An explosive sibling rivalry is at the center of today’s story.
[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 48,819 words
Life is looking up for Sunset Shimmer.
With her grandstanding at the Battle of the Bands, Canterlot High has taken a new approach to her. Amends have been made, friendships have been restored, and Sunset is on the fast track to becoming a better person.
But even now, there are still apologies that have to be said.
For her Spring Break, Sunset returns to Equestria to make up with her estranged family: the parents that raised and provided for her, and the sister she left behind. But a lot has changed since then, and some wounds won’t heal by just saying ‘I’m sorry.’
Fixing friendships is one thing. Sunset will be put through her hardest test yet when she tries to bring her family back together.
FROM THE CURATORS: Our immediate reaction to this story was exemplified by AugieDog’s joy of discovery. “After seven years of reading ponyfic, I love it that I can still come across ideas that clang so happily against the bell in my brain,” he said. “I mean, of course Sunset and Spitfire are sisters! It’s perfect.” But it takes more than a great premise to make a story exemplary, and Firebird Dahlia was happy to deliver more. “I adore stories that delve into the whys and hows of Sunset’s downfall, and this is absolutely one of the best,” Present Perfect said in his nomination. “Her rivalry with Spitfire, her inferiority complex in the shadow of her all-pegasus family, her goals as Celestia’s student: it all coalesces to turn a pony who was shy, nerdy and picked on into a megalomaniac trying to conquer Equestria.”
Our discussion repeatedly turned to the fine touch with which this fic handled its cast. “It’s a triumph of characterization,” Soge said. “Sunset’s characterization is marvelous, and the way it justifies her actions and personality was extremely well realized. All other characters are also stand-outs, from Spitfire to their parents, to all the mane cast that get involved in the proceedings.” AugieDog agreed: “I’ve got an older sister and two younger brothers, and the family dynamic displayed here feels absolutely true and honest to me.” And Horizon was impressed with their depth: “It’s exemplary work to have a redemption story handle such complex characters so sensitively, and the result is heartwarming.”
As we discussed various aspects of the story, it was hard to find an element that didn’t get singled out for accolades. “We get a really well-paced story full of eye-popping moments, interesting revelations, and drama that always feels earned,” Soge said. “The redemption arc works really well, and it left me wanting to see more in this continuity.” Present Perfect praised the prose: “The writing was quite good, maybe a little flowery in places, but structured for deep crafting, whether of setting, backstory, or character.” And even the things it didn’t say were well-chosen, Horizon said: “I am also a huge fan of how this acknowledges critical questions about what happens past the ending of the piece, and yet leaves them in the future. That serves the theme of redemption as an ongoing struggle well.”
Read on for our author interview, in which The Albinocorn discusses worm cans, slow burns, and cross-country dreadlocks.