/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews

We Spoke Of Was And When

FimFiction Link - Short ID: 515785/we-spoke-of-was-and-when

Published: Apr '22

Review in No. 38522177
'We Spoke Of Was And When' is a three thousand and nine hundred-word oneshot sequel to 'The Mare Who Sold the World.' Twilight reminisces over a meeting with Pinkie.
In a way this fic is both a sequel and a prequel to the previous one, as it is largely spent reminiscing about the events that set the first story's events in motion. I really like the author's choice of characters, Twilight is a given, of course, but featuring Pinkie makes a lot of sense. Aside from two notable exceptions, I really like how the whole scene plays out very "innocently." Even though Twilight is revealing the dark side of Equestria's clandestine operations, the whole thing is done with a lot of hugs and tears, which sounds somewhat absurd written down like this, but I think it works surprisingly well. I was also very pleasantly surprised by the main "twist" of the story, because it's not even a twist technically, the very description states clearly what's going on and yet it took me a while until it clicked that we're actually looking at the real Twilight's memories before she swapped places with Redheart.
However, as much as I enjoy the overarching narrative, I think the author should have probably committed more to telling a serious story. While I did find the various MGS name references endearing, the more overt jokes like Pinkie Deadpooling extremely hard and Twilight repeatedly using "bucking" was very immersion breaking. I understand that the latter is a very common thing in horsewords, but to me it is an absolute pet peeve. In my opinion authors should either just say "fuck" if they want to swear or use a show expletive or don't swear at all. This sort of handwaving does nothing more than take away the seriousness of an otherwise fairly grim story. Similarly Pinkie going "haha I've read the plot" is the kind of joke that can work nicely in a comedy fic, but opens a nasty can of worms in one where the reader is supposed to take things fairly realistically. I also heavily doubt Twilight would put her own plan in jeopardy by using Twinkle Sprinkle as a codename.
Finally I'm feeling fairly ambivalently about the way the fic portrays the past events. On one hand I very much enjoy the journal / newspaper format the story uses, on the other, however, I think a couple of vignettes really cannot build the world in a way that feels really satisfying. Each individual event detailed here could get its own (perhaps even long)fic and yet they're dealt with in one or two paragraphs.
Overall: 5/10 Am I still interested in the narrative? Yes, the plot itself is still very much engaging and clearly there is still plenty of concepts left to explore. However, I highly hope the author will make up his mind whether he wants to write a comedy or not and, if he isn't, he'll give the story the atmosphere it deserves.