• Member Since 16th May, 2013
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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!"

More Blog Posts470

Aug
13th
2020

Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXVI · 3:11pm August 13th

So. 36 years old as of yesterday. Funny, I don’t feel a day past 25. The only thing that bothers me is how quickly the year went by. I’m always reminded around my birthday that there are a lot of things I want to do and not much time to do them. It’s just another reason that I’m so determined to finally release an original fiction.

Speaking of, after discussing things with my pre-readers it is clear to me that Guppy Love is going to need significant editing, including the rewriting and rearranging of entire scenes. It’s one thing when your readers already know the characters, it’s another when you can’t expect that, and I need to adjust accordingly. And to be honest, a lot of these changes would have benefited the FIMfiction version, too, although I’ll be leaving that one as-is. Which just means the original fiction version will be unique, even if the themes and purpose are identical. Contrary to what one might expect, I am very happy about all of this, even if it does mean more work for me.

I’m starting a little vacation today. No reading horse words (at least not for reviewing), and no real-world work, either. It’ll only be for four days, but I’ve been looking forward to it for a month. I’ll see you folks on the other side.

Meanwhile? Reviews.

Stories for This Week:

Sirens Deserve Saving Too by aidyr
The First Step by Slateblu1
Lost Composure by MareDoVVell
Rain by Realm Jumper
Pinkie's Pies by Marine Delight
I... I lost? by Mocha Star
Time by Seer
The Cutie Mark Crusaders and the Legend of the Rainbow Idol by Cyanide
Ponies and Throwing Knives by HoofBitingActionOverload
Broken Symmetry by Trick Question

Total Word Count: 87,552

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 1
Pretty Good: 3
Worth It: 5
Needs Work: 1
None: 0


It was only a matter of time before Adagio broke. She understood that. She only wished it hadn’t happened at just the right time for Sunset Shimmer to witness it.

This didn’t go at all how I expected. Whether that’s good or not will depend upon what you want out of your stories. This one uses that annoying omni-aware style that randomly shifts perspectives between Adagio and Sunset. Between them we get to see Adagio keep a single talon firmly on her pride and independence even as the rest of her acknowledges that she’s in trouble, while Sunset struggles to find a way to convince the siren and former foe to let her help.

I enjoyed the story overall, as it refuses to whitewash the situation and make everything better with just a few quick and easy words (in blatant defiance of what the show would have us believe). This comes with caveats, most notable being that this feels more like the start of a series or larger story rather than the one shot it purports itself to be. More personal, and arguably subjective in nature, is Sunset’s willingness to accept the Dazzlings’ situation as being largely her fault. Yes, yes, she does mention that the Dazzlings had to be stopped for the greater good and whatnot, but then she proceeds to shoulder much of the blame. I get it, Sunset’s the ‘good girl’ now, but this seemed to be taking it too far.

Regardless, aidyr creates a largely believable and interesting dynamic between everyone’s favorite Orange Power Poof and the Bacon Supreme. I enjoyed the overarching scene and would be interested in seeing it expanded into the greater story it was clearly meant to be (but probably never will).

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Sunset is called into the principal’s office. Again. This time she has no idea why.

Set shortly after the first Equestria Girls, this story has Luna – not Celestia, curious switcheroo there, author – talk to Sunset about her situation and how to improve it. Strangely, Slateblu1 skips the vast majority of the conversation. I suppose they didn’t consider it important to the point of the story, and I can understand that. Still, I’d have preferred to have witnessed it, especially after all that buildup.

This ends up being a call from Slateblu1 to those needing help, even going so far as to link to a few therapy sites in the author’s notes at the end. It all feels a little heavy-handed to me. It’s not just the links, it’s Sunset’s over the top reaction to Luna’s words. It just seems like she broke down far too easily. But then, I’ve never been in that kind of situation before, and I’m by no means an expert in therapy, so it’s not like I can make that call objectively.

Still, for all my doubts I’m always interested in a potential Sunset recovery arc. Thus, I will be reading the sequel to see where this is going. Hopefully future stories will be less blatant in their messaging. I’ll be putting this in the middle ground, as I’ve no problem with how it’s written or the theme, and I do approve of the author’s intentions, if not their methodology.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


It’s 3 AM when Twilight is awoken from her bed of books by an irate, drunk-off-her-rocker Rarity pelting stones at her window.

Basic premise is basic: Rarity, far more drunk than anypony should be, goes to Twilight to complain about how the princess seems to be chasing after every unicorn in Equestria except her. I love that Drunk Rarity thinks Twilight has a unicorn harem including the likes of Sunset, Starlight, and Trixie. That amuses me to no end. That said, the frequent use of all-caps to denote screaming consistently deadened the impact via my eye-rolling.

