FimFiction Link - Short ID: 157261/letters-to-the-sun
Published: Feb '14 — Jan '17
There is always an interesting duality in reading sad stories.
On one hand, you're willingly putting yourself in the way of something that, if properly written, will most likely cause you a modicum of pain. And pain is of course usually not a good or desirable thing. Yet, through this ultimately "harmless" pain you can connect so much more to the characters who live, suffer and at the end triumph over their own mortality or smallness. And when you finally reach the end, the sigh that leaves you will most likely be one of bittersweet contentment.
'Letters To The Sun' is one of these stories. In this short, a little less than 22 thousand words writing a much older Twilight recounts how the world progressed after the death of the princesses, in the form of letters addressed to the late Princess Celestia. Each letter deals with a different Element of Harmony separately, with almost all of the letters being about different eras of history. Yet with the use of subtle references and forward and backward glimpses, these letters all intertwine and by the end form a fairly coherent picture about the fic's universe.
Perhaps it's just personal weakness, but despite the shortness of each letter, whenever they deal with tragedy it always made me choke up a little. Their genuineness and remorse-tinted optimism almost makes one forget that this is a fictional piece of work about pastel horses. Frankly the only thing that ruins the atmosphere a little is the sci-fi in the story, which is by far the weakest part of the whole package. Referencing Warhammer Orks, mimicking Star Trek and talking about a big space war just detract from what the plot is truly about: A sense of duty and camaraderie even after an unforgettable tragedy strikes and how the strong spirits and personal sacrifices of "small" people ultimately forged the nation of Equestria into something far greater than anyone would have ever imagined. Thankfully the author was aware of this and the story dwells little on the grandiose, focusing rather on individuals, their exploits and how these tie into the characters' past, present and future. All of this is conveyed through the kind and understandably proud words of Twilight Sparkle as she copes with the loss of her teachers, the separation from her friends, how much the world changed around her, and the gargantuan responsibilities of leading a massive empire. I would rather not go into any more details about the chapters, because this story deserves a full, blind reading through.
Overall: 8/10 If you're the emotional kind, this story will almost certainly touch your heart, maybe even tear you up a little. It's also very-very short, shouldn't take longer than one or two hours. While an appreciation for science-fiction will most likely improve your enjoyment this story greatly, I feel like it's able to stand on its own legs even if you don't care about such stuff.