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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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Sep
20th
2018

Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXI · 9:43pm Sep 20th, 2018

I am immensely pleased. When I updated Bulletproof Heart on Tuesday I found it’s finally popular enough to hit the feature box again, even if only for an hour or so. I was a little disappointed when it fell out of the box so quickly upon first upload, but I consider this the justification for all the hard work I put into it. Granted, I normally don’t care about the feature box – when you’ve been in it more than a dozen times already, it sorta loses its novelty – but it’s still nice to know that the story is doing so well. Once again, I must thank all my pre-readers for helping with it, and all of you reading it who like it so much.

Speaking of Bulletproof Heart, it’s become abundantly clear that things will be different with the sequel. In the first story I set some ground rules: 26 chapters and a limited word count per chapter. With the sequel, I’ve abandoned the word count limit. My reasoning is that with only 26 chapters, I’m going to need to fill those chapters with all I can to get as much as I want into the story. I’ve been working on the third chapter for more than a week, it’s at almost 14,000 words by now, and I’m only just hitting the big climactic moment of the chapter. All indications point to the sequel being bigger. My ambition frustrates my desire for rapid completion yet again.

There will be other changes compared to the first story as well, although obviously I can’t speak of all of them for fear of spoilers. What I can confirm is that the story will be much more ‘episodic’; a final goal is declared, and then Rarity will basically go from chapter to chapter doing things generally unrelated to the other chapters with the final goal in mind. This is the kind of thing I originally envisioned for the first story, but I realized it needed better direction as an ‘origin’ story.

A second major change: companions. I’ve heard some people question Rarity’s ability to keep a travelling companion for longer than a chapter or two. That was entirely by design. But with the sequel, that won’t be the case anymore, and she’ll gain ponies that go wherever she does for most of the story. I’ll leave you guys to speculate on the potential consequences of that.

Alas, I expect it’ll be a year at minimum before the sequel comes out, as I plan to give it equal dedication in its development. It’s a bit of a shame, because I’d love to put the sequel out as fast as possible. I hate having to wait, but I can’t argue with the results.

Alright, enough about Princess Gunslinger. Who wants some reviews?

Stories for This Week:

Baby Out With the Bathwater by Alex Warlorn
What Wasn't Hers by Pastel Pony
Butterflies by adcoon
The Human That History Forgot by Avox
Lingering Shadows by Yoru-the-Rogue
These Are A Few of My Favorite Things by DragonGeek
Effigy of Anarchy by SaltyJustice
Love Letters for a Girl I Hate by GaPJaxie
The Education of Clover the Clever by Daedalus Aegle
Diktat by Merc the Jerk

Total Word Count: 424,115

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 1
Pretty Good: 6
Worth It: 1
Needs Work: 2
None: 0


For this story, Alex Warlorn envisions a slight AU where Gilda, Suri Polomare, and the Flim Flam Brothers become citizens of Our Town long before the Mane 6 arrive to deal with Starlight Glimmer. It recounts how all four of them gradually succumb to the brainwashing and become obedient supporters of Equality, how they react when the Mane 6 arrive, and what they do when Starlight is revealed as a sham.

This could have been a golden concept. I was looking forward to watching these four characters as they went through the anger, despair, and ultimate defeat of Starlight’s former Communist ideals. The potential for this to be a powerful sadfic is huge. Alas, Alex Warlorn made a very common and unfortunate mistake: the entire story is told in the manner of a recollection devoid of any emotional connection. Instead of letting us see the events unfold, we are explained the events in the manner of someone who was there and really doesn’t care.

This was the worst possible way the author could have delivered this story. We could have watched as Gilda crawled the walls, felt our hearts torn as Flam tried to save his brother from the brink of despair, and truly indulged in the madness as Suri sat alone screaming to herself in a desperate bid not to give in. Instead, we’re just told “This one gave in, then this one gave in, then this one…” Oh, Alex tries to instill some emotion into the story, but something like this just doesn’t work when you’re not really there.

There are no scenes. There is no rising action. There is no climax. There’s just a single, constant, droning pace of events told one after another. This is a concept that deserves presence, but it has none. It’s… kinda sad, really.

