/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews

Synthetic Bottled Sunlight

FimFiction Link - Short ID: 303160/synthetic-bottled-sunlight

Published: Dec '15Apr '21

Review in No. 40861297
Dropped after chapter five. I have never read a romance novel intended for young women, but this is exactly what I imagine reading one to be like. The entire story exists to serve the romance, but neither it nor any other element interest me. Celestia attempting to return to power or the dystopia of Flim and Flam might be interesting, but both are clearly secondary to the romance.

I would genuinely rather read Twilight. At least that series was culturally relevant.
Review in No. 40862098
I guess I've been pushed to write a review for this fic, since the other one is basically a lie. It's been years since I dropped it, so it's going to be vague.
Most importantly, and the basis for my warning in the draft SK, this fic reads like a paper thin "capitalism bad" statement. Personally, I agree with the statement, and it's important to also add that the few seconds of AU the fic is based on from the show is exactly as paper thin. However, given how thin it is, it leads into the "so far from the show's content that it does not feel like FiM at all" feeling. The apathetic corporate nightmare world of Flim and Flam, I decided after many months of consideration, is offensive to me largely because it's not also cyberpunk.
Almost as importantly, and one of the main reasons I ended up dropping the fic, is that it is a Celestia torture fic. Celestia is afflicted with all sorts of maladies related to her defeating Equestria's enemies on her own with violence, and they each torment her in turn. It's all gratuitous, since her lame wing is debilitating one chapter and allows her cross country flight the next; her blindness interferes with reading one chapter, but she has perfect visual acuity when narration requires her to as a perspective character, etc, etc.
The other reviewer is one of those posters that starts bubbling with rage whenever two mares look at each other for multiple consecutive seconds. The romance in SBS is very low key, I believe they were still in the will-they-won't-they stage some 175k in when I dropped it. Certainly lower-key than, say 9DD. Celestia and Twilight don't actually spend that much time interacting and it's ridiculous to even imply that the whole story is bent to serve the romance.
However, the Celesti-torment is not an exaggeration. By the time I dropped it, I'm not sure how many times Celestia had actually dropped dead as a result of her afflictions, but that I'm questioning if it happened more than once is telling enough. She drops dead to make you feel bad for her, and gets up again because she has more things to do for the plot. Not because she wants to, though, I wouldn't really call this a story about grit.

The one thing I remember liking most about the story was Celestia's hallucinations. Ghosts of her past, and the conversations she has with them. In the abstract, the concept is really great. In the story though, I don't think any specific one worked for me. I ended up dropping it because the Native American batponies were just too much on top of everything else.