Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Coming up next on Problematic Reviews

Sunday, June 29, 2014

FiM Fiction Review: The Equestrian Origins Trilogy (Part 3): The Pendant and the Amulet

We're finally here. I’ve review all three stories of the Equestrian Origins Trilogy. Links to all the reviews, and stories, are after the review. While my reviews of this trilogy’s first two parts weren't at all positive, Cerulean Voice’s third and final addition to the series certainly did surprise me in a few ways. To describe it in a few words: The Pendant and the Amulet's introduction is solid. Pendant manages to build on its main characters from Keeper of the Crystal Heart and avoids many of the problems its predecessor faced. It also provides a good introduction to the plot and foreshadows the antagonist excellently. Unfortunately, The Pendant and the Amulet already has some flaws. I was told The Pendant and the Amulet is only about 25-percent complete but even its opening chapters hint towards some of the problems its like to face. Check out the full review after the break! 

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The Pendant and the Amulet by Cerulean Voice
Incomplete (last updated 24th Jun 2014)

Three months have passed since the foundation of the Crystal Empire, the changeling race's surrender and Crystal Princess Aura's ascension. The first Crystal Fair, held to commemorate the princess' birthday, has been planned as an Equestria-wide celebration in her honour.

Meanwhile, something stirs on the western border: a timeless evil that once cast itself into stasis. Princesses Celestia and Luna—new to the ruling of Canterlot Citadel—must work with their new Elements to contain the threat and prove that they belong on the highest seats of power. Read it here.

Tags: Romance, Dark - Rating: Teen (for mild violence and mild suggestive themes) 
Words: 35,177 words total - Part of the Equestrian Origins Trilogy

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The Pendant and the Amulet quickly catches the reader’s interest early on and opens with its antagonist putting his plans in motion. This is daring and sets a good hook before introducing and developing characters. However, this is where Pendant’s biggest flaw becomes obvious. Opening with a foreshadowing, intense scene sets a great tone for the story but then the character development takes too long to amount to anything. In other words, the established suspense becomes dulled when, instead of running with its opening scene, Pendant begins to focus on a completely different plotline; only briefly mentioning the threat looming over the main characters. This pacing hiccup makes the story’s earlier chapters feel flat and even uneventful in contrast to the opening. The Pendant and the Amulet needs to streamline its opening chapters in order to keep the tension set in the opener. Move on to the main plotline earlier. 

Even if pacing is negatively affected, this prolonged stage of character development greatly benefits the lackluster characters from the prequel. Unlike Keeper, it builds off the characters of its predecessor instead of establishing new ones. Pendant’s small cast of four characters is much more tightly knit and well built. Characters like Aura and Cirrus get their key elements straightened out from their shaky performances in Keeper of the Crystal Heart, making them much more well-established. However, the strongest performances would be those of the Royal Sisters. Celestia and Luna bounce off each other well and deliver the more emotional scene excellently. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a fair share of interchangeable minor characters. However, The Pendant and the Amulet sports a well-rounded, promising cast. 

The same can't be said about the dialogue, however. It varies heavily from interesting and moving to nearly cringe-worthy from character to character. This is due in part to how the conversations flow. Many of the more faulty exchanges involve Cirrus. Sadly, his lines often makes conversations feel choppy and inorganic. Aside from his, the dialogue is well done and feels organic. And while it’s nothing outstanding, lines flow well and characters are well voiced. 

Just like in the dialogue department, scene visualization often varies from scene to scene. While it’s done well for the most part, but there are a few instances during which the reader is left in the dark. Nevertheless, the scene visualization is solid and never feels overdone as in These Flowers Never Bloom.

The one thing that profoundly stuck out to me is the build up towards the unveiling of the antagonist. As mentioned, the opening scenes depict him putting his plans in motion and really tells us what to expect. Afterwards, when the story is focusing on its actual storyline, Celestia and Luna hint towards something truly menacing quickly overtaking Equestria. While this tension is downplayed by Aura and Cirrus’ storyline, it’s a brilliantly done setup and the Royal Sister’s concern only helps preserve this. Not to mention Cerulean Voice spices it up with brief scenes depicting just how much of a threat this is on the Equestrian populace. It’s brilliant and I can't wait to see where The Pendant and the Amulet goes with this. 

I'm afraid that’s really I have to say on Cerulean Voice’s The Pendant and the Amulet. Most the story mechanics are well done but have some troubling flaws. The dialogue is well voiced and feels organic but can snag on the occasional badly flowing conversation. The scene visualization is one of this story’s stronger points but can feel insufficient at some points. Of course, its most glaring problem would be thing pacing issues. However, beyond those things, Pendant is a well rounded, nicely done story in progress. Not to mention the characters are well established and promising. As of now, its not worth going through its prequels but that may change, for better or worse, as the plotline develops. Either way, I am curious as to how this story will look like upon its completion. This has been Amy Clockwork. Thanks for reading and have a happy #Pride Day! 

Read my review of These Flowers Never Bloom here. - Read the story here
Read my review of Keepers of the Crystal Heart here. - Read the story here.

Happy #Pride Day 2014

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