/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews

Entry #649

FimFiction Link - Short ID: 304458/entry-649

Published: Jun '16

Review in No. 39191028
Entry #649 is a curious case. A horror story presented as a series of diary entries made by Rarity, now living on her own, a decade after the events of the show. The first thing that stands out to me is Rarity’s voice. It still feels like Rarity, but the way she speaks is quite elaborate. Not in the usual posh way one would expect of her, but in a style that’s vaguely reminiscent of Lovecraft and his contemporaries. A comparison that’s intentional, considering the tone and plot of the story. Not only that, but this helps somewhat to sell the idea that this is an older Rarity who has drifted away from her friends, from Ponyville, and from dressmaking over the years. She now works as an occasional mystery writer in the remote town of Barnsend, until one day, Twilight Sparkle shows up at her door.
Even though I really liked the story, I’m still not sure how to feel about certain parts of it. The epistolary format works, but there are several parts where the author didn’t accept the limitations of the style they’d chosen, so it has Rarity writing down dialogue between her and Twilight, or that crazy old stallion who lived on the outskirts of town. If you’re writing a diary, wouldn’t you just mention what the other ponies said? Or drop a direct quote, at least. You wouldn’t format it as dialogue with said tags and all that. You could argue that this is a result of Rarity being a novelist, and that seeps into how she writes, but these moments were isolated enough to stand out in not a great way.
Now, the plot itself. If you’ve read Lovecraft, or any story that deals with mysterious beings from before time itself, then you’ve got a good grasp on the plot of this story. Nevertheless, I still think it’s enjoyable overall, and I say “overall”, because I feel the latter half is much better than the first one. The first fifteen or so entries are set up. They establish who Rarity is now, and what Twilight has been up to while dropping hints about what’s really happening. It’s engaging, and does its job well. The prose is pretty and flowery at times without going full purple.
However, it’s only after Twilight vanishes that things really kick in. Rarity drifts in and out of consciousness in a hazy state, sometimes forgetting and remembering things that may or may not have happened, and this being a diary actually helps add to that hazy and disconcerting feel. You will read an entry where Rarity makes a plan for the day, only for the next entries to go in a different direction and make no mention of that earlier entry until much later when Rarity realises something went wrong.
While not stellar, this is definitely an above average thriller that does an excellent job at setting up a spooky atmosphere. It gets a wholehearted recommendation.