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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

FiM Fiction Review - Freeze Frame


We're finally at the end of the first season of Stories Back from the Read. It's been five weeks of trekking through the perilous wilderness that is FiMFiction, but we're finally here. Hopefully you've read some of the fantastic stories featured and going to vote when polls open November 9th. News and all that good stuff aside, when I finished reading ToixStory's Freeze Frame, I laid in bed trying to comprehend how I was even going to approach this review. ToixStory's masterpiece is a mind-blowing mix of a phenomenal cast of characters, superb dialogue and excellent story progression. It's an engrossing adventure filled with drama and suspense and I couldn't have thought of a better way to bring up the rear of this reviewing season. Fillies and gentlecolts, it's been a pleasure reviewing with you tonight.


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Freeze Frame by ToixStory 
Complete! (Completed Jan 22, 2013)

"If you can make it in Fillydelphia, you can make it anywhere," or so the saying goes. When a young mare comes to the big city with dreams of being a reporter, she is instead thrust into a world of corruption and squalor where she will need the strength of friends to survive. Read it here.

Tags: Adventure, Slice of Life - Rating: Teen (For Mild Violence and Some Mature Themes)
Words: 191,213 words total - Featured on Equestria Daily


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Freeze Frame's episodic structure is well done and helps the reader get a better gasp of the story progression. It's an interesting setup with the episode arcs being so... separated. Certain elements are mentioned from episode to episode and the characters don't just go on with their lives; quite the opposite actually (we'll get to that in a minute). But the episodes rarely have to do with each other; other than some indirect cause-and-effect. I hate to compare but take Twilight Sparkle: Night Shift for example: its 'mini-arcs' all feed into a much larger picture, or plot line. Freeze Frame does things quite differently and instead uses her character arcs to push the story along. Don't get the wrong idea though! The mini-arcs are well built by themselves and certainly add a fun adventure aspect to what is essentially a drama. The system works beautifully to push the story along but still keep the cast in the spotlight. Albeit Freeze Frame suffers the same issues Night Shift does when the mini-arc pacing hits some rare- but glaring- rough patches. In the first chapter in particular, pacing speeds up and becomes choppy in places to make room to ‘digest’ so many world building elements and characters. Fortunately, many of the pacing issues are ironed-out by the second chapter. With the pacing issues resolved, the story sails smoothly through the suspenseful adventures and engrossing drama.

Freeze Frame features a rather large cast of all original characters. These characters are beautifully built with an excellent mix of varying personalities. It’s cocktail of about eight main characters and several side-characters that rock the stage in every way imaginable. The character’s bounce off of each other well and really depend on each other as the aftermath of their adventures take its toll. They grow, often showing their weaknesses in the face of love and danger. Characters are Freeze Frame’s time to shine in more ways than not. I would get more in depth with the character analysis, but that means a multitude of spoilers so skip the next paragraph if you plan to avoid those nasty things.


Spoilers ahead: Minty Flower’s story involves plenty of drama. Her relationship with the second protagonist, Grapevine Lulamoon, could be described as an emotional roller coaster at times. But let’s focus on Minty for a second here. The young mare trying to find her way in the big city is the very definition of an underdog story. The conflicts she faces, against the villains, with Grapevine, and ultimately with herself, show her driving elements excellently. I enjoyed watching this witty, determined mare take the reigns of her own destiny. On the other side of this fantastic duo is a mare that's just as clever as she is stubborn. Grapevine Lulamoon and Minty together is what really drove Freeze Frame through its slower, character-focused pieces and I dare say it wouldn't have worked without Grapevine leading the charge. Her dominant, calculating persona bounces off Minty's excellently and evens steals the spotlight its fair share of times. The Spotlight back story is as emotional as it is dramatic and her romance with Minty is well rooted and develops both their characters through all the mini-arcs. As said earlier, Freeze Frame pushes the drama and character development more than anything and I'm happy to say the payoff was two main characters that bring home the gold. 

Spoilers end here.

You can all come out now, spoilers are no where to be found from here on out. Freeze Frame has a superb cast but if you've known my reviews for a while now you'd know that I believe dialogue is an essential part of character development more often then not. It goes without saying that Freeze Frame's superior dialogue not only showcases the characters, but also brings a lot of charm to the story. It flows smoothly throughout and keeps the tone of the story in good hooves, yes. But what brings that charm? The humor. Let's face it, life is funny. That's the charm behind Freeze Frame: no matter how bad the situation, the more humorous personalities shine through and deliver some mischievous line or witty relief. Not to mention the conversions can be as serious or emotional the need to be given the moment calls for it. The dialogue is smart, witty, or even sentimental when it needs to be, flows nicely and keeps the tone of the story; making some amazing character interactions in a story with excellent characters.

The narration follows a similar style of Fallout: Equestria in which the main character tells the story; often breaking the fourth wall and directly speaking to the audience in the process. I'm particularly fond of the writing style for its effectiveness in capturing the thoughts and personality of the protagonist and Freeze Frame does it splendidly. Minty Flower's voice is expressed in such a way that never conflicts with the pacing and never breaks character. Just like her dialogue, the narration is witty and lighthearted and showcases mood setting and scene visualization brilliantly. 

Last but not least is the scene visualization. It certainly isn't the outstanding element of the story but that doesn't mean it's horrid by any stretch of the imagination. It goes hand-in-hand with the narration: showing Minty's attitude toward her environment with things like “the office was ridiculously over decorated” and the likes. Not to mention it doesn't break the flow or pace of the story with the faster paced scenes which is certainly a plus in my book. Overall, I can say it did its job and didn't leave the reader in the dark.

This by far one of my longer reviews so I'll wrap it up before the beckoning coming from that cozy bed becomes too much for me to handle. Freeze Frame shows it's gleaming coat resulting from a whole year of hard work and polish put into it by the talented ToixStory. It's a masterpiece with mind-blowing characters and an engrossing plot line. The dialogue and narration capture the characters beautifully and are overall well done. While the scene visualization is not one of this story's selling points, it does its job and pulls on though. I've bugged my friends (Brony and non-Brony alike) to read Freeze Frame beyond belief over the last week or so and I do the same to you now. So, with a nomination and a ranking in the top 5 ratings ever received in hand, that's Freeze Frame for you, fillies and gentlecolts. Check out the score below and stay tuned for an important announcement. This has been Admujica. Thanks for reading and I'll see you guys when the votes are counted. 

Freeze Frame gets a score of: 9 out of 10 – Outstanding
Lead by an excellently crafted cast, superb dialogue, and mind-blowing narration, Freeze Frame well worth your time.
Read it here.



Up Next: The Sword Coast by AdrianVesper

News: Going on Hiatus! 

Yeah, the title says it all. I have a bit too much on my plate at the moment and while reading and reviewing is a huge stress reliever, I feel like I'm on my heels much too often to keep going like this. No worries, Stories Back From the Read will go on but after that I'm giving up the keys for about two weeks and giving the site over to a close friend that'll use my account to post the November story update sometime soon. I'll miss you guys but I need these two weeks to recharge my batteries. This has been Admujica. Thanks for reading and I'll see you guys soon. 

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