I would usher in the review with a remark about something that happened in the last week or commenting on the last review in hindsight, but I have nothing to say this time. This limbo is torturous. Hopping in, xjuggernaughtx’s Awaken, Scootaloo took me completely by surprise. I started reading expecting another sub-par fic desperately trying to tug at my heart string but instead was moved by a fantastic short story sporting on an awfully relatable message. Along with wonderfully done dialogue and well portrayed canon characters, I definitely recommend Awaken, Scootaloo for those of you looking for something short to read. Head below the break for my full review of Awaken, Scootaloo by xjuggernaughtx.
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Awaken, Scootaloo by xjuggernaughtx
Complete! (completed on 16th Mar 2014)
Dreams are such delicate things, and Scootaloo’s are more fragile than most.
But in Equestria, dreams are protected. Sometimes a filly just needs a helping hoof to learn how to hope again. Read it here.
Tags: Slice of Life - Rating: Everyone
6,531 words total
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Beyond some minor issues, it’s hard to criticize Awaken, Scootaloo’s portrayal of Luna and Scootaloo. Both deliver excellent performances and their more emotional moments truly show off this story’s deep and relatable characterization of Scootaloo. It’s worth noting that her internal conflict never feels forced and is something many people, including myself a few years ago, struggled or are struggling with every single day; much to the benefit of the character’s relatability. Luna fares equally well and connects with Scootaloo well enough. However, there are one or two instances where she fall a bit out of character and hits a few motherly notes more suitable to Celestia. Of course, this rarely happens so it’s not a huge problem.
Much like in the case of the characters, the dialogue is also done excellently. Whether or not the dialogue flow wells and feel organic is obviously a fly or die situation for a story so dialogue heavy. Fortunately, Scootaloo definitely flies (nope, I don't regret it yet). In all seriousness, this exchange between Luna and Scootaloo is well done and feels organic. Harkening back to the dream walker scene in Sleepless in Ponyville, lines flow well and keep a calm, smooth pace. Awaken, Scootaloo definitely features great dialogue and characters.
Unfortunately, I do have one complaint that, while it is brief, is a noticeable road bump nonetheless. You see, while Scootaloo’s conflict is well introduced and resolved, there’s another minor conflict which comes off as rather sloppy. Without spoiling anything, this side-conflict's introduction is ill-timed and is, unfortunately, doesn't have a solid ending. Oddly enough, it's not even resolved. It just lingers and appears to put to the side with faith in Luna’s wisdom. Now, don't get me wrong. Scootaloo’s second strife isn't at all contrived. Instead, it just comes off as lacking in closure. I still won't get into detail with spoilers but this minor problem is, like I said, only a small road bump for an otherwise fantastic story.
Probably the most outstanding element in this story is the surprising amount of thought that went into its scene visualization. As a mechanic, it’s solid. Descriptors don't in any way dull the pace of the already slow story and they don't falter when it comes to keeping a clear picture for the reader. But what really surprised me was the symbolism that is behind a lot of the scenery behind it. I caught myself thinking about what a lot of the small things meant and trying to get why xjuggernaughtx decided to do this or that. I understand this might be just a coincidence and I'm overthinking it. Perhaps, perhaps. But quite frankly, anything that reminds me of Lord of the Flies and Mrs. Thurman’s Sophomore year English class is worth some recognition in my book.
Awaken, Scootaloo, being dialogue-heavy and character-focused, takes a slow paced route. It’s fair to say that this story keeps you engaged with an excellent character arc and doesn’t care much for keeping you expecting a huge finish as much as it cares to keep you thinking. Even the ending points towards a more “it’s about the journey, not the ending” attitude. I am usually not someone to agree with neglecting your readers and not giving them a good sense of closure (for better or worse), but it fits the tone set by Awaken, Scootaloo's downtempo pace and development.
My friends, if you haven't figured it out yet: Please go read this story. It’s thoughtful symbolism and deep characters are fantastic. The dialogue is downright marvelous and depiction of canon characters has its hiccups but is overall well done. Quite honestly, Awaken, Scootaloo is the best fic I've read this summer. Thanks for reading and I'll see you guys in three day with my review of The Origin of Sunbutt. Have a phenomenal week!