Bookshelf: Needs Work

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Princess Twilight Sparkle's FrustrationsNeeds Work
The Benevolent Reign Of Queen Nightmare RarityNone


Neon Lights was Vinyl’s best friend in foalhood. When she reached adolescence, she fell in love. That love has haunted her ever since.

This is a story about obsession and a pony’s absolute refusal to move on from that which she can’t have. It’s marred significantly by being mostly exposition, and yet it still manages to be an emotional piece. I love the idea behind this one, even if it’s not all that uncommon. What I don’t like is the delivery. If Pastel Pony had written this in a less direct route – I would have suggested showing that trip to the concert in its entirety then jumping to the climax – this could have been far more powerful a piece of sadfic than it already is.

But the author made their decision, and we must make do with what we have. In their defence, it’s not a bad result on the whole. If you’re into sadfics and have ten minutes to spare, there’s no reason not to read this one.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
The Hooves Family TreeNeeds Work


Butterflies

2,869 Words
By adcoon

Alternative Title: Cupcakes: Fluttershy Playthrough

That alt title should tell you most of what you need to know. The story basically involves Fluttershy leading Pinkie into her basement to show her something ‘special’, which ultimately involves butterfly larvae doing things butterfly larvae don’t actually do to ponies who have been going missing around town lately. Naturally, Pinkie is terrified.

Despite being inspired by Cupcakes, this is a very different story overall. adcoon didn’t bother with directly telling us what’s going on, instead preferring to use subtlety and suggestion to slowly build up to reality. Only at the very end do we witness firsthand what Fluttershy is doing to these ponies and, inevitably, Pinkie. This is a vastly superior method of horror and one I strongly approve of. I think the only thing keeping me from being disturbed by all this is how over-the-top it is in concept.

That’s the thing about these stories. In order to work, the reader needs to be able to suspend their disbelief for a while. It’s not just that Fluttershy would never do this on her own, it’s also that butterflies don’t do what they are shown to do here. I’d be more inclined to be terrified if, say, the villain was an OC or we knew some powerful curse had befallen Fluttershy, and the insects used were something that might realistically do what we’re seeing. But none of that is so, so I was left watching the events and going “Well, that’s creepy. Dumb, but creepy.”

That’s not to say this is a bad story. Far from it. If you’re expecting it to be crappy like Cupcakes, I can assure you this is vastly superior. Granted, it’s still got a silly premise with no basis in reality, but in terms of how it’s written? Like night and day. As for how it fares amongst other horrors, it’s… mid-tier, I think. It doesn’t hold up to, say, Help or What Goes Up, but it definitely stands above the majority. If you like horrors, give it a go.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
StitchWHYRTY?
The Big Butterfly BrouhahaWHYRTY?
Bats in the Old Apple BarnWorth It
FillystataWorth It
Mare in the MirrorWorth It


Alternative Title: The Real Path to Paradise

An old woman with no recollection of her past wakes up in the catacombs of a mountain. With no idea what’s going on, she wanders the caves in search of answers.

This was not at all what I expected, but in a good way. It’s a quiet, contemplative story where the reason behind events is told indirectly. I loved the concept behind this even as I question the overarching purpose of it, because I’m sure there is one. It’s a little mystery that questions life’s purpose and comes up with a rather disturbing conclusion, and yet there’s also a bit of bittersweet hope in there to round things out.

I liked this. It’s unusual, it doesn’t spoon-feed you the answers, and it’s more than a little Weird. Feel free to give it a try.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Into a Goodbye SkyPretty Good
GravityWorth It
Sinners in the Hooves of an Angry GoddessWorth It


Lingering Shadows

36,888 Words
By Yoru-the-Rogue
Requested by Ice Star

Alternative Title: Princess Luna is Perpetually Fifteen

When Princess Luna starts having nightmares about King Sombra killing her sister, she decides to visit the deposed monarch. Right away, you have to accept a lot of oddities about the premise: Luna can have nightmares not of her own devising, Sombra wasn’t killed by the Crystal Heart, and there’s a super-dungeon right below Canterlot Castle that the princesses like to use instead of Tartarus, but which only Sombra has ever been a resident of. We can permit some stretching of belief given when this story was started, but I was and remain incredulous.

