FimFiction Link - Short ID: 521680/the-apple-of-my-eye
Published: Aug '22
'The Apple Of My Eye' is a five thousand and five hundred-word shortfic. While Applejack is gone on an adventure, Apple Bloom struggles to fill her sister's horseshoes.
Compared to the first story, 'A Little Trust Goes a Long Way!', this fic fixes many of the original's mistakes and though it ultimately has a far less ambitious plot, I personally found it more engaging despite this. Unlike in the prequel, here I could hardly find any obvious typos and even those were seemingly caused by momentary lapses of attention instead of repeating the same mistake again and again. That is not to say the author doesn't have space to get better, the prose still feels a bit stiff and lacks the sort of playfulness that truly great fics feature, but the improvement is still worth applauding.
As for the plot itself, this story is a lot more SoL-focused and low-stakes. One could almost call it a spin-off, as instead of focusing on the M6, it follows the CMC, specifically Apple Bloom as she tries to cope with her sister's absence. I quite like how she is characterized here, both the fact that she promptly forgets about her duties and how she tries to make up for them feels in character. The way the story was resolved felt pretty heartwarming and on par with how I'd except the characters to behave. Though nothing made me outright laugh, the CMC banter was mostly entertaining and the callback in the very last chapter worked as a nice joke.
There are largely three things that I found odd enough to mention: For one, in the beginning of the story Applejack makes a big deal out of having "the talk" with AB (so much so, that this even came up in the prequel), but it turns out all she says to her are things she (and the reader) already knows and the story quickly leaves this behind. It felt like a lot of buildup for something that ultimately proved to be largely inconsequential. For two, Discord's appearance in the story is once again weird. He pops up for one chapter, temps the CMC to do stupid stuff and when they tell him that they already tried, he leaves. I'm genuinely unsure what his role was meant to be in the story, because his advice is both helpful and malicious, but he also gives up so fast that it just felt confusing. And finally three different characters use the term "burn the candle on both ends" very closely to each other. Admittedly this one is a nitpick compared to the previous two, but still, it's important to pay attention to term repetition, because it can act quite immersion breaking in a short story like this.
Overall: 5/10 It's a decent story. Nothing really earth shattering or overly novel, but also no great offenses. Considering its short length and SoL genre, I can recommend it as a piecemeal fic for those who just want a simple, no frills story that can be read in a few minutes.