Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review – Blood is Thicker than Friendship

Remember that story that I said I was going to read during my catchup review week, and then I realized its length and had to put it off? Yeah, I finally finished it. Even with all the distractions getting in the way, all the deadlines and other stories to read, this one kept sitting at the back of my mind. And you know what? It was definitely worth the effort. The review of Blood is Thicker than Friendship after the break!



*WARNING:

This story contains foul language, quite a bit of blood, and themes quite past suggestive that, quite frankly, I wasn't signed up for when I started. Take this into consideration when choosing to read. This story is definitely adults only. I'd have condemned it to the 'Not to be spoken of' pile, but the story is amazingly well written and involving, truly one of the better works until it started taking a mature route, and since I was already 8 chapters in, what was finishing it going to hurt? I was not disappointed.*

The Story:

Twilight discovers an ancient book deep within her library and, upon opening it, releases... something upon Ponyville. Soon after Fluttershy, who has gained considerable girth after a bout of depression stemming from a failed relationship, meets an amazing mare named Mahara with the most interesting eyes and an odd medical condition, inviting her into her home to help. The two become friends, but when, the next day, Applebloom is found bitten and says it's from a filly with eyes matching Mahara's, a seed of trouble is planted both in Fluttershy's mind and the Apple Family's heart.

The next day, at Mahara's welcoming party, Twilight confronts the newcomer after a string of strange incidents, blaming her in front of the entire town for Applebloom's medical condition. Defending her friend who seems to be under attack from all sides, Fluttershy manages to calm both an enraged Applejack and a determined Twilight, ending the festivities early as they return to her cottage. However, she is puzzled by Twilight's claims, fear slowly working up that Mahara may be the killer. The following day has multiple attacks on both Zecora and Big Mac, causing Fluttershy to move up her confrontation to that evening, but she returns to find her house in the aftermath of Zecora's bid to kill the beast, a note left behind by Mahara confirming Fluttershy's greatest fears.


And that's just the first four chapters. From here the story gets far more spoileriffic, so I won't go into it, but it is deep, frighteningly long (one chapter is as long as some of the mid-range stories), and worth it if it's your type of story. *Note: In following chapters (though a minimal amount is present already) is where things start to get NSFW, beginning with gore and swearing and eventually sexual matters. While they do not dominate the story, their presence is something to be alerted of before reading.*


The Characters:

Okay, the cast is so long it's not even funny, and honestly they are all fairly show accurate until other changes start to come, mostly in the forms of scenarios the show could never, well, show. I could start to nitpick about Zecora's blood thirst or Fluttershy's depression and weight gain back story or Rarity's downright bitchiness to start, but in the end they were revealed, presented and explained so well that it seemed a natural possibility for the character progression. And this was accomplished throughout, something absolutely surprising in something this scope. Just to get a feel for the size of the cast, apart from the main six, Mahara, all the fillies, colts, and background ponies in town, everything from the Hydra to Trixie to Vinyl Scratch showed up for at least one amazing cameo and every single one is believable. Flim and Flam even make an amazing appearance that had me laughing out loud, the perfect touch to that part of the story, the writer should be quite proud.


Execution:

Technical wise, it was slightly blemished by occasional repetitions and typos, nothing jarring, but they should have really been cleaned up in editing. There were also long long sessions of things having seemingly nothing to do with the main story, often used for horrid gory and expletive laden fights that felt completely unnecessary at the time. There's just no reason for this much blood and swearing in a pony story... It makes more sense why it was there later on, but it could have been accomplished differently. But, as warned above, there is a sex scene, brought on with a suddenness and lewdness to it that I was completely unprepared for, but which caused me to notice something in the author's writing. As soon as he broached a 'forbidden' topic, it would be everywhere for the short while after, then disappear. One pony swears, everypony starts swearing, then they're mostly back to themselves. One pony dies in a bloody fight, a huge bloody mess breaks out, then it all calms down to regular hoof to hoof brawls. It would have been more effective for a slow buildup and then a slow build down, as the sudden appearances are harsh on a mind and the disappearances really make you almost wish they'd show back up, but that aside, it's all quite well done.

{Edit: It has since been brought to my attention that in the Equestria Daily version of the story there is no sex scene. Therefore, if you want to skip it, read that one}


Enjoyable?:

Most definitely. There are iffy parts as barriers are broken, and I fear Mahara may show to be a Mary Sue if examined under too bright a light, but even with it's prohibitive 166000+ word length I never really found myself not wanting to go on. Younger audiences should stay away for decency, and this may severely taint that perfect world Equestria is, but it is not at all a bad read. Only my preference to keep intimate affairs between ponies behind closed doors and blood to a minimal level hamper it being one of my top reads of all time.

In Conclusion:

A long, dark, amazingly written tale through the hearts and minds of our fair heroes as an ancient curse springs up once more. Nearly a novel not yet ended and unable to be put aside, this story for adults is definitely one of the better ones out there. Should you take the plunge, you shall not be disappointed. ~Medicshy Approved.

The Link:

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/7349/Blood-is-Thicker-than-Friendship

or

http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/08/story-blood-is-thicker-than-friendship.html


And that, my friends, is that. Next week I'll try to have something much shorter and much lighter for you to enjoy, but until then, have a wonderful day everypony!


Your entranced writer,

~Medicshy

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