FimFiction Link - Short ID: 515901/the-bug-crusader
Published: May '22
'The Bug Crusader' is a five thousand and eight hundred-word shortfic. Scootaloo is a changeling and she has some trouble admitting this.
Ah, changeling fics, a concept as old as time, but still very fun if pulled off well. This story sadly doesn't quite live up to its potential, but it's not without some saving graces.
Let's start with the technicalities: The fic's prose is nothing to write home about. While I wouldn't say that there is anything that really screams bad (aside from a few inconsequential typos), however, the story's word repetition and its occasional slip into "X said Y said" makes it a bit of a slog to get through.
The narrative itself is a mixed bag. On one hand, obviously because this is a comedy I cannot harp too hard on the story for not having that much drama. Hell, a few of the jokes ("fact three; she is orange" comes to mind) actually hit quite nicely and I do like the base concept. It provides a mostly elegant explanation to why Scootaloo has no parents present and lays the foundation for the possibility of some quite emotional drama as the CMC has to deal with this revelation.
Sadly, however, hardly any of this is present in the story. I feel like the fic doesn't really do enough with its base concept to really justify Scoots being a changeling. For instance most of the jokes are about her fear/hatred towards bugs - something that would work just as nicely if she's a normal pony. There are also a lot of jokes about characters being worried of someone kissing her and a lot of 4th wall breaking. Going back to the old adage, humor is very subjective, so it's entirely possible that someone else will have a riot with these, but for me it just felt like the author is padding the space in their story instead of focusing on the main conflict of the plot, which is, by the way, resolved in literal moments in the last chapter. Scootaloo doesn't use her powers in any meaningful way, first Rainbow Dash then everyone else immediately accepts her as a changeling, and her backstory is left completely hanging in the air. She is also orange in her normal form for some reason and the author calls attention upon this multiple times, but it has exactly no relevance to the plot. I wouldn't even necessarily point this out otherwise, but even the author mentions the fact that it doesn't affect the narrative in any way and I find that quite odd.
Overall: 3/10 There is nothing offensively bad about this story and there is technically a complete narrative arc, but it does little to nothing new, most of its jokes are totally unrelated to the plot, and its main character almost feels like a side-plot. Can't recommend.