At any rate, most of the story focuses on Luna believing that her recurring nightmare is a premonition and interrogating Sombra about it. Over time he tells her about his past and the two grow to be more friendly than they should. I’d be willing to accept this if I thought it all made sense, but I’m afraid I just couldn’t accept the story as it was being told. I never saw anything that made the relationship believable. It seemed more like Luna was a naive schoolfilly falling for the teacher with the bad rep because he had a deep voice and told her a sob story that, for all she knows, is completely made up. I was even more dumbfounded and frustrated when she accepts his word of trust at the drop of a hat and, not a day later, is playing around with him as if they were best friends and blooming lovers. Which they supposedly are.

There are a few things to alleviate this. For one, the show regularly has characters get redeemed over the course of a mere song and Harmony-laced diatribe. It’s frustrating, but it has multiple canon precedents, so at least the blatantly unrealistic fantasizing has backup. The second thing is the acknowledgement that Luna’s and Sombra’s interviews/interrogations lasted weeks, perhaps more than a month, which is more than enough time for a relationship to build. I just never saw anything in the story to support a relationship, partially because Sombra does absolutely nothing from beginning to end to show any sign that he’s changed.

The writing is decent if a little telly, the pacing slow but acceptable. The concept is solid. But the character and relationship building needs polishing, the romance felt forced, and Luna’s decisions are head-scratchingly quirky. In his defense, Yoru-the-Rogue’s writing chops are pretty good compared to a lot of newbie authors I read, and this is someone who could potentially go on to make great stories. They just need to iron out the kinks in their plotting first.

Bookshelf: Needs Work

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


There’s no overarching plot to this one. Instead, we are given six brief character studies in which the favorite parts of life for each of the Mane 6 are revealed.

What I like most and highly approve of with this one is the self-directed challenge of it. DragonGeek never outright says so, but it’s obvious that they forced themselves to follow a very specific rule: exactly 300 words for each pony. It’s great to see authors do things like this. Self-directed challenges are a wonderful way to force oneself to improve as a writer.

Of course, the big issue with such challenges is that there’s no guarantee of success. In this instance, I feel like the individual chapters are a bit hit-and-miss. For example, I felt Pinkie’s was a bit too narrow in overall scope, and Twilight’s took the most important aspect of her existence and narrowed it down to almost nothing. But given the goal and the limitations, perhaps that’s to be expected. I really liked Rainbow’s, Applejack’s, and Fluttershy’s, feeling their chapters captured them very well. I was on the middle ground with Rarity’s, but only because I feel she’s a hard one to pin down in just 300 words.

It’s an interesting writing exercise on display here. I encourage others to give it a look and take from DragonGeek’s example, devising similar such challenges for themselves. It’s not the greatest thing you’ll ever read, but it’s certainly a worthwhile endeavor, and one I hope catches on.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Effigy of Anarchy

48,847 Words
By SaltyJustice
Recommended by paul

When Cloudchaser’s little sister Flitter disappears in Trottingham one night, Chase is convinced there’s more going on than “a tourist got lost”. With the authorities not taking the matter seriously and having no idea what else to do, Chase writes to an old high school friend: Silent Rivers. Silent is more than just hard nosed, she’s outright cold. But she’s also got all the skills Chase needs to get the job done. Perhaps far more skills than Chase would consider appropriate.

This story has been around for four years, and yet has garnered so little attention that it hasn’t even had its up/downvote ratio publicized. That's pitiful, especially considering how good this story is. A dark mystery bound in conspiracy and cruelty, it is also nicely character-driven as Cloudchaser struggles to keep up with her violence-prone, menacing, cold-as-ice partner. Aside from that, her fear of gradually becoming more and more like the hardened investigator gives an appreciable sense of humanity to her efforts.

Silent was also curious in many ways. I won’t spoil the reveal, but I will say that when it comes around it puts her behavior in a very different light. It’s impossible to say if she ever really struggles with anything, or if she even grows as an individual. But there is the suggestion that she wants to, and that alone makes her actions interesting.

