FimFiction Link - Short ID: 58321/exit-through-canterlot
Published: Oct '12 — Jul '14
Exit Through Canterlot is a mediumfic/novel (137k words) Slice of Life story focusing on Octavia picking up spray paint and taking her art to the streets of Canterlot.
First of all I must state that this was a good story. It has some issues (which I'll soon get to) but the idea is very interesting, the chapters don't needlessly drag on and prose is enjoyable. The writing isn't perfect and you're likely to notice more than a couple missed periods, misspellings or repeated words but thankfully these mistakes are rare enough to not detract from the story too strongly.
Like I said earlier, a major selling point for the story is the idea behind it. "What if Octavia wasn't so accepting of the snobish Canterlot elite and was only pretending to be, for the sake of her career? What if, then, something pushed her over the edge?". That's a really cool concept and the author does it justice. Although the number of actual art pieces described is sadly somewhat low, Octavia's character is always in the spotlight and her actions are well-motivated. Despite a few drastic turns in the plot of this relatively short fic, the story never becomes melodramatic. Following "Flanksy's" successes and failures was very interesting, no matter if she was in the right or not. It's also worth mentioning that she's not the only interesting character in the fic. Prince Blueblood quickly becomes an antagonist attempting to stop her from -- in his view -- ruining Canterlot. His character is more complex than you'd expect and, until the last few chapters, his goals make him less of a cartoony villain than I feared he would be, based on his appearance in the show itself. He's never a 'good guy' but he's not a villain either. I really liked this version of Blueblood. He's an antagonist who stands for everything that Octavia seeks to change but his ambitions are reasonable and hardly wrong, too.
With those two characters in mind, it's even more of a shame that third most important character and Octavia's roommate, Vinyl, suffers from having her character be dramatically underdeveloped through almost the entire fic. She's almost entirely a plot device (plot pony?) with no agency of her own. The side characters are exactly that - side characters - perhaps with the exception of Princess Celestia whose portrayal in this fic struck me as quite good. That does make me wonder why Princess Luna is completely absent from the story, though.
One more aspect of the story that I think I should address is the nature of Octy's new art. Or maybe you'd find calling it "art" more accurate. Street art isn't exactly near and dear to my heart but even then, for all the talk about expressing yourself and your creativity, more than a few of Octavia's works are very boring. The story excuses some of it by her essentially having to pioneer this new art form and the rest by an important change that I won't spoil, but in the end she's being just a hooligan for a majority of the story. Maybe the problem is with me being too close-minded to accept it but I found that it clashed with the narrative that emphasized creative freedom over being rebellious for the sake of it. The second twist comes at least a chapter too early to make her actions remotely sympathetic. The resolution comes really quickly, too, a bit too quickly considering how far Octavia goes during the second part of her act. However, I did like that the ending didn't resolve every issue presented in the fic.
As I said at the very beginning of this review, the core idea is excellent and its execution is, for the most part, good. Despite my gripes with some of the creative choices, my final score is 8/10 and a recommendation from me, the Anonymous.