FimFiction Link - Short ID: 499401/a-hearths-warming-patrol
Published: Jul '21
>This creature didn't have any eyes! He didn't even have eye sockets, green skin was simply covering up the place of his eyes. Sword recoiled a bit at the strange sight, but quickly regained her composure.
>She was sure every ogroid creature has eyes.
'A Hearth's Warming Patrol' is a six and a half-thousand word long one-shot about a royal guard mare stumbling upon Anon who nearly suffers hypothermia on the cold streets of Canterlot. The story can precisely be cut into two parts, what happens before and after the arrival of Anon and I sadly have to admit, the former half (while still a bit flawed) works far better than the latter. While the beginning half of the fic is not exactly eventful - we more or less just follow the protag as she makes her rounds as a guard then returns home for a little while, - I admit it's still pretty comfy and while stories like this aren't exactly my cup of tea, I would've been content with the classic family conflict and reconciliation plotline.
However, that's not where the story is headed, rather soon on Hearth's Warming Eve, the protagonist Sword Glitter stumbles upon a foreign creature, who you might have already guessed to be Anon, and takes it upon herself to bring him first to safety, then to at least closer to happiness. Before we proceed, I have to admit two things: Firstly I've never read any other AIE stories before, this is my first time. Secondly as alluded to above, I'm not really into these kinds of feel-good stories so my judgement might be a bit more biased than usual. Regardless, I've tried to approach this story with an open mind and even then there are some things that stick out like a sore thumb. For instance when Anon just starts monologuing about himself, his planet and his circumstances feels fairly out of place. Or that nobody even noticed him on the streets. As mentioned in the story this is Canterlot post-Changeling invasion, so one would expect ponies to be more wary towards weird things. Similarly the evil orphanage concept just feels... I don't even know. Unfitting? Like something right out of a Brothers Grimm tale. Also the way characters change between speech patterns kind of breaks immersion. In one paragraph Anon speaks fairly cultured about coming from Earth and such, but in the next he says "alien hobo." Maybe the author intended this to showcase him warming up to Sword, but it happens too fast and without too much reason. The mane-touching part feels more like the author fulfilling a fantasy, it being faintly fetishistic, rather than a real plot element.
Ultimately it's still a sweet story and knowing this is the writer's first work, I can't exactly expect an immediate masterwork.
Overall: 3/10 While I didn't much enjoy the story, it still had a few comfy moments and the author shows potential to improve. I wish them more luck and success on their subsequent works.