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HapHazred
Group Admin

This is where anybody with an opinion can post what they think of stories in the submissions folder. Here, our aim is to take a global look at whether the story is worth our time to read or not. This may differ from other types of reviews: here the goal isn't to find flaws in a story and how to fix them for the author's benefit, it's to assess whether the story meets a certain standard or not for the reader's benefit. We find flaws and positive points in order to back up our decision.

You don't have to be an admin or contributor to provide your opinion: in fact this thread will also serve as a trial session for choosing future admins who's job will be to move stories in the folders free from my watchful eye.

But if you already know you want more people to review stories and work on their own, why do you need this trial session thing?

Well, first off, we're in no hurry. There's only fifty-three people in the group, so why panic? Second, I grew up without friends so trust doesn't come easily to me. Forgive me for my paranoia.

I forgive you, HazardPony!

Aw, thank you.

So, here we go: judge stories on writing quality: grammar, pacing, formatting... if a story becomes a pain to read, we're not going to want it here.

Second: judge on originality, and how much this story stands out from others. I've read enough AppleDash to know that I'm not really beefed about reading another story where the pair are coming to terms with being fillyfoolers, or a HiE which ticks all the boxes for 'most tropes used' all at once. I don't need stories to be unlike anything I've ever seen, but it should at least set itself apart from other stories in some regard.

NOTE: this is a bit subjective, obviously. Just use your best judgement, and if anything goes wonky, I'll step in and explain exactly why I'm right.

Judge on how fun the story is, for whatever reason: okay, so this one is also subjective, so just use your judgement.

I should hope this goes without saying, but since this is the internet: don't insult any authors. Don't hold back, but... you know the drill.

And that's it. I will take any and all reviews you guys do into account, and when possible quote them in my final decision thread.

No go ahead and have some fun! If you can be bothered, please introduce yourself, too: tell us what's your favorite type of cake, why you dislike caterpillars, or throw us an incredibly awesome AMV you think describes your soul or something. All the things: I like knowing who reviews me, and I'm sure our authors will too.

Hello, I'm Vb (for short), I like chocolate cake, I have no qualms with caterpillars unless they are toxic, and I'm not certain it's an AMV, but it is my favorite anime and awesome anyway:

I'm certain that was useful. Onwards to the submissions folder!

Canterlot Academy: Knights of the Dark Moon 

Overall Impression: Good

Author: Lord Lycaon (and zodiacspear)
Tags: Alternate Universe, Teen
Length: 83,230 words (incomplete)

Take this review with a grain of salt. I review harshly, but I still like the story thus far. Also yes I read a 80k story in less than two hours and wrote a review. I also made pankakes and coffee since then. I read fast. Vb~

***

 

Well well well. Another boarding school setup where everyone is attending, intresting and possibly dangerous happenings occur, centered around a collection of slightly extraordinary students. So far so Hogwarts. So cliché. So well-explored.

So AWESOME!

I admit, I love the structure having a story set in a boarding school environment can give a story. The lack of exposure to the world outside the school (even when it is in the middle of a city) lets authors focus, and keeps the drama contained, and needs little rail-roading to keep everything on track.

Knights of the Dark Moon starts off with exposition on the history of the world, and does a good job of capturing the feeling of the show's storybook sequences while filling us in on how this land is diffrent from what we are used to. If follows this up with some clever twists that... never really come up again. Twilight Sparkle is the main character throughout, and her interactions with her brother and the students she meets feels spot-on to how a Twilight raised in this world would behave.

I also like how a frankly ridiculous number of side characters are present at the Academy, each with their own motivations, but never obstruct whatever is supposed to be happening at the time, and all of them are well-know to us: the rest of the Mane Six, background ponies, one-offs... and a single OC that stands out like a lump on a glass plate. He's not that offensive, though, but still finds ways to jar my immersion.

That brings me around to my second point: this story has two authors, and it is quite possible to pick out the differences before one gets to the Author's Notes at the bottom and discovers who wrote the section. At times the dialogue will suddenly shift from flowing and natural to "flat wut" levels of blandness, and I feel the split load of the writing may have somthing to do with this, and is only really bad in the early chapters. Having worked before on colaboration projects, I can only recommend to other authors both thoroughly examine and not only edit, but re-write each other's work as needed to smooth out the variations between their styles.

My final criticism is that for an 80-thousand word story, very little that feels of importance has happened. Small drops fall here and there to hint at somthing happening outside of the reach of the characters. I don't have a huge problem with that (the ongoings are intresting), but I picked up the story expecting to learn what the punnily-named Knights are sooner rather than later, and unless somthing comes up in the three chapters I have not read it looks like it will stay that way.

That said, I have read a lot of stories, both here and elsewhere, that take place in these kind of structures, and hold them to high standards. Thus, after reading through the majority of what was written I came to the conclusion Knights of the Dark Moon is "Good Enough." There is nothing really bad in the story, it is well written, fleshed out, and avoids most of the common pitfalls. However, in the same breath, I can criticize the slow pace, lack of critical worldbuilding in a clearly fantastic setting and my own entierly personal problems with characterization (that I doubt anyone else will have).

Worthy of your time to read? Absolutely. Add this to your library. It is good. 

Worthy of Olympus? I cannot endorse it. It needs improvement, but this story has reached such a beastly size that I do not think it can be tamed.

4054365 Thank you for your honesty. We'll work on improving how things flow. My co-author and I do have a sequel planned, and your criticism will no doubt help to improve how that turns out, as well how the rest of Knights goes.

4054365 I wish to double the thanks for the review, and your blunt honesty with it. I am glad to know you enjoyed it despite the issues you pointed out. Such issues will be addressed in future chapters.

On a personal note, the original character that was mentioned was mine, and your description of him as is, is spot on. He does serve a purpose in the plot so he will eventually see more characterization to where he will fit in with the story as naturally as the others. But I understand that he appears as flat and uninteresting as of now, a correction that will be addressed.

Again, thank you for the review!

4054496
4054603

You are both welcome, and despite my tendancy to ream things, I really did enjoy it. Educated at the Ben Crawshaw School of Review, I'm afraid.

4054274
Oh, this is my refusal to read anything related to or inspired by "Madoka Magika." I have been traumatised enough, thank you.
I also cannot review my own story, for obvious reasons. someone else will have to do those.

HapHazred
Group Admin

4054927 I don't even know what Madoka Magika is. The good news is that I'm never traumatized enough, so this'll be fun. Crossovers are my favourite (he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm)

HapHazred
Group Admin

4054285 Hi there. Just warning you that if you decide to keep on reviewing, I may not be able to do anything with the stuff immediately for a few days: I'm afraid things are looking really busy for this week.

That said, you did a very good job on the last one you did, and whether you want to do this regularly or not, I've been very glad for your help.

4062592
I have another one in mind (Super Duper Pony Couple) once I find the beer motivation.

HapHazred
Group Admin

4062617 But beer = motivation, doesn't it?

Either way, cheers for your help so far. I have no idea how you read 80K words in one afternoon, but it's a skill I wish I had for exam period. Use it wisely.

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