Today’s story makes some daring choices.
Sunset Shimmer and the Last Trial of Daring Do
[Dark] [Adventure] [Alternate Universe] • 49,536 words
[Note: This story contains sexual themes.]
Trapped in the memories of her past adventures, bringing nightmares and dreams she does not want, she can’t stay home.
There is only one creature in all of Equestria who can help her. Make her good and nice again, but how far will Sunset have to go to find her?
FROM THE CURATORS: There’s something about great villains which keeps us coming back to their stories — especially when you set them on a collision course with one of Equestria’s greatest heroes. “This is Sunset’s fall from good intentions, and it hurts to read her picking up a number of formative experiences and wrongly learned lessons that will shape her into the terror of Canterlot High,” FanOfMostEverything said in his nomination. “The age-old conflict she stumbles into is fascinating to watch, especially as we learn the finer details. And this is easily the best Ahuizotl I’ve ever read.” On that point, we were unanimous: “I’ve never seen anything like the Ahuizotl-as-deity that frames this story,” Horizon said. “That by itself would have been featureworthy, but then the author also threw in one of the most dynamic, compelling OC villains I’ve encountered, and made Sunset a breathtaking character in her own right.”
Indeed, it was the character work which kept our eyes glued to the page. “if this story has a big thing right — and I’d say it has a few — it’s the depiction of Sunset’s PTSD,” Present Perfect said. “It’s her motivation for falling down this path in the first place, for placing herself into grave, mortal danger of the kind that leaves her vulnerable to a predator like Green Glow. Watching that relationship spiral into abuse, then something that molds Sunset into the pony who stole Twilight’s crown, was exquisitely painful.” And it certainly didn’t hurt that that exemplary writing was set amid a thrilling, well-realized adventure. “As a Daring Do story from the perspective of her opponents, it fires on all cylinders,” Horizon said. “Then they reach the penultimate fight, and it cranks the story up to 11, and then they reach the final fight and the dial breaks as it impossibly goes even further. It’s never anything less than epic and mythical.”
That was another compliment that came up repeatedly in our discussion. “If there’s another thing this story does well, it’s gravitas,” Present Perfect said. “Hardly a chapter goes by without some big, flashy or otherwise memorable scene: Ahuizotl defeating the hydra, Green Glow torturing the informant, Sunset fighting Daring Do, you name it, they’re all exciting. But more than that, everything that happens in this story has weight to it. The importance of details like hospitality are the stuff of epic fantasy quests. I love how just invoking the words of an ancient oath can literally shake a city to its foundations.” And that, we decided, made the story worthwhile whether you’ve read its prequel or not. “Aside from a few flashbacks, the previous story — in which Sunset Shimmer goes to Narnia, befriends Prince Caspian, and almost ruins everything — doesn’t really factor into this one,” FanOfMostEverything noted. “This is by no means a happy story, but it’s a very compelling one.”
Read on for our author interview, in which ChudoJogurt discusses teenage miracles, book attributes, and immortal princes.