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Deep in the Seattle's Angel's secret combination treehouse lair and sauna, Cynewulf finished placing the last touches on an elaborately painted miniature, blew on it gently, and set it down before making her way to take a long-awaited rest.
It is predictably at this point that something in the distance exploded.
Scarlet burst into the room, a crazed look in her eyes. "Come with me if you want to live!"
Cynewulf's eyes darted back and forth. "What is it? What's wrong?"
"No time to explain! They're already upon us!" Grabbing her compatriot's hand, Scarlet dragged her deep into the bowels of the treehouse's safe room.
One trip into the bowels of the lair later, Cyne collapsed beside Scarlet, breathing heavily. "What is it? Who's after us? Are we being bombed?"
Scarlet blinked in surprise. "What, that? Nah, I think that's just my boyfriend playing with fireworks."
"Then we... aren't under attack?"
"No, we are. We're under attack from the most deadly of enemies...." Scarlet whipped out a sheet of stories. "Review deadlines!"
First love is a powerful and intoxicating thing. But even when your shared memories grant you the strongest of foundations, sometimes you've just got to admit that if it isn't meant to be then it isn't meant to be.
Pinkie Pie doesn't want to admit that, though, even if Twilight Sparkle already has.
I could go on about my reasons for picking this as one of our fics, but honestly it boils down to the fact that it was short, seemed interesting, and I was blown away by the guts to write an entire story where pretty much every line ends with the word "okay".
The premise of Butterscotch is the story of Pinkie Pie and Twilight's relationship from inception to end, told entirely through a series of sentences and how Pinkie feels about them, and I think that's an effective device. Reading the story gives the impression that despite the compressed time the events take place in, you're sitting with Pinkie as she sorts through all of her thoughts as they occur to her. And as a result, you're stuck experiencing every emotion she does - from the sudden rush of euphoria that is early love to the slow breakdown that comes as she and Twilight move in with each other and grow apart.
I'm not going to lie: if you want a fluffy ship story, and I understand if you do, this is one to put on the back burner. If you have just had a breakup, this is one to put on the back burner. If, however, you have some breakups you remember in hindsight, this is a break-up fic worth reading - not the least reason for which is that it implies there's life after the break-up. Cyne thought the ending was inherently pessimistic about the chances of finding happiness, but I'd argue as a whole the story argues that even the pain of a relationship ending isn't enough to stop us from seeking new ones.
And that's okay.
It is a sad and often talked about fact that things tend to fall apart. Relationships, buildings, people, you name it. Entropy gets to us. What starts as a little crack in your wall ends up being foundation trouble and then… Well. To get presumptuous about it, Things Fall Apart.
This story starts out pretty happy. It’s essentially Pinkie talking to an uncertain and “offscreen” person, perhaps even herself. She tells us the story of her and Twilight’s relationship in a series of 1-2 sentence bites set off by judgements--”That’s okay” or “That’s not okay” etc etc.
I’m gonna be real with you here. This story made me sad. It made me really, really sad. It ruined about an hour of my Good Friday. My comrade and I disagree slightly as to how hopeful the ending is--she says that it’s hopeful and that--I quote her abuse of Camus--“We must imagine Pinkie happy” whereas I had a rather more dismal take. Either way, this story is worth reading. Even if it will make you incredibly sad. The sort of call-response format does start to stretch on a bit too long but the author manages to keep my attention with it.
10/10, would brood on the impermanence of all human interaction again.
Under the last tree at the end of the world, two ponies discuss the events that led them there and what the future holds.
You know who I like? Kitsunerisu. You know why I like him? Because this is why.
The Holiday at the End of the World is the story of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie waiting under a tree for the rest of their friends to show up so they can have a party. It's snowing, everyone else is late, also the world has ended.
Why the world has ended is only semi-important, but for now all you need to know is that the world's pretty doomed at the moment. Or might be. While Rainbow's mostly frustrated with snow that isn't cold and the stress that comes from being community leaders in a time of constant crisis, Pinkie is hopeful. She focuses in on hope, listing all the possibilities that are emerging that will make the crappy world-ending snowfall less terrible. Rainbow is still frustrated.
That's it, that's the story.
I'm a sucker for hope in the face of nihilism - stories that embrace the idea that things won't necessarily get better, but we should always strive for them to do so anyway. This story is a great example of that. Even Pinkie is forced to admit that optimism can't always solve everything, but once she and Rainbow have said their piece they still end up in the exact same spot: waiting for their friends to join them at the end of the world. Despite the fact that the world is terrible, they're still going on with life.
I miss Kitsune Risu. I miss his writing. I miss his face. I miss watching Korean reality TV with him at like 2 in the morning.
But this story isn’t about any of that. But it is relevant--this story is about what happens after. Not just the world. What happens after, well, anything. It’s about moving on. Or not moving on. It’s about that.
The world is kind of screwed, and I’ll leave the reason why up to you to discover--I think you’ll like the why’s and how’s--but those also aren’t important. What is important is that the Mane Six are alive if not well, and that they are still coming together. Things have fallen apart, yes, but not forever. They may or may not improve. Things are not certain in a world where the snow isn’t cold and everything is changed.
What I liked about this story, and what I always like about Kitsune Risu’s stories is character voice. No one writes a conversation quite like that. Are the voices of the characters perfect? Nah, but who cares? Because this conversation with these characters is golden. What they say is golden.
Go read it.
