FimFiction Link - Short ID: 90558/the-night-is-passing
Published: Apr '13 — Jan '16
The Night is Passing is 3+ stories running concurrently with little overlap totaling roughly 525k words. It covers three major arcs and regularly breaks the pacing to introduce and end entirely independent narratives within its world. The best comparison I can make to other fiction would be that it takes much of the model of Fallout: Equestria's way of organizing its narratives but splits it across three perspectives rather then two.
Before I get into detail about the spoilers of this fic, I should cover the reasons why i was able to convince myself to stick it out.
First off the first 11 chapters or so are excellent, they do an amazing job on selling the atmosphere of the world, and how fucking hopeless and pointless everything is. Celestia has left Equestria on vacation and unfortuneatly is spending a lot more time gone then she said she would, Equestria almost completely collapses as she leaves, the in-universe explanation for this is more then a little silly, but taking that on face value, this story does an excellent job in making you feel much in the same way that the charachters feel and that is worth commending.
The other thing I can say about this fic that I can say without reservations is that there are a lot of moments that paint a crystal clear image in my mind, and this goes a long way to help make it so that i can empathize with the characters when trenches are being stormed and suddenly your machine gun jams. It is truly a great piece of writing when these scenes show up which makes everything else about this fic feel so much worse since there was definitely room to make this a masterpiece.
I have three main criticisms of this fic, the first one is the romance, then there's luna's character and finally how everything is framed.
This fic dedicates by my best estimate about 100k words to romance. There are a ton of pairings in the fic and we need to spend a ton of time focused on that instead of developing other aspects.
Firstly there's the SoarinJack pairing that is the first, its a cute piece of fluff that adds to Applejack's character to start, but as soon as they go on their journey we get tiny bits of Applejack missing Soarin, right up until we meet Tradewinds which Applejack suddenly starts lusting over. On the Soarin side of things, Soarin just becomes a depressed sadsack missing his waifu the few scenes we actually see him in, barring one where him and spike have a male bonding moment. This is resolved when in the finale Soarin gets a great big long scene much like spikes where he fucking dies, only for the author to go JK lmao and resurrect him for the epilogue that takes place a year later and he barely shows up in robbing the reader of the catharsis of their long awaited reunion
Next up we have the RariDash shipping, and despite my loathing of gay ships and especially intermain 6 ships in general, I have to admit that there is passable chemistry between these 2, at least compared to every other relationship in this story.
This is one of the few times that seperating this into a few volumes would have made this infinitely more readable. On its own the Journey to find help from the Crystal Empire with Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Yellow third wheel, would have been a largely sweet and to the point wish fulfillment Raridash romance. I would not have liked it, but I couldnt say that it was irredeemably awful, and its okay if there are stories that just aren't for me.
The problem with this is fucking pacing. When we're doing the Raridash romance thing 4 stories are going on at once. Twilight is headed west and being a depressing nag as she maudlins about how her magic isnt working like it used to and that how everyone calls her apostate(something that we never see actually happen mind you) as she travels through ruined cities with tons of plot threads that ultimately go no-where, Spike is coming to terms with his Call of Duty where he goes and does Black Ops unquestioningly like a little robot, and Luna is being a giant fucking retard in running her failing city. This is a LOT of plot threads to juggle in one's head at once and it drags down the pacing to a glacial crawl for each one, and is part of the reason why it took me so long to actually finish this fic. It is exhausting to read, and I had the patience to go through all of Diaries of a Madman, multiple times.
The other part of the problem with this is that their main conflict with the north, after introducing Futa changelings, something that is never brought up again, the author writes himself into a corner with the yeti monsters and solves it with Cadence walking into a room and redoing the Canterlot Wedding which we never get an explanation why she didn't do that in the first place. Definitely an unsatisfying end to that conflict but that conflict wasnt what this section was about, it was about the author taking his Rainbow Dash doll and Rarity doll and making them kiss, and somehow it ended up being the best written romance in the entire story.
The next pairing is Big mac and Caramel, theyre a happy couple that's only purpose aside from woke points for making mac gay is to give him some reason to be hesitant to join Spike's CoDblops team before being entirely forgotten about, and Big mac only gets two other scenes before hes entirely forgotten even in the epilogue.
Next we get SpikeBloom, they have a failed relationship where spike half-heartedly tries to rekindle the relationship, and they both clearly love eachother but this has absolutely no conclusionSpike literally fucking dies, has a huge funeral, and applebloom doesnt even show up, Giant missed opportunity
Next is an OC/OC pairing that actually was handled rather well, its between a batpony and her day guard captain friend and does a lot to make her becoming a fucking secret police literal vampire monster that is faster then a speeding bullet far less retarded since her scenes largely dont focus on that and instead focus on her burgeoning relationship. Its cute and i like it. Fight me, not everything I have to say about this fic is negative.
