It wasn’t hard to let today’s story conquer our hearts.
Conquering is Easy, Being Conquered is Hard
[Romance] [Comedy] [Drama] [Alternate Universe] • 26,653 words
Rarity’s quest for love led her from Tartarus to Canterlot. Now, wielding powers beyond comprehension, she rules over Equestria.
Now, if only she could understand how Fluttershy’s little cult had gained thousands of members virtually overnight, or why the cult’s second-in-command, Twilight Sparkle, always seems to be one step ahead of her…
FROM THE CURATORS: Writing a story that solidly paints a single theme or tone is difficult enough — and when you’re trying to mix such disparate elements as humor, romance, character drama, and the epic clash of a tyrant with an apocalyptic doom cult, it takes a steadier than usual hand. “This story’s simultaneously dark and high-spirited wackiness is very much a Big Thing Right in my mind,” AugieDog said in his nomination, and the fic quickly earned a feature amid comments like Horizon’s: “I’ve got a special place in my heart for stories which sell an audacious premise, and this squarely scratches that itch.”
One thing on which we all agreed was how elegantly the story’s depiction of its familiar-yet-altered ponies grounded that audacity. “It transcends its crackfic-competition origins for me through the characters and through the comedy,” AugieDog said. “Shining Armor is a high point, still Captain of the Royal Guard, as is Kibitz, Celestia’s old secretary, who Rarity has kept on since he actually knows how the government works.” Horizon added: “A lot of thought clearly went into not only how the circumstances of the unusual AU would have changed all the characters, but also how they would go about pursing their interests.” And RBDash47 chimed in: “I have to second my appreciation for the character work here. Every single one is on point, with a unique, developed voice that fits them perfectly. I don’t think I’d need any dialogue tags at any given time to know who was speaking, and I enjoyed every interaction.”
We found that sharp character work augmented by on-point humor. “The first chapter, especially, is a triumph of absurdity, aware of this fact, and delights in nothing more than reveling in its own whimsy,” Present Perfect said. And exemplary exposition work rounded the story out: “I was delighted by how effortlessly and subtly the author wove the explanations of the AU’s differences into the story,” RBDash47 said. “I never felt confused or like I didn’t know what was going on, even with some fairly big changes to the timeline.” It all added up to a truly head-turning package. “It helped that the comedy was smart and endlessly quotable, but more importantly, the story kept surprising and delighting me at every turn with its central battle(s) of wits,” Horizon said. “I don’t often follow an author on the strength of a single story, but here, that decision was a no-brainer.”
Read on for our author interview, in which ChibiRenamon discusses elliptical planning, regular flossing, and clawing … couches.