing.

Having said all of that, I must still acknowledge that I found some of the loops to be highly entertaining. Luna, Celestia and Discord all had some great moments, and watching the assorted loopers growing (in an entirely non-maturing and wisdom-lacking way) was fun. If the stories had been more thoroughly linked together, this might have been much more interesting.

Overall, I can’t find fault in an author for writing something like this. It’s a fun project that exists just for the sake of it. Despite its flaws, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with either the concept of the execution. What one takes from it will vary upon your tastes, and it was clearly never meant to be anything more than an exercise in mass entertainment. Far be it for me to rain on everyone’s parade.

But… I don’t intend to read further. When it comes to my interests, I would like to spend my time reading actual stories, rather than a mish-mash of silliness.

Don’t let that dissuade you from reading it, though. You might have fun.

Bookshelf: Worth It


Two Tiny Talks

8,216 Words
By KitsuneRisu
Re-Read

You people have no idea how much I missed this story.

In KitsuneRisu’s Two Tiny Talks, Twilight and Celestia visit Twilight’s parents in order to announce their relationship as a couple. In response, Twilight Velvet and Night Light each have a one-on-one discussion with their daughter and the princess, respectively. Neither conversation goes at all like the lovers anticipated. But they will tolerate it, because they are determined to get Twilight Velvet’s and Night Light’s blessing.

This story is one part touching connection and four parts hilarity. I laughed the first time, and I laughed even harder this time. Night Light being completely unprepared and emotionally overwhelmed is one thing, but Twilight Velvet? Comedic gold. I won’t even bother to specify what it is that made it so good. All you really need to know is that KitsuneRisu’s dialogue is perfect.

Moving aside from the primary draw of the story, I should also point out how pleased I am with the general characterization of Twilight Velvet and Night Light. From his emotional outbursts to her clever scheming and playfulness, you can see exactly where Twilight Sparkle gets her traits. They were well-devised and capably executed, and I have nothing but approval for them. Indeed, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a better incarnation of these two.

I’d love to go on and on about this story, but we’ll just leave it at “I love it.” This is one of the extremely few stories out there that I would readily read offhand just for the sake of doing it.

What’s that? You don’t like the idea of Celestia and Twilight as a couple? That’s okay. Read it anyway. It’s not the relationship that holds this story together, it’s the individual talks. Ignore everything that offends you about this pairing and just take in the natural humor generated by the situation. It’s worth it. Trust me.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?


Stalker

4,049 Words
By WonderShy101
Completed Story

Well, it looked interesting.

In Stalker, Fluttershy discovers an old, unreadable book at the Canterlot Library. The librarian informs her that the book has a strange habit of appearing in random locations. The next thing Fluttershy knows, the book is appearing everywhere she goes, and she has no clue how to make it go away.

And… that’s it. Yep, that’s the lump sum of this story’s premise. There’s no theme, no lesson, no purpose. Just Fluttershy getting chased around by a book. I came to recognize the quality of this story more or less right away. How?

Waiting for the librarian to check out her books, she spots an out-of-place, worn out, dusty old book on a shelf with some other books behind the librarian. It stood out so much, and she wonders why they have such an old book that's about to fall apart from the looks of it. The librarian notices Fluttershy glaring behind her, and smiles.

How many issues can you find in this, the latter half of the first paragraph? And while we’re at it, what did Fluttershy notice about Angel Bunny… in the past?

She had notice that he gained a little pounds on him.

Sadly, this level of writing is present throughout the story. I am, for lack of a better term, unimpressed. It seems clear to me that WonderShy101 needs to learn a bit more about basic grammar and storytelling.

As the story rolls around, we basically watch Fluttershy – and later, Twilight – freaking out because a book keeps popping up around them. Then Celestia and Luna show up out of nowhere and solve the problem in a span of about five minutes. The solution is fairly pointless and unimaginative. To make the entire situation worse, everypony keeps referring to a character named ‘Relic’ as if we’re all supposed to know who he is… which, of course, we don’t. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s an OC from one or more of the author’s other stories, which nobody has read because it apparently was never released. So why are we talking about a random pony that doesn’t exist for the average reader and who has absolutely nothing to do with this one?

This story has… nothing. It’s not funny, it’s not interesting, I’m not even sure I’d call it complete. The grammar is atrocious, the characters dull, the events boring. It’s premise lured me in, but I’m afraid I’ll have to let this one go.

Bookshelf: None


Liked these reviews? Check out some others:

Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXVIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XIV
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXV
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXVI
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXVII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXVIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXIX
Paul's Thursday Reviews XL
Paul's Thursday Reviews XLI

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

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Comments ( 7 )

I read a bunch of MLP Time Loops back when it was just on fanfiction.net. I'd be hard pressed to call it good as a whole, but there were some really good moments in there.

One of the things I'm not sure the fimfic version makes entirely clear is that it's a collaborative work, and the different scenes are written by a bunch of different authors, submitted by anyone who wants to join in on the fun. It also builds out of similarly styled "time loops universe" codified in a bunch of other fanfic communities.

It's not like you people read these intros anyway, right?

Only the true believersfollowers :twistnerd:

It's not like you people read these intros anyway, right? :duck:

Half the time it's the only part I actually read instead of skim!

4119072
4119100
Why, thank you both! Good to know I'm not just writing for myself.

4118868
I don't recall if they specified that, but it seems fairly clear to me that it is collaborative just by the mentioning of author names throughout. This goes to explain the wish-washy quality of it.

Well, I'm sorry my recommendation there was a miss. It's probably a sense of humor thing, as you suggest; I am inordinately fond of absurdity.

4123688
And I am inordinately disdainful of absurdity. The dumber it is, the less I like it.

Ahhhh. Two Tiny Talks was a good one. Very pleased with it.

Celestia confirmed with a nod and the face she reserved for international politics.

That was the line that had me commited. So clever.

Couple of things though:
The use of the exclamation point got to be way overused, but it kinda had to be just so the author didn't have to write 'Twilight shouted' after every bit of dialogue. I get it, I do, but still. Too much exclamation points, and it made me shudder.

By the end of the Twilights' last scene, everything Sparkle was saying, in my head, came out as a scream, even when she stopped screaming and the exclamation points dissapeared, I still heard the dialogue as yelling, and it kind of made me wince. Pretty in character for Twilight, I guess, maybe, but a little uncomfortable for me as a reader.

Aaaaand that's about it; all the critiques I could find. Didn't make me laugh, but it made me roll my eyes in fond exasperation and smile. Parents, right?

Great read, great read. Thanks for this, Paul.

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