FimFiction Link - Short ID: 25242/even-rainbows-fade
Published: May '12 — Jun '12
'Even Rainbows Fade' is a fifty-two thousand and five hundred-word drama fic. Twilight dies and Rainbow, who was deeply in love with her, can't cope with the pain.
I find it a common theme in these old fics that they can all be described with a single word: It's earnest. By this I mean that it's very obvious that the author put their emotions and interests into this fic, instead of forcing themselves into a very rigid structure. This has its pros and cons, which I'll discuss as they come up.
In terms of technicalities, I found the prose reasonably quaint. I found the author's attention to Rainbow's eyes particularly nice, the way her inner feelings are reflected by how much they shine was pretty well executed. However, there is one aspect I really, really didn't like and that is the insistence on onomatopoeias. Seeing massive bold and capitalized lines of just screaming really didn't help the mood. I understand what the author was going for, but it seemed silly at best and downright distracting at worst. Of course, it's quite possible this won't be annoying for you, but I personally stand by the idea that stories should rather use descriptions for sounds and only sparingly using sound imitating words for simple stuff like thuds and for emphasis. On the other hand, I admit I did really love the rainbow-colored rainboom in the penultimate chapter. It's the sort of cheese that's part of the "earnestness" I mentioned above and I cannot fault anyone for that.
As for the story, I left mostly satisfied, but there are quite a few things that hampered my enjoyment a little. From the get-go as another commenter already stated, the M6 doesn't feel old. Sure, the author makes plenty of references to their children or outright specifying that they are old, but if one were to ignore these two aspects, the characters themselves neither sound nor act much older than the show portrayed them as. It's not the end of the world, of course, but it does make their age seem more like a thing only used for dramatic purposes instead for further characterization. Another thing that was far more annoying was how the author randomly threw in completely unfitting expressions and random bits of humor into scenes that really didn't need them. For instance, describing Rarity blowing her nose during Twilight's funeral as:
>blasting the contents of her muzzle into a handkerchief
Is it a bad way to describe the action? Absolutely not. Is it oddly specific and feeling out of place. Yeah, kind of. This becomes far rarer during the later parts of the fic, but it does make me wonder what the author was going for with this.
A more damning example comes at one of the last chapters. Zecora confronts the M6 and as they speak she stops rhyming, they ask her why that happened and then she goes:
>“A mare living out in the woods alone needs some kind of entertainment.” with a smile.
In this moment they are discussing how one of their friends may just be in mortal danger. And how Zecora's premonition told her AJ will be too late. What makes me most frustrated about this scene is that had it happened in a more fitting situation, it'd be very funny actually. The back and forth is really good banter and it'd even play into the characters well... had it not happened during such a perilous event.
Moving on, what I also found pretty interesting about this fic is that it mostly tries to go for a show-like atmosphere. I'm not sure how consciously the author chose this, but aside from the obviously unfitting parts, much of this fic could really just appear on the show with how exaggerated the characters act and just how, for lack of a better word, wacky parts of it are. I'm talking chiefly about the cave scene with the bear. It was whimsical, it was cartoonish (in a good way!) and then Twilight straight up murders the bear in cold blood and no one bats an eye. Evidently I'm not against the idea of murder being portrayed in fics, but it was such a weird jump from how that scene felt just a second ago and the fact that it isn't even particularly acknowledged took me by surprise. Especially considering immediately afterwards the story continues on with the same stride, cranking back the comfiness factor and even the humor with AJ appearing in the window. It sort of feels like there are two (or perhaps even three) fics kind of mixed into one: A heart-rending drama of an aged M6 dealing with the death of a very close friend and its repercussions. A jovial and upbeat, almost episode-like romcom. And finally a somewhat rushed attempt at a life-threatening kaiju battle, full of fight scenes and action drama.
That last one is a bit of a head-scratcher. On one hand, it's a fittingly large calamity to justify a character's death. On the other, it felt very contrived along with how it comes up again at the end of the story. A massive dragon appearing and engaging in a death battle with Spike is absolutely not the worst concept in the world, but it felt like the story took a complete 180° and became a very different genre for half a chapter.
This is further felt in the penultimate chapter when the dragon very conveniently decides to die just as RD is contemplating suicide. I can accept that it stumbling into town during the picnic was the coincidence of a century. But it awakening during RD's most vulnerable moment and then having the Wonderbolts just appear at the right moment was a bit too much. I know there is an explanation why they came, but their arrival was just too convenient. I don't only want to whine, because Rainbow's sacrifice was nicely portrayed, but I feel like the situation around it could have happened in a more natural way. Twilight's force ghost was also a bit weird and an awkward way of making her still appear despite being dead, but the scene itself is sweet so I guess I can't really complain too hard about it.