Then you of course have the mystery, which is both confounded and revealed in equal measure by the story’s title. We’ve got an endearing villain worthy of hate, potential consequences that go well beyond a missing sibling, and a system of control that walks well into the worst kinds of evil (and if you’ve been reading these reviews long enough, that should be a big clue).

In the end, there’s only one problem: the ending. Not to say that what happened wasn’t good. It was. It’s just that there needed to be one more scene. No, not “could have been” or “it would have been nice to have”; this story needed one more scene to be properly finished, and SaltyJustice decided they couldn’t be bothered with it. Epilogues are a thing for a reason, but this author doesn’t seem to know or care about that. There are things you will want to know, but you can kiss the thought of knowing them goodbye.

Ignoring that one glaring misstep, this was a great mystery with interesting characters and plenty of intrigue. If you like dark whodunits, it’s hard to go wrong here. And since this story is criminally underrated, I encourage you to try it.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


There was a perfect “Lies and Deception” image from the old Mac Hall webcomics I wanted to use for this, and it’s gone. Internet, you have failed me.

So anyway, this is a trio of short stories all set in a ponified Skyrim where Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and Rarity each get to be the Dragonborn. “What, no Dovahshy? But, but… the cover art!” Hence the lies and deception image I wanted to apply. We all know what we want to see, but GaPJaxie has decided we’re not worthy of such a thing. For shame, GaPJaxie.

But our consolation prize isn’t bad. Rainbow is everything you’d expect: brash, uncaring of what the NPCs think of her, and not afraid to cause a little (or a lot) of collateral damage while taking down dragons like a boss. Her’s is easily the most ‘direct’ manner of going through the game. Meanwhile, Twilight’s version has her doing what everyone does in these games but actually feeling guilty about it. And Rarity? She’s the one who realizes nothing she does matters in the grand scheme of things and so does whatever the fuck she wants. We’ve all done that playthrough, right? Also, I’m pretty sure Rarity’s modded the hell out of her game (I want that whistle).

Consider me entertained. My favorite was Rainbow’s because she seemed to be having the most fun with her life as Dragonborn, but the ridiculousness of Rarity’s story – based in no small part on the ridiculousness of video game logic – was a nice, sweet bit of cake icing. Twilight’s not to be left out though, for her story – easily the most serious – takes a curiously intent look at how a real-life dragonborn might feel regarding how different she is and what she can get away with.

This is a bout of very different stories, each of them with their own very different set of values. I enjoyed each to some extent. This is really making me want to play Skyrim again. Here’s hoping I have the willpower to resist another 700-hour run of the game. In the meantime, those of you who know Skyrim will probably really enjoy this one.

Even if we’re been denied our rightful dose of Dovahshy.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Siren SongWHYRTY?
I Forgot I Was TherePretty Good
InternPretty Good


Alternative Title: In Which Starswirl Redefines Awesomeness

Every year, honorary professor Starswirl the Bearded teaches a single lecture at Cambridle University. Every year, a small army of starry-eyed students attend it in hopes of learning from the greatest mind in equine history. And every year, they leave with their morale, their drive, and sometimes their very sanity lost. But this year Clover Codelia is in attendance, and she does something nopony, not even the great wizard himself, ever imagined possible: she kept up with him. So impressed is Starswirl that he decides she must become his first ever apprentice, and she’d be insane not to take him up on the offer.

The question now is whether either of them will survive the experience.

This story is whimsical, world-altering fun of the highest caliber. We get to watch cranky, eccentric Starswirl, already over a century old, deal with spritely, clever Clover and her unfortunate habit of trying to teach him to be ‘pleasant’. Clover learns all kinds of crazy magic in a method they certainly don’t teach at Cambridle, and Starswirl gets… well, henpecked, mostly. Kids these days.

Along the way we get to see wild adventures across multiverses, learn some interesting history, watch Cordelia suffer from a meltdown or three, face vicious assassins, deal with minor chaos demons (not the one you’re thinking of), and see magic on the cosmic scale. And it all comes down to one simple but important message: ponies are important. I loved every second of it.