There’s not much else to talk about here. It’s a silly romance, complete with jokes that put to rest Twilight’s potential relationships with the aforementioned mares so that RariTwi can be a thing. Aside from the all-caps occurrences, the only thing that makes me hesitate is the question of how the heck Rarity remembered anything at all about that night considering how inebriated she clearly was.

Still, shippers will love it, and who am I to deny them?

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Rain

1,151 Words
By Realm Jumper

Rainbow Dash’s last stunt was… well, her last. Now Not You stands in front of her grave one rainy day.

That’s right, this is another story in *shudder* Second Person. Except in this case “You” are actually Applejack. Of course, I am not Applejack, so the entire premise failed for me from the start. There’s also the fact that I’ve read far too many “standing before the grave feeling miserable” stories to be affected by them much anymore, even when they’re well done.

And to be fair, this one isn’t bad in terms of presentation. A little oversaturated, but for obvious reasons. Realm Jumper does a decent job channeling AJ’s misery at what’s happened and why, never neglecting the atmosphere no matter what’s happening. Which is exactly the kind of treatment a story like this needs. A few errors crop up, such as one instance where the narrative shifts tenses randomly, or a few incorrect words (facet?), but generally speaking the story is well-written.

It loses points for needless Second Person and being something I’ve already read a bajillion times, but earns some leeway for being one of the better stories to try it that I’ve seen in a long while. If you’re interested in reading one of these mourning types, I can’t think of a better one to try.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Pinkie Pie decided to try something new, and so started her own pizza business on top of her job with the Cakes.

Allow me to quote Rainbow Dash: Pinkie Pie, you are so random.

This is apparently some sort of ‘restaurant Equestria’, since it seems to be focused on the Mane 6 starting restaurants. Granted, that’s a big jump considering all we know is Pinkie starting a pizza joint and Rainbow starting a burger joint, but those two concepts independently are so nonsensical and unlikely that it can only be an intended trend. I can see Rarity starting an elite dining establishment, Fluttershy and Twilight combining forces to make a healthy eating/nutrition store/restaurant, and Applejack making an Equestrian version of Cracker Barrel. Quick, somebody write a new version of the show opener centered around competing indie restaurants joining together to beat Nightmare Moon’s corporate takeover in the name of local economic harmony!

The story has a number of strange quirks. For one, I question if Marine Delight’s ever worked in the food industry before. They make it sound far simpler than it really is. Then there’s the weird shifts in focus, such as near the beginning when Pinkie takes the time to let us know that she’s all sweaty, wearing a white t-shirt, and has a ‘bountiful’ bosom. I’ll grant this is the author trying to describe her look, but the way it’s handled almost makes one think that Pinkie’s Pies is about delivering something other than pizza, if you get my meaning.

Ultimately, this story is little more than a brief window into a day on the job for Pinkie. I’ll admit, it’s an interesting idea if you wanted to turn things upside down. Marine Delight plays it straight, which is fine, but I feel like this is an idea that needs more than a quick glance to really work. There’s no conflict, no overarching theme, no purpose. It just is. Which is too bad, because with the right kind of attention this could open up uncharted territory that could be interesting. I’m thinking either a legitimate look at the real world strife of restaurateurs or a comedy romp of culinary nonsense and caricature. Both would be worth my time.

I’ll put this on the middle ground. There’s nothing wrong with the story in and of itself, it just lacks… presence.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


I... I lost?

1,638 Words
Mocha Star failed to provide cover art.

*Why, yes, I am using a new "no cover art" image. Figured it was time for an update.*

Looking at the description and title, I expected this to be about a very young Rainbow Dash losing her first race and taking it poorly. To my surprise, it’s actually about an OC named Bumble Buzz who gets into an official competition that happens to have famous Wonderbolt Rainbow Dash participating. Since she’s already given up any hope of beating Rainbow, she becomes determined to land among the top three.

There’s no small amount of confusion with this one. How is it Bumble Buzz doesn’t know the rules for the race that she has admittedly trained for years to participate in? How was she able to act all defeated for so long before anybody bothered to tell her what’s going on? What in Celestia’s name do the last three sentences have to do with anything at all that happened in the rest of the story? What, what, and what?

If you can read this from the perspective of it being a scene aimed at atmosphere and emotion, then I suppose it’s not bad. The author could have done a better job at giving the race some intensity, but what they offer is alright. It’s those weird plot holes that throw the whole thing for a loop. If you can get past them, maybe you’ll find something worthwhile.

