FimFiction Link - Short ID: 454522/and-i-would-live-in-stone
Published: Nov '19
'And I Would Live in Stone' is a three thousand and four hundred word oneshot, set long after the show's finale. Cozy, Tirek, and Chrysalis are still imprisoned in stone, as years turn into decades. Every once in a while Twilight visits them to ask if they are ready to start over. As time passes, their resolve is broken again and again, until each time a choice is made.
What elevates this story from good to great is the iron grip it has on its narration. Chrysalis is jaded to no end and she has no qualms about filling her reminiscing with venomous contempt as she talks about her former comrades' betrayal. Yet what makes it work so well isn't that she's talking rudely, (albeit the author makes this deeply enjoyable as well, with great prose and heated lines,) but rather that as the reader gets further into the story, it becomes hard to say that she's entirely wrong. Even if Twilight considers stoning a mercy, it's basically psychological torture. And what's more, depending on how reliable of a narrator Chrysalis is, it seems like even Twilight has somewhat realized this, as she intentionally locks Cozy away for a far longer time in hopes of breaking her. Portraying reformation as a kind of implicit subjugation isn't exactly a novel concept, but the fic does it really well. Another thing I really enjoyed is how hollow the ending feels. Yes, Chrysalis technically won in the end. But that victory has only earned her an endless imprisonment in stone. It's a catch-22 of either completely giving herself up or remaining resolute and, for all intents and purposes, dead. And, to put another layer, onto this already fairly nuanced situation. the last time she was released even she began to crack. The author leaves it hanging whether this is just a moment of weakness or whether Twilight is finally slowly having her way, but either way it makes the story's end all the more sour in a good way. One more thing I considered interesting is that while she mentions several times how she absolutely intended to betray the other two eventually, when they do the same, she's absolutely hurt. One can interpret this as anger at Twilight, of course, but it could just as easily be denial.
I don't really have anything to say in terms on negatives. Perhaps it would've been interesting to hear a few more dialogues between Twilight and Chrysalis or Cozy and Chrysalis, but maybe the strength of this fic comes from only really presenting one perspective and requiring the reader to figure out the rest from the implications.
Overall: 8/10 A simple concept executed greatly, in a story whose length feels just right, featuring awesome narration and a moral dilemma where neither side could really be called right or wrong. If you're a fan of more "philosophical" than action-packed short stories, I can highly recommend this one.