FimFiction Link - Short ID: 433774/return-the-night-or-no-deposit
Published: Mar '19
The third fic in "We Rent the Night" is quite a lot better than the previous two, which were very milquetoast, this one has many things to recommend about it.
When I started reading it, one thing that stood out to me was how seemingly spartan the prose is. Fortunately, it is an illusion, it's just that the fic is very to the point. Even if the prose doesn't dress up the story events that much, there are still lots of interesting details added to flesh out the world and help your imagination. The description advertises Mitch H as an editor, of GTG and ITCON fame, and it is apparent in this fic's comedy. There are lots of little jokes spread around to lighten the atmosphere and a few "ha ha"s.
One thing that seemed to work against the previous fics was the mundanity of the issues being faced by the characters. It is no longer a problem here, totallynotabrony managed the feat of combining simple prose and interesting characters to keep the pacing up from start to finish as the police ponies unravel the mystery of anti-lunar graffiti.
Although the fic is tagged AU, it is only barely so - using characters from the previous fics, including Trixie who had been a Lunar Guard and makes a brief appearance. Except for a brief throwdown with the ponice and a foalnapping, it would've been a great short series of episodes to watch.
A last point regarding the characters: the OC Cracked Mirror is on the cover art, and she is far more prominent in this fic than the previous ones. Cracked Mirror feels more like a plot engine than a character; she shows up and drives the plot forward, which hurts the mystery as she produces leads from thin air (another character comments on this directly, even). Enough of her antics are explained later in the fic to make her not outright horrible, but enough of them are not explained to make her obviously still just a plot engine with a personality of "weirdo."