/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews


FimFiction Link - Short ID: 523751/h-a-z-e

Published: Oct '22Feb '23

Review in No. 40707812
This story is not tagged AU presumably because it is set in an original universe, one with no relationship to FiM except that the denizens are ponies. The setting is mostly inspired by ancient Rome, but no attempt is made at technological consistency.

For the most part, the fic follows Hypha, a young and stupid monk acolyte who belongs to a vaguely Buddhist order of magic mushroom worshippers. The story structure is intended to convey a sense of aimless, chaotic desperation as Hypha drifts from personal catastrophe to personal catastrophe, just barely managing to not die to the consequences of his actions. For the most part, this sense is preserved, but the story's scaffolding shows through as not every bridge is transitioned smoothly. One example is the case where Red and Blue inexplicably choose to become acolytes of the order and him their teacher. Yeah, the names are all over the place.

The tone of the story is very pessimistic, about what you'd expect from a gritty medieval fantasy setting. Ponies, especially Hypha, are maimed and/or killed constantly, lots of greed, corruption, and war for the sake of it. It's unambiguously gratuitous, as evidenced by Hypha degloving his forehooves almost immediately, which should be a lethal injury in his situation but this then does nothing to meaningfully hinder his travel across the world. Of course, they never heal, just causing him anguish whenever the author deems it appropriately tonesetting.

Although the story mostly follows Hypha, it is not shy of switching character perspectives, nor introducing a wide range of additional characters, none of which are intended to provoke sympathy from the reader. If you suffer from automatically sympathizing with the perspective character of a story, don't read this, unless maybe you're trying for shock therapy to stop doing that. Although Hypha is often deserving of the horrors inflicted on him, the world that he lives in can't be said to hold back any of its own cold cruelty either.

As a last comment, it's pretty clear that this fic is written to appeal to magic mushroom junkies. Not being a druggie myself, I assumed that these things are supposed to not be addictive, but the way the fic is written, you'd think they are. Although some effort is spent on describing hallucinations towards the start of the fic, the characters quickly start popping these (extremely rare and appropriately valuable) mushrooms like candy, and their magical effects becoming more diffuse and indistinctly beneficial as they stop being permitted to inconvenience the plot.