About the only thing that bugs me is the suggestion that this world has a very different history from what we know. It seems Celestia and Luna existed before the founding of Equestria and somehow… died? I think? But we know they come back because we’ve seen the show. Unless this isn’t the same world we know; the story does provide good circumstantial evidence that this might not be the Equestria we are familiar with. I’d be interested in seeing a story that brings about the early(er) history of this world.

Regardless, this story was witty, full of life, and never boring. It’s filled to the brim with interesting characters who steadily and believably grow amidst all the unbelievableness. I applaud Daedalus Aegle for managing to make something so consistent and consistently endearing over a four year writing period; that cannot have been easy. And you should reward that perseverance and the talent on display by joining the 5,000+ people who have already read this. It’s an awesome look into the existence of one of the most famous figures in Equestrian history before canon decided to take an ill-conceived stab at it.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Diktat

152,958 Words
By Merc the Jerk
Sequel to The Laughing Shadow

After the unique and intriguing world of The Laughing Shadow, I was quite eager to read this one. Set in a strange, humanized world combining near-modern Earth, Equestria, and Arthurian Legend, Diktat occurs an indeterminate few years later with Rarity and Applejack happily married. After the King of Germany and the President of France are murdered, the world looks poised to enter a state of upheaval and war. Celestia, afraid that Equestria is about to face some new and serious threats – and possibly not from overt sources – decides to pursue an old legend: the Holy Grail. Already having a good idea of where to start looking, she calls upon Applejack and Rarity to join her on the expedition.

It took me a moment to get used to all the strange new names and histories of this world, having forgotten a bit in the long time between the stories, but it didn’t take long to pick back up. It ends up being another fun bit of exploration into a new universe with all sorts of strange possibilities. You know you’re seeing something quirky when you see a scene where King Arthur and Oda Nobunaga are having a polite, even jovial discussion together with young Celestia and Luna on the sidelines. There are a ton of oddities that you just have to accept, like how Germany is apparently an island nation in this world and major international discussions are held in dreams. There’s a ton of creativity here, hindered only by the fact you’re expected to run with all of it. I personally like the approach of not spoon-feeding the info to the readers, but I know there are plenty of people who will see this and demand explanations because they can’t be arsed to read the clues.

But what of the story? Well, that’s a bit of a mixed bag. We start off with a few chapters that seem to be little more than refreshers: “here’s what you missed in the last few years.” Which is fine, I suppose, but not very good at being a hook, at least not until the death of King Frederick three chapters in. Then: “We’re going on an adventure!” Except for a party we have to have first. And some combat training for the rookie. And some discussion about things going on in the world. And a meeting of diplomats. “Alright! Now we’re going on an adventure! Wait… where’d the audience go?”

It seems to me that Merc is more focused on making things happen in as realistic an order as possible than making a riveting and interesting string of events. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to be realistic, but some consideration also needs to be made for holding the readers’ interest. Diktat’s appeal is limited strictly to its unusual setting and character/relationship building. I’m sorry to say these things don’t always work together well enough to pull it off.

But when the ‘big events’ do finally come along, they more than make up for the wait. Be it battling giant sea monsters, a more true-to-origin variant of wendigo, or going one-on-one with a near-goddess, the action is riveting. And thanks to the stellar character portrayals making us really root for certain individuals, the stakes are high and the events emotional. That final battle (well, I guess technically the next-to-final battle) was hard to look away from.

There were some curious decisions made regarding these events, though. For example, we’re supposed to be hunting down a mythical relic, and time is of the essence! Oh, no, nevermind, we’re going to go on this side quest to beat some mythical monster tormenting this hick town. And only two of us. The rest will hang out in said town waiting to see the results. Which, when looking at the big picture, does make at least some sense. But it is a remarkable bit of character showcasing that nobody bats an eye at this sudden sidequest. They arrive in town, learn there’s a monster and, without being asked to help and without discussing it with the others, Applejack and Rarity immediately get to work figuring out what it is and how to stop it. I’m torn; on the one hand, it’s a great way of showcasing their personalities, but on the other, it’s completely different from anything I’ve seen in a story before.

