FimFiction Link - Short ID: 511698/dancing-with-herself
Published: Feb '22
'Dancing with Herself' is a fourteen thousand and five hundred word romance shortfic. Starlight is tormented by her feelings towards Trixie and a ball where everyone changes into someone else might just be the perfect opportunity to open up a little. That and perhaps something else.
It is impossible to really talk about this fic without spoilers, so I'd rather just preface the review by saying, this is an excellent story with clever writing, quaint and comfy prose, and an ending that ties together everything beautifully. If you like soft romance and clever stories, you'll not be disappointed.
With that out of the way, let's talk spoilers: I admit, though I had read previous works of this author, I was a bit worried around the halfway mark of the story. Everything was presented very nicely, but I felt just confused and wasn't sure where the story was heading.
However, this was all part of the ruse. I felt like a happy idiot when the time-travel aspect of the story was dropped. I mean, it should have been so obvious! The cover art is an hourglass. The description mentions "only time will tell." The author is pretty much laughing you in the face and I'm all too happy to accept I was completely got.
It's pretty damn bold to not only have characters act like other characters, but also introduce a notoriously complicated narrative device into your story. And yet, here it just works. The way older-Starlight's mysterious sentences get reframed as herself fumbling to preserve a timeloop is both a source of comedy and a testament to just how well planned this story is. Everything makes coherent sense and the "ending," which at first only confuses the reader turns out to be a really sweet and bombastic finale to the story.
I also want to mention how much I like the author's care for details. The way one must exhale during long-distance teleportations so that the air doesn't cause harm. How minor details get explained and woven into the narrative. How Twilight's warm yet distant persona is presented. I'm still no fan of post-finale Equestria, but due to the fact that it largely only serves as a background for Starlight and Trixie's personal drama, I'm not bothered by it.
However, for me personally Starlight's timeloop monologue didn't really hit the spot. Don't get me wrong, it's still very well written, but it just kind of felt detached from the main focus of the drama, that being her relationship with Trixie. I am a bit shaky about even putting this in the negatives, because fundamentally it's written just as well as the rest, but to me it felt like very high quality padding. I also feel like the whole shapeshifting aspect of the story could have been explored a bit more. It works nicely as a plot device, but we don't really get to see its effects at large.
Overall: 8/10 Clever, nicely written, funny, and heartwarming. Can definitely recommend.