Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Thursday, April 17, 2014

FiM Fiction Review: Adventures in Cake Sitting

Greetings, internet travelers! It has been quite a while since the last review so, with the help of the bestest friends anyone can ask for, I've returned to rectify this situation! Jumping right in, JMac’s Adventures in Cake Sitting, the sequel to Quizzical, unfortunately doesn’t live up to its predecessor; which scored an 8 out of 10 here on Problematic Reviews. There are glaring issues in the introduction and pacing problems that inhibit the story's ability to fully develop characters and get the reader interested in the plot. However, Adventures in Cake Sitting picks up towards the latter part and fans of Quizzical who are looking for something to read might enjoying another story featuring the timid little pony. Unfortunately, the ending just doesn't make up for much of these issues. So without further ado, head below the break for my review of JMac’s Adventures in Cake Sitting.

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Adventures in Cake Sitting by JMac
Complete! (Completed on 19th July 2013)

Quizzical Greystone has never foal sat.  As usual, her first time she begins by falling in at the deep end - she has to watch the Cake twins.  It's an imposing task for a pony like Quiz, even under the best of conditions. Tonight, conditions are far from perfect. Read it here

Tags: Comedy, Adventere - Rating: Everyone
Words: 14,509 words total - Renowned Author - One Other Review: FiM Fiction Review - Quizzical

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Surprisingly, Adventures in Cake Sitting has a problem with its introduction that has killed off many stories in the past. It opens with the characterization equivalent of the “history lesson.” I say surprisingly because the prequel, Quizzical, opens with an interesting, character-building scene that quickly shows us exactly what makes Quizzical, the main character, tick. From there on out we have a solid understanding of the main character and foundation on which JMac built his character on. However, Adventures in Cake Sitting lacks this. Instead, it opens with a long exposition of Quizzical’s timid and in-energetic nature. It’s uninteresting and disappointing after we’ve seen how well JMac has been able to establish characters in the past.

Also, I understand it’s more than likely that JMac wasn't all that concerned about the introduction, considering that the intended audience has probably already read the prequel, but this lacking introduction affects more than just the characters. A minor complaint is that, for a while, it’s hard to get where Adventures in Cake Sitting is going. Other than being a story about babysitting the Cake twins, the tone and theme is not well established until well into the second chapter, leaving the plot rather exposed and without any real weight. To add on to this, the earlier  progressing slowly and don't see much plot development.

Much like in Quizzical, JMac focuses on character development in the first half of Adventures in Cake Sitting. For the most part, JMac's skill in reflecting characters is not as well illustrated as it was in the prequel. Quizzical, mostly because of the shaky introduction, didn't really connect with me as a reader with the same relatability as she did in Quizzical in the opening half of the story. As mentioned earlier, the tone, theme, and characters aren't well set early and when they are, I had no reason to care for Quizzical and the plot anymore. However, she did get a lot more fleshed out and relatable as JMac developed her and her weaknesses in the later chapters. The same can't be said about Pinkie Pie, unfortunately. Her performance was shaky from the start as her voice was too formal at times. She also didn't see much character development but was really just there to really push the plot along. Pinkie's overall performance was done unremarkably and her character just barely scraped by in her brief appearance. Aside from those particular issues, the small casts of characters weren't at all impressive. They lack the time to truly develop and left the story void of a strong cast to support the plot.

Subsequently, for as much as I enjoyed the dialogue in Quizzical, Adventures in Cake Sitting does have quite the rough start when it comes to its dialogue. Of course, that is to be expected from the lacking character development that plagues the earlier chapters. The characters are uninteresting and most of their lines, while feeling natural, don’t reflect on their characters all that well. Fortunately, it does improve in the later chapters when Quizzical and the twins start to have deeper, more character-building conversations. But then again, it's a whole lot of mediocre for a small sliver of good dialogue at the very end. 

So we know that the introduction was shaky and ultimately the cause for many of Adventure in Cake Sitting's issues, but what about the ending? Did Adventure in Cake Sitting conclude well? Actually, it did. Unlike Quizzical, it closes with our protagonist’s character arc coming to a satisfying close and not leaving the reader to wonder Quizzical’s fate. However, the lack of build up to the climax and conclusion left me wondering just how much was cut from Adventures in Cake Sitting. I can sort of describe it as the story wanting to pack up its bags and leave but giving one final push to the finish. While it was rather sudden and didn't have much build-up to it, the plot tied its loose ends and the character arc was satisfyingly concluded.

Overall, Adventures in Cake Sitting is a decent addition to JMac’s Quizzical series but doesn’t achieve the same quality in character-development, dialogue and story progression that its prequel did. The characters were underdeveloped and, subsequently, so was the dialogue until the latter part of the story. The pacing was decent and keeps the plot moving but plot never really picks up steam, leaving a lot to be wanted from the climax. However, the plotline had a neat beginning, middle and end, unlike its predecessor. Those of you who enjoyed Quizzical and are just looking for something to read might want to take a look at Adventure in Cake Sitting, otherwise, I can't say I would recommend this one. This has been Amy Clockwork, thanks for reading and have a awesome weekend!

Adventures in Cake Sitting gets a score of: 4.5 out of 10 – Mediocre
Barely moves along with forgettable characters and uninteresting dialogue

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