There are two types of ponies in the world: dog ponies, and cat ponies.
Anyone with two eyes in their head could easily determine which categories both Applejack and Rarity fit in. But, when Rarity must take a last minute business trip to Manehattan, it falls on Applejack to take care of Rarity's beloved pet, Opalescence.
The problem is, Opalescence doesn't like Applejack.
Opalescence doesn't like anybody
I read a story this week about babysitting your girlfriend's cat and everything going wrong.
It was pretty good.
In a perfect and just world, that's all the information I'd need to provide about Catastrophe. It's a very silly story complete with cartoon-tier comic resolution, and talking about it really doesn't sell why it's fun to read. Nonetheless, I feel I'm obligated to at least try to spotlight why I gave this one some heavy chuckling throughout.
Our story begins with Rarity and Applejack climbing out of bed after a night of pleasant inebriation and intercourse, and sets the tone immediately by establishing just how much Rarity dotes on her cat - and how little Applejack gets along with her. Rarity is then called away to Manehattan on short notice, forced to leave her little darling with Applejack.
This goes about as well as you would expect.
If you're a big fan of slapstick comedy done well, this is certainly worth a pick-up - and if you've had a bad day, I suggest it as a little pick-me-up. Absolutely worth your time.
This story is straight-up slapstick of the sort that isn’t so terribly far removed from what an episode might try, and all set up in a coozy bit of shipping. Premise? Applejack has to look after her new girlfriend’s cat. But Cyne, you’ll say, don’t you have to be ridiculous to get that much conflict out of a cat?
No, Friend, you do not. Cats are fractious creatures. They are made of sharp points and explore the world with their teeth. I had to break up two fights between my awesome snuggle-champion Luna (who Protects) and my mother’s cats just in writing this one review.
So suffice it to say that Applejack is trying her best and I sympathize, even as a cat person. If you’ve ever tried to take care of someone else’s dog or cat before, you’ll recognize a lot of this story’s feel. Even if you haven’t, it’s an enjoyable little adventure for a rainy day, and it’s well done.
Working mornings was a thing Tea Leaf had initially hated. Dragging yourself from bed to the showers at 5 in the morning to help open the doors at Tip-Top's Cafe in downtown Canterlot was a less-than-ideal situation for most, but she had come to enjoy it for a single reason; a regular of the Cafe by the name of Fleur De Lis. Sure; there were other regulars, but she stood out from the crowd in many ways than one. Their little chats held as Steam Wand, her partner in coffee and tea related crime, prepared Fleur De Lis' typical order had come to be the thing she waked for; the rest of her shift and University afterwards were merely side-effects.
Coffeebean wasn't on my radar before I read this. That was a mistake. I can't believe this story has less than a thousand views after being featured.
The Usual is the most chick-lit thing I think I will ever recommend, and I love it for that. The main characters are a glamorous photography model and a less-than-glamorous twenty-something working her way to a culinary degree while she makes a living at Legally Distinct From Starbucks. One of them is madly in love with the other, as expressed through the most magically good of customer service and chit-chat. Nobody is hurt, and everyone is happy by the end.
This story's a chai latte for the soul, in other words: a bit sweet, a little cloying, but once you take a sip you just can't stop until it's done.
What makes the story work on a level most fluffy ship-fics don't is that Coffeebean knows how to write early romance in a pretty convincing way, and also how to work with settings to build characters. Most shipfics in this fandom seem to take place between characters who live alone in reasonably large spaces and have enough money to just blow on dates when they come up. I was surprised by how unusual it felt to read a ship story where someone teaches their object of affection to make pizza.I love that Tea Leaf has a roommate. I love that someone questioning their sexuality plays out in a way I can say from experience is pretty true to life.
This is worth a read. Get on it, people.
The Usual has all of the things I like. Which makes sense, cause it’s the usual. Get it? Like, it would be comprised of things I like--
Moving on. This is, in some ways, your standard slice of life ship fic. Girl meets girl. Girl falls in love with girl. Girl makes girl coffee. But what separates it from the pack? Two things, mostly: It manages to do a canonXOc ship extremely well and it invites you quite insistently to invest yourself emotionally in its lovable protagonist.
Tea Leaf is just lovable. She is. Extremely lovable and full of purity and goodness. You root for her. You “aww” over her. You want her to be happy forever and ever. Coffeebean is a good writer, and if I had only one fic to prove it, this would be that fic. They have done such a brilliant job of creating a vibrant and above all fun cast to play out this heartwarming story. I cannot recommend this one to lovers of shipfics enough. If more romance writers were writing this way on this blasted site I would be neck deep in fics again.
"So in summary, you built a combination treehouse and sauna, convinced me and everyone else to move into it for a day, set up a box of fireworks labeled 'absolutely do not touch' in a conspicuous place, let me finish painting a miniature, burst into the room, and banged my head against five different exposed pipes—"
"Six," Scarlet corrected helpfully.
"Thank you, six exposed pipes—all for the sake of that deadlines punch line?" Cyne asked, placing the last of her reviews on the pile.
Scarlet thought this over for a moment. "Pretty much, yeah."
Cynewulf massaged her temples. "I'm honestly not sure where to begin."
"I was! I started by finding a tree," Scarlet chirped proudly.
"Because I had to throw this plan together at the last minute and I couldn't think of a Revolutionary Girl Utena parody."
Somewhere in the distance, fireworks went off.