After that we get what is probably the worst pairing in Tuna. Jesus christ is this terrible. So the inciting event that kicks off the cast's journey and what largely makes this entire story happen is that after chapter 11 Twilight goes up to Luna, and rips her a brand new asshole over her not fucking doing anything to deal with the problems of the collapsing equestria, in fact shes so fucking mad about it that she storms off hundreds of miles west so she can go get Celestia to fix things. A good author would take this opportunity to introduce strong character moments, and development to get twilight to change her views as things go on and we could maybe see something pop out of that. Nope, instead it turns out that both characters were super horny for eachother all along and Luna grooms hot for teacher twilight by showing her, her passed sexual conquests. this makes twilight really horny for that lunar marecock and this is the foundation for their entire relationship. Whats worse is that the fic takes as many oppurtinies to paint luna as a deranged lunatic, and intolerably incompetent pretty much every step of the way, and it was her death grip on the idiot ball that ultimately gets Twilight's BrotherSon killed. I can't think of a single reason why you would root for this pairing in this fic specifically.
Next is the Scootabelle romance which regardless of the problems with founding a noble house where all the scions are faggots and the problems related to that, feels like extra padding that doesn't really go anywhere
A minor note on Romance in fiction in general. I make it no secret that romance isn't for me generally, but I think because I dont have a personal bias for it, I can reasonably make a case on what makes a good romance in the story objectively, something that none of the romances in this fic has, and it is the following:
"In order for Romance to be a good part of the story it needs to have a good reason for it to be there, where the narrative, or its themes will fundamentally change if it's removed" Removing all the romance elements from this fic makes twilight come across as more reasonable character, changes nothing about Scootabelle/Soarinjack/Spikebloom/OC, and makes the journey north much more consistent in tone. It actively makes this fic worse. If youre looking for a good fic with any of these pairings you have to slog through 150k words of pure depression.
On the other hand, If you like crapsack worlds where bad things happen to ponies constantly like I do (Har Har Nightmare moon likes it when ponies suffer) You will constantly be interrupted with these touchie feelie moments constantly completely fucking over the tone that the world is supposed to be giving.
My final criticism of the Romance in this fic is that theyre all gay and the author tries to make this a plot point. This isnt me grabbing for my pearl necklace about "Oh no how can there be gays in this story" though I certainly think gay relationships always make a story worse. It's a problem because a common plot point amongst the Tuna ship, the Raridash ship, and the Scootabelle ship is that they repeatedly complain that the world can't just accept them. Scootabelle is in the closet, Rarity gets several internal monologues about how ponies would react, and Luna brings up how based ponies were in the passed and how her faggot relationships were deeply frown upon back then and how much better equestria is now(mind you this is the same equestria that is currently surrounding the city with artillery and is willing to nuke you). The thing is, there is not a single character in this fic that hates fags. In the first case, Luna is a fucking lunatic so everything from her perspective is suspect at best. and in the other two cases there was great opportunities to have drama involving a person who hates faggots. In Scootabelle, she's closeted, and while theres room for a fag hater amongst the nobles thanks to realities of noble lines thats never expanded upon which makes them look delusional and weird, and the same is true for Raridash except theyre not closeted but they have to work with not only ponies from Luna's time where it was significantly more based, theyre working with Sombra's most feared general directly with their faggotry on full display and The Iron Bitch doesn't even bat an Eye. If youre going to make your romance deal with social stigma there needs to be actual social stigma.
Next up is Grand Retard Luna. She is far and away the worst character in this entire piece, when she can be understood, its retarded, where she is? is retarded, how she handles the crisis? Retarded, How she squanders her resources? Retarded. Her relationship with Twilight? Retarded. In a good fic where Luna did all the things that she did in this fic, she would be the villian
Lets go over the events of the story real quick
Tia goes out for cigarettes
Luna can't move the sun nearly as well leading to 5-7 hours of sunlight each day.
This goes on for 2 years
She abandons the rest of equestria and just goes through the motions of moving the sun
Twilight rips her a new asshole over it, gives her spike and she swears to do better.
Instead She makes Spike an assassin after a very forgettable guard SoL sequence where Spike recruits assassins because we really need some Black ops
Then she uses Spike to bully Canterlot under the guise of rooting out terror(How topical)
After doing so she casually orders a terrorist attack, and sabotage on her best equipped fighting force while the embodiment of despair and almost 200k soldiers just casually laying siege to canterlot.
