/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews

First Week of Winter

FimFiction Link - Short ID: 19504/first-week-of-winter

Published: Apr '12Oct '12

Review in No. 39138182
Do you watch John Carpenter movies? I do. I’d dare say he’s one of my favourite directors, so when I saw this story was a crossover of sorts between his films and MLP, I told myself “Why not?”. I know crossovers are a red-flag of their own, but I was willing to give this a shot. Let’s say my expectations were subverted.
The first eight chapters are without a doubt the best part of the story, a perfect rendition of The Thing—and a dash of Prince of Darkness—. A secluded research facility in the far north, isolated protagonists with no immediate way of escape, and a creature picking them one by one.
This part of the story is superbly done, it manages to get across a real feeling of tension and dread as you wonder who may be infected. It's really suspenseful and the gore doesn't feel gratuitous. The characterizations are spot on, everyone behaves in a believable manner, almost as if you had plucked them straight out of the show and tossed them into a situation of unimaginable horror.
I would say that this could have been one of the best crossovers out there.
Until you reach chapter nine.
There were a few loose ends and hints of a deeper plot, so the story clearly wasn't over. But once you reach chapter nine, everything that came before gets thrown out of the window and you're thrust into a rush to prevent the Elder Gods from taking over Equestria through the books of a horror author.
Those first two thirds of the story you spent invested on the group's survival? The time spent trying to figure out who could be infected, and who could be next? The times you felt bad when someone died? Yeah, all of that was Sugar Cane, trying to wrap things up so the Elder Gods could take over Equestria, no biggie.
Review in No. 39138192
Gone is the tension of figuring out who will survive, gone is the rich atmosphere of the claustrophobic research facility, gone is the dread and fear that build up with every passing moment as you followed the characters as they slowly lost their minds, gone is the entire tone, gone is all the investment you had in the first two thirds of the entire story.
By the time Twilight and Sugar Cane are debating about the nature of fiction you'll have forgotten everything about the first part of the story.
It's almost as if the author forgot that he also wanted to adapt In the Mouth of Madness halfway through the story, so he wrote a few more chapters focusing on that, because I cannot for the life of me fathom why the story has such a jarring disconnect between those two segments and then draws itself out for another nearly forty thousand words the way it did.
I was almost tempted to make a rewrite of chapter nine onwards and give the "The Thing" segment a proper resolution. Had the first part been shorter and better integrated with the latter, I probably would have enjoyed the story as a whole. But as it stands, the first segment is so well done and the tonal shift to the last third of it is so jarring, it just adds insult to injury.
Depending on how you look at it, First Week of Winter is either an enjoyable yet incomplete homage to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or an absolute mess of a fic that nobody should read. And despite how much I enjoyed the first 8 chapters, I’m sadly inclined towards the latter.
Don't bother, unless you really, really want to read The Thing but with ponies. Then just read the first eight chapters and make up your own ending.