FimFiction Link - Short ID: 525125/bloodberries
Published: Oct '22
'Bloodberries' is an eight thousand and nine hundred-word oneshot. Applejack finds out what Strawberry Sunrise really does.
Probably the first thing that struck me about this fic was just how fun its prose is. While it might not reach the whimsy of 'Bug', the author certainly utilized an impressive amount of literary tools to make the text as entertaining as it can be. Discrete use of italics, small asides in parentheses, and other more conventional devices allow the reader to really get into AJ's head and feel just how pissed she is about the strawberry farmer. Though, it serves little purpose in the overarching narrative, I also enjoyed the constant little backtrackings she makes to make it sure she still adheres to her element. Perhaps in a more serious fic, this could feel out of place without further explanation, but here it works a quite nice joke.
However, what makes the fic click all the better is that the childish feud between the two mares is really just the framing device for the actual plot, which is AJ discovering the secret of Sunrise's greenhouse. Considering the season and the title, one could make a reasonably educated guess about the answer, but I didn't feel like this detracted anything from the plot.
The vamponies were entertaining characters and I'm particularly happy about the fact that the author decided to play everything straight. Instead of going "oh no, this cutesy world's peace is based on slaughtering innocents to placate evil beings", the story's approach of "everyone being sick and tired of the whole ordeal and just wanting to minimize harm as much as possible until a more permanent solution is found" fit the sentiments of FiM perfectly imo. I also enjoyed the 'Vampire: The Masquerade' references, they were obvious enough to be easy to spot to someone not extremely knowledgeable about the whole thing as me, but also subtle enough not to be distracting.
The only part that felt a little bit out of place (or rather, character) was AJ slapping Sunrise so hard that she got a limp. Arguably it is a logical conclusion to the arc set up by the fic and perhaps without it that plot point would have felt slightly hanging, but I still really can't imagine Appuls doing something like this out of spite. Arguably her calling Sunrise a bitch was also fairly OOC, but it pales in comparison to this. It is by no means a story-ruiner, I still very much enjoyed my time spent with the fic, but a slightly less undignified resolution would have likely worked better.
Overall: 8/10 Feautring really fun prose, a very simple yet creatively told story, and lots of likeable details, this fic manages to transplant a very old and tired trope into the universe of FiM in a way that feels pretty natural. Easy recommend for Halloween-reading.