That might make one think Merc the Jerk’s style is very showy, i.e., always let the readers figure it out on their own. Except it’s not. A great example is Spike’s history. There’s one chapter that is largely devoted to Celestia recalling Spike’s personal history as something akin to her surrogate son. It’s… well, it’s mostly pointless. Almost none of it advanced or proved relevant to any of the story. Oh, sure, it made it clear how she and Spike viewed one another, which does become pertinent, but did we really need to know who his parents were, what they did for Equestria, how they died, and so on? Not really.

This is what miffs me about Merc’s writing style: they can’t seem to decide whether to explain everything or nothing, so you end up learning a bunch of things you don’t need and missing a lot of stuff you do.

All of that said, I still really enjoyed this story. The worldbuilding, the adventure, the character and relationship growth, the creativity, it’s got everything it needs. The delivery is a little quirky and I found myself scratching my head a few times throughout, but ultimately we are given a fun and interesting tale with a central premise of the dangers of tyranny and the corruption of power. I loved the central debate and final message. The writing had a number of issues (I was alarmed when Celestia said she refused to condone Applejack’s actions, then realized it was probably a typo), but they only serve as minor distractions. This has been a strong continuation of the author’s unique universe and I look forward to seeing what they have planned for the next installment.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

PS: I’m 90% confident I know what Chrysalis’s role is going to be now.

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
The Laughing ShadowPretty Good


Stories for Next Week:

Yours Truly by Thanqol
One Pony’s Peculiar Predicament by Zeg
An Old Coot by Bachiavellian
Love on the Reef by D G D Davidson
My Little DJ by iDash
Speeding Ticket by Feeling Grand
The Rise of Lunchtime Luster by Twinkletail
Alternate Beginnings: Year One by Doug Graves
A Bed of Roses by Half the Battle
How the Foundation Ruined Nightmare Night by Drefsab


Recent Review Map:

Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXVI
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXVII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXVIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXIX
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXX
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Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXIV
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXV
Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXVI

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Comments ( 14 )

Daedalus Aegle is indeed an awesome author. I'm always happy to see someone else discover him. Be sure to look at the prequel/sister story that details Star Swirl's younger years.

Love on the Reef next week, eh? That'll be interesting. I was pleasantly surprised by it, so I'll be intrigued to see whether you were.

"and all of you reading it who like it so much"
You're welcome; thank you for writing it!

4941199
I'll do that.

4941214
The limit of 26 chapters is hard set and will not be broken.

That being said, I can see an argument for making two FIMFic chapters and just calling them Part I & Part II, although that seems an awful lot like cheating to me and I'm not likely to do it. FIMfiction has a bookmarking feature, and it works fine for such things.

The Education of Clover the Clever is criminally underappreciated, as is (IMHO) everything else that Daedalus Aegle has written. Hopefully, your review will help to correct that!

4941659
Criminally underappreciated? I see that all of your stories are hits, so I must question: do you realize how phenomenally hard it is in these waning days of MLP:FiM for your average writer to get 1,000 views, much less 5.4k of them? And with a 98% approval rating, at that! I’d say the story’s done pretty damn well.

4941664
Clover ought to have 1000 upvotes! Hell, it ought to be widely known as a fandom classic... but I will admit I'm a rabid Aegle fanboy, and my opinion on what ought to be might outstrip what is possible or even likely in this dissipated age.

4941677
I’m amazed it’s still possible for stories to get 1,000 upvotes anymore. I almost started off by saying it isn’t, but I see one of the stories currently in the feature box has achieved it, so what do I know?

I forgot to say the other day: Thanks for the review, Paul, always good to hear what does and doesn't work in your perspective. I did mention the other countries being a bit more island nations in TLS rather than land-locked, but it was basically a 2 sentence statement rather than anything heavily explained.

4941874
And yet those two sentences (I only recall one in Diktat) hold a ton of weight. They shined light on just how vastly different this world is, and that leads to a cascade of questions. It’s one thing to fill the world with magic and different technology and races and whatnot, but when you’re using real-world countries and peoples and suddenly throw the geography for a spin it creates a whole new can of worms.

At any rate, glad to have been of service!

So hey, I'm hoping to have a printed version of The Education ready for the Bronycon bookstore. May I use some lines from this review as a blurb on the cover?

5010922
By all means, go ahead!

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