Luna gets booted out of the house for political discussion and where laws are made
Luna in response kidnaps some bar maid to shanghai into infiltrating a shadow operation in here.
She unprompted goes on a great big rant about republicans
All the while shes just letting Rowanoak hang out and theoretically do stuff, even after having enough evidence to justify FUCKING TERRORISM
Meanwhile shes grooming twilight into her next sexual conquest by showing her previous ones with dream magic cause clearly this is more important then rooting out subversive elements in her city.
Next up we find out that she had this entire time a secret police of ultra powerful vampire ponies capable of ripping through dozens of ponies in combat in less then a second. Something we see in the final battle. Theyre basically omnipotent, and do not tire, and somehow they missed that Not only was Rowanoak entirely loyal, they were literally the only loyal noble house
Next she sent Spike to go and die multiple times, eventually succeeding, and used his death and funeral to gloat about how she ripped apart the noble classes and that nothing was going to scare her.
Luna in this fic is far and away the worst thing about this fic and its not even the fun kind of hate. I pity any lunafag who reads this.
Finally the criticism I have is in framing, A lot of these events could be arranged in a way for a series of books each covering a perspective entirely. Splitting the readers attention across so many plot threads, especially since you also abandoned so many is going to make your story suffer no matter what. I do not think you can split the perspective beyond A plot/ B plot and still maintain coherency. Making the conflict at canterlot, the journey west, and the journey north their entire own novels would go quite a long way in making this so much easier to read.
Lets Cover Charachters
Twilight Sparkle: She starts off really strong, sick of Luna's shit and traumatised about the events at manehattan where starving griffons decided low income housing was actually a buffet table and she did a little genocide. I think, it never actually says what she did. Her going west quickly turns from a selfless act to a selfish act at the very onset when we see how much she just wants to get that God-Cock
Applejack: Basically the pissy mare of the group. Kinda holds it together at first but earth ponies are useless in this fic and she really feels it.
Pinkie Pie: A surprisingly in charachter pinkie pie, she;s serious when she needs to be but injects just enough levity to cut tension
Tradewinds: Russian Bootleg Rainbow dash with a rifle. Fun charachter, liked her a lot. Directly just having a russian city was weird and a little immersion breaking but by the time she shows up I barely notice. She's a crack shot with a chip on her shoulder.
Theiftaker: Not his real name but hes a turncoat who lures Twilight and the gang into Jannah so he could ressurect his dead wife. Friendly Amicable and all in all fun to read. The twist was really annoying for what it was worth
Rarity: Stiff upper lip posh princess type, freezes her ass off in the snow leading me to believe we would get a great time to develop Fluttershy but once she wakes up we get two more scenes with fluttershy for the rest of the fic. Instead we get Rarity going to war and becoming a general because... reasons i guess.
Fluttershy: Does doctor things off screen when shes not thirdwheeling. She has great contributions right up until we get to the crystal empire 40k words from the start and would be entirely removed with almost no changes.
Rainbow Dyke: Brash, racist and angry. Hates changlings and sees their integration as a terrible thing. Rarity kind of reins her in until after rarity becomes a cyborg and roles reverse.
The Iron Bitch: There to cause problems with Dyke and spends most of her time antagonizing everyone but still being a leader somehow.
Spike: Not a character. Hes literally just Luna's macguffin to push the plot along and has basically no agency.
Rainbow Rays: Spikes second closest friend and mole for Spikes Blops. Has lots of reservations about it but doesnt spend much time thinking about it.
Soarin: "Woe is me my waifu is gone please feel sorry for me i dont want to work" Fuck this guy
Big Mac: He's here, He's Queer, and nothing else.
Vampire Bitch: Gets her legs blown off when Spike starts doing shit and gets turned into a vampire. Basically only here for fetish bait and single handedly to retroactively make Luna the dumbest box of rocks in the entire fic.
That one barmaid lady that Luna kidnapped and ranted to: Her only purpose is to assassinate luna's character while being a wall that luna can rant about republicans to.
All in all, TNIP is an interesting fic with a stellar premise and some of the best atmosphere I've had the pleasure of reading, right up until the journey actually starts. It relies heavily on Deus Ex Machina as a conflict resolver, has one of the dumbest lunas ever, and jumps all over the place in tone giving any reader whiplash. My final score is going to be 3/10 regardless of your preference for romance, thanks to its shoddy execution. Its cool ideas are there but overshadowed entirely by its flaws. The Night is Passing, and so should everyone else in regards to this fic. Do not waste your time