This story was released early in Mocha Star’s FIMfiction career, so I’m more than willing to give them another go and see if a more recent work might be more interesting.

Bookshelf: Needs Work

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Time

1,406 Words
By Seer

Celestia spends the night in Rarity’s bed. She wonders how many more nights they’ll have together.

This almost feels like an Immortality Sucks story. I say ‘almost’, because while Celestia worries over the inevitable loss of Rarity, she never laments the act of being immortal unto itself. It’s more like she’s appreciating how little time she has with Rarity. It’s a fine line of difference, and that line gets blurry a little in this story, so I wouldn’t blame anyone for making the accusation.

The one thing that bugs me about all of this is that the protagonist is Celestia. By her own admission, she’s counting her age by the millennia. It stands to reason that she should be used to this by now.

At the same time, I must again reiterate that it doesn’t feel like an Immortality Sucks story. I came away seeing this as Celestia having that moment of awareness due to proximity. It’s easy enough to be an aloof immortal when you’re sitting on a throne giving out decrees, the guards and your secretary changing faces and names becoming almost routine. It’s another thing entirely when the face and name belong to someone precious to you. Without ever acknowledging it, I feel that’s what this story is trying to capture.

I approve. The nuance is enough to give this one an edge in my opinion, and I’m willing to give it a good rating as a result. That said, I won’t be surprised if most people read it, think it’s just another Immortality Sucks story, and move on.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


The Cutie Mark Crusaders descend into the Root Cellar Caverns in search of the beautiful and delicious Rainbow Idol, which they absolutely have permission to get. Yep. Sure. Trust them.

This is a cute little story in which our favorite trio of fillies go down into the Sweet Apple Acres root cellar to get the last jar of Zap Apple Jam, and use the opportunity to work their imaginations. The story alternates between the real world and an interpretation of those events through the eyes of children, depicting them as Daring Do-esque adventurers exploring ancient ruins. I love how Applejack is depicted as a dragon. She might not find the comparison so flattering.

If you feel like having some fun looking at the world through the eyes of adventurous kids, this will do the job for you. It’s all kinds of endearing and I wholeheartedly approve.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
The Moonstone CupPretty Good
Areas of ExpertiseWorth It
Twilight Sparkle Plays With DollsNeeds Work


When word of a throwing knife competition reaches Rainbow’s ears, she’s initially not interested. Then she finds out Applejack is interested, and anything that interests Applejack interests Rainbow Dash. For, uh, entirely platonic reasons. Yeah.

This one comes out of nowhere by suggesting Applejack used to be an expert knife thrower for rodeos and, to make things even crazier, intends to literally throw knives at Rainbow Dash for the competition. It ends up being about trust between individuals, both in relation to throwing knives and matters of the heart.

What we end up with is an unconventional romance that works far better than you might expect. Featuring pitch perfect characterization, it’s both fun and endearing in spades. The only quirks I would hold against it is that the trust issue that supposedly exists for Rainbow doesn’t for the readers, as there was no point in the story I felt like there was any danger. I mean, if your central topic is meant to be trust against the risk of potential death, you’d be forgiven for expecting there to be a reasonable fear of that happening. But HoofBitingActionOverload doesn’t offer that, which struck me as… well, odd.

The second thing to get to me was that one scene where the perspective shifts. The entire story, from beginning to end, is from Rainbow’s perspective… except one tiny, innocuous scene where we get Applejack’s view of things. I understand why the author chose to include it, but I honestly don’t think the story needed it.

But ignoring that, an all-around pleasant piece. If AppleDash is your thing, by all means, give it a go. Heck, even if AppleDash isn’t your thing, this idea is fresh enough to warrant the attention.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Bouts of Forgetful Artistic DestructionWHYRTY?
There's Something in the WoodsWHYRTY?
Where Have the Stars Gone?WHYRTY?
You Want MeWHYRTY?
A Good PrincessPretty Good


Princess Twilight Sparkle goes to see Moondancer, who she finds is performing research on quantum mechanics. Powerful research. Research that can, if mishandled, lead to a lot of problems.

She wouldn’t be Twilight Sparkle if she didn’t dive in horn-first!

Woah, but this is a trip. Told entirely from the perspective of Moondancer, Broken Symmetry goes all in with its quantum mechanics theming, going on lengthy discussions about the nature of the field of study, how it might work in regards to travel between time and dimensions, and the potential consequences of it. If that sounds like it might get a little complicated, you’re severely underestimating the problem: it’s a lot complicated. Trick Question tries hard to hold your hand through it via the explanations and debates formed between Moonie and Twi, but I’ll freely admit I was lost more than once.

