Monday, January 29, 2018

Mini-Reviews Round 216

It's been brought to my attention that this blog's subheader ("Updating M-W-F, whether Chris has anything interesting to say or not") has not been, strictly speaking, all that accurate for the last couple of months.  That notwithstanding, I'm going to keep it for now; I've been rolling with that line for over six years, and even if it's currently more aspirational than factual, it's still traditional, y'know?  Hopefully, I'll be able to make it more consistently true statement in the future.

But for today, at least, it's theoretically, historically, and literally true!  Click down below the break for some reviews.

The Unbroken Spirit, by Prane

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  In the aftermath of the events of the FiM movie, Tempest Shadow comes across Sombra's horn.  And it offers her exactly what she's spent her whole adult life searching for.

A few thoughts:  I was a bit put off by the writing on this fic; there are more than a few oddly-worded sentences (including in the description itself--consider the last clause in "She hasn't been banished her for her crimes, but no party can change the festering feeling of being out of place, to not say straight unwelcome"), and there's a fair bit of tense or number confusion throughout the fic.  For all that, it's not really badly edited by fanfic standards... it's just that the kind of errors in the story are particularly hard to read around, having as they do a tendency to change the meaning of a sentence.  The premise itself is an interesting one (to again quote the description, "The hornless pony finds the ponyless horn's offer tempting." Doesn't that just draw you in right from the get-go?), and while the story itself is mostly two ponies talking, the use of mental and magical imagery to evoke events of the past and (possible) future(s) keeps everything feeling active.  Plus, I didn't have any trouble understanding what was going on despite not having seen the movie, so that's good!  The moral at the end (or rather, its presentation) would be more at home in the show itself than in the more malevolently manipulative fic which actually leads up to it, but then, I suppose faulting a climax for feeling too show-tone isn't too damning a complaint in the context of a FiM fic, is it?

Recommendation:  If you enjoy conversation fics and are at all intrigued by this one's premise, it's certainly worth a look.  If you're easily pulled out of stories by technical problems, though, the particular sort on display here might prevent you from fully enjoying the story.

Luna's Throne, by River Babble

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Not too long after the Tantabus incident, Luna is confronted with an unexpected question by a foal visiting the castle on a class field trip: how come Celestia has a throne, but Luna doesn't?

A few thoughts:  This is a story that subordinates realistic speech patterns and behavior to its message, and if that's the kind of thing that bugs you (if, for example, you're put off by children unnaturally expounding for paragraphs on end), then this fic will drive you batty.  In its defense, though, all that exposition is in the service of a good moral, clearly presented, and without any obvious troubling implications.  So the way ponies talk to each other may not feel realistic here, but the feelings their unrealistically expressing feel real themselves, if that makes sense.  The narration (perhaps unsurprisingly, given what I've already said) is on the telly side, but largely manages to stay out of its own way; this fic's prose rarely calls attention to itself, largely to its benefit.  And the ending is just the kind of cute/sweet one would hope for from a fic about coming to terms with your place in the world.

Recommendation:  Don't read this if you can't tolerate children talking like adults, or characters speaking in ways unlike real people in general.  But if that's not a deal-breaker for you, and if you're looking for something affirming but not too sappy about Luna overcoming her self-doubt, this would be one worth trying.


  1. I had around the same appreciation for Luna's Throne as you did, it would seem!

  2. "(if, for example, you're put off by children unnaturally expounding for paragraphs on end)"

    Nothing I enjoy more than an author-mouthpiece message fic! [/sarcasm]