Marking the last chapter optional was the right call in my opinion. Honestly, it would have probably been even better if it didn't exist, but I understand why the author might have wanted to give the characters a happy ending. Still, not only presenting the actual afterlife, but also providing a way for Twilight and Dash to communicate from beyond kind of took away the solemness of the situation for me. The penultimate chapter ends with a somber, but still very satisfying way. Tackling on another chapter of "they are fine, death is just an endless party lol" kind of ruins that mood. Leaving things up for interpretation or the imagination sometimes does better than tying all loose ends.
Let's talk about the characters:
I think the author does a fairly good job at nailing most of her major character aspects. After Twilight's death she blames herself and rages against the world. I like that she doesn't just suddenly start feeling better just because her friends talked to her. Her almost being driven to suicide is also pretty much a demonstration of Loyalty, just in a way that only makes sense through her grief and ignores her other friends.
Now, I haven't read many romance fics and it is very much not my go-to genre, so my next point might be a personal-problem, but I got really tired of her going "my wife" every second sentence she talks about Twilight. It almost felt like these are sprinkled in not for the actual characters themselves, but to remind the reader. And it just came off as annoying, instead of endearing. Which is a shame, because when the author portrayed their relationship in a more subtle manner, it immediately became far cuter and natural feeling. Rainbow chiding herself over becoming an egghead or her saying:
>I--*ack*--think I can measure it in pounds per square inch!
when Twilight hugs her, showing that her style has rubbed on Dash worked far-far better, in my opinion, to establish how long of a time these two spent in love with each other.
The fact that she can't use her wings anymore was probably my favorite part of her characterization. It's a very simple concept, but it really is the best way the fic shows the two's love for each other.
I also feel like her epiphany about not only being into mares, but Twilight specifically happens a bit far too quickly. She more or less literally just sits down and figures out "shit, I'm gay and I love Twilight." The author tries to soften the blow by dragging it out a bit over the chapter, but relative to the length of the whole story, it still happens in the blink of an eye.
Considering the fact that she kicked the bucket, she obviously doesn't appear nearly as much as everyone else. The little time she does appear does her justice though. She's still just as anxious and studious as one would expect and she plays nicely off Rainbow's hotheadedness.
I mostly like the author's interpretations of what sort of families these characters would end up with. It's really interesting to see an old fic like this when Discord was still just a villain and so Fluttershy ends up with a stallion instead. I think she and Rarity pull off their attempts at help pretty nicely, but AJ and Pinkie are a bit weird.
The former doesn't really feel like she speaks with experience. Not only is her dog dead by the story happens, but also Granny Smith and Big Mac as well. And yet she insists on putting herself in Rainbow's face instead of giving her a bit of space. Having her married Doctor Whooves is the sort of thing that should feel wrong, because it really just feels like a random cameo the author put in for the sake of their own amusement, but I really can't find it in myself to be angry for this. I found it charmingly old fandom-y.
Pinkie Pie, however, is just straight up bad. Now, don't get me wrong, I sympathize with the author here, she's without a question the hardest character to get right in this series, but I feel like making her into her usual crazy self was a fatal mistake. On the surface level she is the most neurotic of the bunch, sure, but her utter inability to understand how Rainbow feels and immediately coming to the conclusion that "well what helped me will help her," while also being randomly assaulted by her Pinkie Sense, just felt wrong. I understand what the story was going for with her, but for me it was a complete miss.
Rhymehorse is always a welcome sight in fics for me. The author does a valiant effort at making her rhyme and even the characters acknowledge when she fails. She, probably inadvertently, ended up as the main source of humor in this fic, which - as discussed before - felt a bit out of place at times, but all in all I liked how she was portrayed here.
He's... there, I guess? I feel like despite him being practically the brother of Twilight, we hardly even see how he handles the situation. Hell, the first time we meet him in the story he's grinning and toying with Rarity, a day after Twilight's funeral. His battle with the dragon is cool enough, but he felt more like a setpiece instead of an actual character.
Cute character, however, I feel like if she appeared a bit more, the emotional impact of her absence would be felt more. Until the penultimate chapter she only appears basically once and, though the characters do talk about her, I feel like we never really had enough time to make her feel like a part of the cast. She pops up and off she goes to grow up off-screen.
I did like her chase with Rainbow though, it was funny to see her being the one enduring someone else's smugness for a while. Opal not realizing the cyan pegasus with a rainbow mane is Rainbow Dash felt a bit contrived, but then she's an orphan who lives on a train, so meh.
Not much to say about her, as she appears just for a few very short scenes, but I really like the author's headcanon that she acts as basically a Charon-like figure, leading dead ponies into the afterlife. Fits her themes and makes her feel as important as Celestia.
Overall: 6/10 Considering this was the author's first story and it's over 50k words long, I have to say I'm impressed. All things considered, while it has plenty of what feels like wish-fulfillment, slightly inappropriate scenes, and a feel of being an all over the place story, it still delivers its emotional punch mostly well and I didn't feel like my time was wasted on it. If you like Twidash or would like to take a dive into the old fandom feels, I can recommend it.