Today’s story shows us what stars do: they shine.
[Crossover] [Dark] [Human] • 216,600 words
Isolated from her friends and taken prisoner in the middle of a war, Twilight must deal with the very real dangers of being perceived as an enemy as well as the nightmares of her arrival on ‘Earth’. Can she overcome her own fears and the fears of her captors? Will the wayward unicorn’s assistance be a boon or a curse to the ‘humans?’ Most importantly, will she ever find her way home?
FROM THE CURATORS: Lengthy stories like this sometimes languish in our queue for a while, as we all try to make time to read them around our jobs and other hobbies, but Stardust sailed through, from nomination to approval, in less than a week. “I was looking for something of doorstop length to sink into this weekend,” commented Augiedog, “and this one did the trick quite nicely.” Chris also noted how easy it was to devour, saying, “This is a story that does an excellent job of holding the reader’s interest, despite its length and wide-ranging plot.”
Although this is a video game crossover, we all agreed that it did an excellent job of being accessible. “I think that familiarity with the source material isn’t really necessary,” said Soge in his nomination, and the rest of us were quick to confirm as much. “As someone with only the vaguest of ideas what XCOM is,” said Chris, “I can attest from personal experience that this holds up well even for the non-gamers among us.” Augie, meanwhile, noted that he couldn’t tell which of “the humans here comes from the game or from the author’s imagination.”
But of course, this is a story about ponies, and especially about Twilight Sparkle. “Twilight’s characterization remains solid throughout, slowly adapting to her new environment and her experience,” said Soge. Chris agreed, noting that “her curiosity, naivete, and general desire to be helpful are all key story elements, and all fit her character well.” And we found elements of the show to appreciate even beyond the main character, with Augie noting that “the story also contains one of the best renditions of Discord I’ve ever read,” and Chris praising its tone, calling it “a long-form story that uses interspecies war as a backdrop, but friendship and basic human decency as its raison d’etre.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Arad discusses plotbugs, whim purchases, and weaponized unicorns.