If that were everything to this story, I might have had a more negative reaction to it. Luckily, Trick Question never forgets that this is meant to be a story just as much as it is a tourist’s guide through quantum mechanics. That story involves Moondancer struggling to understand her relationship with Twilight, an unknown saboteur threatening her research for potentially malicious purposes, mysteries of time and crime, murder maybe foul, and questions regarding the value of an individual over the value of a people. This is the full package.

I loved it. Moondancer’s characterization is spot on as she tries and fails – or actively denies success in – understanding how relationships work. Seeing her taking strides to figure out what she should do in any given social situation was a treat all by itself, lending itself to a wonderfully agonizing pratfall of a romance. It’s only accentuated by Twilight’s adorableness in the face of scientific discovery.

There’s a running mystery that outlines everything, namely: who the heck is sabotaging Moondancer’s research? It is in struggling to solve that mystery that the quantum mechanics theories, the emotional struggle of our protagonists’ relationship, and the overarching philosophies play out. To be honest, I made the correct prediction within three or four chapters, but I was never absolutely certain until near the end. Then comes said ending, where all the blocks are put in place, and I wasn’t sure whether I felt cheated or had been given a gift. It all made sense, just not in the way that had been advertised throughout the story. A curious move, but not one I’m opposed to.

I never did manage to wrap my head around all the quantum mechanics mumbo jumbo going on through much of the story, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d say it’s a testament to Trick Question’s abilities as a writer that such a thing can happen. I strongly encourage giving it a go, because it’s a fun story from beginning to end.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
The Price of a SmileWHYRTY?
Back to NormalPretty Good
Dead and Loving ItPretty Good
Flash in the PanPretty Good


Stories for Next Week:

The Longest Night by spideremblembrony
The Equestrian Opposition Party by Chessie
No Foals by Flashgen
Twilight Tonight by Skylarking the Stargazer
The Perfect Gentlemare by Iris Heartfang
the light on The Other Side of the river by Hap
Fly Too Close to the Sun... She May Never Let Go by Spacecowboy
A Princess by Any Other Name by Skywriter
Look on Down From the Bridge by FloydienSlip
Discord's After-Mails by Lise


Recent Review Map:

Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXI
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXIV
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXV
You Are Here
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXVII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXVIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXIX
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXX
TBD

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Comments ( 20 )

Late happy birthday to you.:heart:

Ooh stories I haven't seen before. I'll add them to the library

Hey thanks for the review mate!

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive when I first saw you were gonna cover this because I'm not too big a fan of most stuff I wrote pre my first horror story. That was when I actually started becoming okay in my opinion lol, so if I'm being honest I'm not sure how much I would recommend the sequel to this fic.

But still, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and review the story! I know you go through a huge amount of pieces, so it's really cool you found this one! :twilightsmile:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Liking the new no cover art image. :)

Happy birthday!

Merry borfmas, O Ancient One!

That new ‘no cover art’ image is strangely appropriate for the first story title it falls under.

Many happy returns :pinkiehappy:

Haven't read any of these.

I like how the "no cover art" picture actually seems to suit that story. I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't added the blurb about it.

5335169
Why haven't you read these yet?! :pinkiegasp:

:raritywink:

Excellent as always.

I'm reminded that I've stopped celebrating my birthday some time ago. I literally forgot about it last year and a friend had to remind me lol.

Anyway happy birthday!

5334931
5335029
5335052
Many thanks!

5334938
It amuses me to no end that this is a thing. Thanks!

5335257
Don't think I could ever forget my birthday, even if by now it feels like any other day.

5334937
Can't help it. Must... read... sequels! :pinkiecrazy:

5334955
5335152
5335169
I looked at a lot of Rainbow Crash images before picking this one. I'm considering grabbing a collection of them and using a random one every time instead of the same one all the time. More interesting that way. And I might not limit it to only Rainbow Dash, either. I'd use gifs, but those tend to require the reader manually expand the image. Which is unfortunate, because there are some really good ones out there.

5335230
5335257
TFW FIMFiction won't let you upvote comments anymore because it thinks you're spamming.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5335533
You should definitely keep it to Rainbow Dash if you want to use more than one image. Otherwise we might think that's the story's cover art! XD

5335539
Eh, good point. Rainbow Crash it is!

You reviewed my story! And an old one at that! Thanks! You do have good points in critique, and I do appreciate your views on it. Thanks again! :pinkiehappy:

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