Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FiM Fiction Review - Fool's Gold

Sorry for the late review. I've been running around like a madman all week and lady luck hasn't exactly been fond of my efforts to get reviews done. Not to mention I've come down with some horrid bug flying around. Albeit it did give me a chance to wrap up in blankets and push on through Merc the Jerk's Fool's Gold. The glass half full right? Fool's Gold is an action-packed adventure that definitely has its moments, but also has its fair share of problems. Characterization can be a bit rough at parts and while the Mane 6 are not exactly the personalities we know and love from the show, they pull on through and stick to their cores. Decent dialogue drives much of the story. It feels a bit odd at first due to the action-driven nature of Fool's Gold but steadily improves as you get a feel for the pace and humor. Overall, Fool's Gold feels mediocre at the beginning and hits a few bumps along the way out but achieves what it set out to do: be a fun action-packed ride. Onward to the review!

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Fool's Gold by Merc the Jerk
Complete (Completed on Dec 11, 2012)

Tragedy today as the First and National was attacked--assaulted by a group of masked madwomen in what’s being termed a ‘hurricane of murder and insanity.’  Dozens dead and even more wounded, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of collateral all that remains.  The police are completely baffled, with no leads, no suspects--nothing but funeral after funeral and an unhappy government looking for anyone to blame and anyone to charge for this heinous crime.  The biggest question on the minds of the citizens is: Why? Years of peace, broken and shattered, now lying in a crumpled, bloodied mess...and for what?  Money?  This anchor has never been so disgusted in his many years of news reporting.

But the real questions here are:  Who is responsible?  What group of psychotic, uncaring barbarians could commit such a terrible atrocity against our beloved city and leader?

And worse...will they strike again? Read it here.

Tags: Dark, Adventure, Alternate Universe, Human - Rating: Mature (For Violence and Explicit Language)
Words: 20,620 words total
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As any heist would go, Fool's Gold is definitely action-driven and fast paced. From the first line you can quickly see where the story is headed. It's up and away from there and I can't say there are too many times that the pace might slow down or lag behind. From action-packed scenes to the slower flashbacks or more emotional moments, the pacing is down right brilliant. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and pushed the story along well. There are a few flashbacks once you get deeper into the story but they never break the pace and have great pacing themselves. So there you have it: an action story that actually feels action-packed. 

On the same note, scene visualization is rough in many places and could use some polish. While it doesn't break the flow of the story, visuals are bare-bone and leaves you in the dark for most of the story. That is most of the time however. Fool's Gold puts great emphasis on action sequences by being possibly the most descriptive scenes. Basically, Fool's Gold does everything an action story should do when it comes to scene visualization. While it is at the sacrifice of effective mood setting, visualization is kept to a minimum to keep the story fast paced and focuses and making some of the more intense sequences a quite a thrill ride. 

World building is a lot more subtle than in other stories and leaves a lot unexplained. Aside from its more modern setting, there are several changes to the pony world. I enjoyed the “background-ish” nature of those unavoidable explanatory moments, but the gaping holes left behind were annoying, even frustrating, at times. Now, I wouldn't mind if the changes were left as just mentioned or unimportant, but some of these things feel like key components of the back story. Fool's Gold never bites and leaves these things unexplained or ignores them completely; to the point where it feels like sequel syndrome. I'm not looking for a deep, complex back story, but some of the plot holes definitely need some addressing.

Follow up: There is a sequel to Fool's Gold. You can find Diamond in the Rough here. 

Fool's Gold has quite the rough time down in the characters department. Especially those of you looking for some deep or engaging characterization. Yes, the Mane 6 stick to their cores but beyond that, they feel two-dimensional and life-less. Is it a big problem? Not at all. It clears the image a bit and lets Fool's Gold focus on its main goal: the action. Otherwise characters slip in and out of character but stay solid enough to push on through the story. In the end of the day, the simplistic style of the characterization is beneficial but not engrossing for those of you longing for something deeper. 

Dialogue is well done overall. It doesn't break the flow and pace of the piece and while it hits several bumps along the way, it's organic and fits the characters well. In addition, there's some witty humor thrown in which definitely spices things up here and there. Albeit most of the issues the dialogue faces is in the humor itself. Sometimes it's just thrown in on a whim or exaggerates the characters in an effort to bring out the comedic side of the situation. For the most part, the dialogue can be funny and fitting, but at other times feel inorganic and forced. 

Fool's Gold was obviously built from the ground up to be the fast-paced action story it is now but had to sacrifice some things in the process. The plot holes, dull characterization, sometimes forced dialogue and bare-bones scene visualization show the nature of this story all too well; and while it might please many readers who are looking for something fun and moderately short to read aside from clop (if you call masturbating to equines “fun”, that is)(don't worry, I'm not judging), those of you looking for something a little more engaging should steer clear. Thanks for reading! This has been Admujica, I'll see you guys next time. 

Fool's Gold gets a score of: 6.7 out of 10 – Mediocre 
You'll have a lot of fun with this one if you're into action but otherwise Fool's Gold has rough dialogue and sub par characterization
Read it here.

Up Next: Freeze Frame by ToixStory [Back From the Read Season Finale] 

1 comment:

  1. Now are you talking about actual plot holes in the story itself or are you talking about parts of the backstory which are not provided in the description of the story or in the story itself? I'd assume you mean plot holes in the actual plot of the story itself, but where you bring it up after talking about the world-building leaves me slightly unsure as to what you meant.

    You have a paragraph devoted to the characterization, but you wait until your closing paragraph to actually pan the characterization beyond calling it rough, with no later elaboration, in your opener, what's up with that? If the characterization is stripped down but serves the needs of the story as an action story, then what's the problem that makes it go from stripped down and into dull territory? If they're really life-less, then how is it not a big problem if you're later on going to call it out as dull and kill your rating of the piece?

    What kinds of bumps does the dialogue hit if it's organic, fits the characters well, and fits the flow and pace of the story? When you say thrown in on a whim, do you mean the characters start wisecracking when it doesn't make sense for them to do so based upon their character and the situation they're in? Do you mean they make jokes that don't fit them for the sake of having a character, any character make the joke or deliver a punchline? Also, you basically praise it in the paragraph discussing it and then pan it in the score of the review itself.

    Your shout-out to clop doesn't particularly work very well if you wanted to sound non-judgmental given the tone you set in the rest of the piece. Just... kinda weird, adding parenthetical statements to fall over yourself in like that. Not quite cringe-inducing, though, so there's that. What do you mean by engaging though? If it's fun, how is it not engaging? If it's not engaging, how does it keep your attention long enough to be fun? Or do you mean something more along the lines of intellectually stimulating or cerebral here?

    All in all, you seem to be more stating than arguing or explaining, which feels more like some kind of grading than a review discussing a piece and arguing for or against people picking it up. I don't want to have to go and read through the story in order to know why you're panning the characterization and dialogue or what your issues with them actually are.