/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews

Luna is a Harsh Mistress

FimFiction Link - Short ID: 439981/luna-is-a-harsh-mistress

Published: May '19Jul '20

Review in No. 38376682
Luna is a harsh mistress is a 230k word story starring the Lunar rebels that helped Nightmare moon wage a bloody campaign across equestria, leading to her eventual defeat and banishment at Everfree
Only in this setting, The Lunar army, and their hangers-on were banished with them
Together with grit, determination, and clever primitive science they have to conquer the barren wasteland of the moon so that they can take their vengeance against the sun tyrant. But first? They need air.
The main loop of the first arc of this, which could easily be split into a series of shorter 30-70k chunks as their own pieces, covers the problems that come with Living on an airless, barren rock itching to kill them at every step. The first protagonist is Iron Quill. A monk for the Celestial Order, a fictional church who worshipped Celestia who was Shanghaid into Luna's army after they sacked his monastery but before Luna became a lunatic.
His expertise is in managing resources, and while he has the understanding of "Natural Philosphy" as a 13th century peasant he has immense faith in the hangers on to solve their pressing issues, like Air, water, and heat. And then distantly food.
Opposed to him is The Nightmare. A supernatural entity who has possessed Luna and multiple bat horses, making the latter undead abominations.
Their first goal is keeping the air they were teleported with, this is accomplished by moving into some lava tubes. Next is removing the Carbon Dioxide so that they dont suffocate, this is accomplished with water a special salt, and Olivine though how exactly it works our PoV characters dont actually understand and the ones that "do" still believe in the 5 elements of alchemy which is difficult to parse.
After those successes we run into the main conflict of the story aside from surivival. The main goal of the Nightmare is to kill everyone and make them undead slaves that need to water, air, food, or warmth to fight. Iron Quill, very much attached to living and a believer in the stated goals of Nightmare Moon finds this disagreeable. Unfortunately the army was built on might makes right and how you progressed was by murdering your predecessor. So we get the first major conflict where the Nightmare's champion tries to kill Quill so that the abominations can kill everyone else
After that we find out theres the ruins of a lost Alicorn civilation on the moon with advanced technology and materials that they dismember for their own purposes.
For some reason Luna is really touchy about looting her home.
Once they figure out how to get plants growing with some clever engineering There's a final direct confrontation between Iron Quill and the Revenants as Quill has almost entirely forced the nightmare out of nightmare moon and one of their own which leaves Quill crippled but a legendary figure for the survivors.
Review in No. 38376716
From here, The quality dips a lot, Had this been a multi-book series this is where the first novel would have left off and the next one picks up
See the ancient alicorn city had a living machine that gave Iron Quill Magic Cummies so that he could impregnate his undead bat waifu tsundere The story picks up after a timeskip that could be anywhere from 15 to 30 years Iron Quill is dead of natural causes and his blind daughter is being singled out because she is basically the daughter of god in the eyes of the moon ponies. But she doesnt let her blindness stop her from pursuing her dream and she, against orders breaks into the super sacred tomb city, being chosen again by the granter of magic cummies to resist reprisal by Lunatic nightmare moon who for some reason has been growing distant.
After that minor success, she manages to get her own class of soldier to plunder the tech of that ancient city, but this all goes to crap when the miners dig too dip and almost kill everyone. The crisis means they cant fix their food supply issue since theyre going to run out of air, heat, and water since there is no more water to quarry. They get a brand new directive to find the water treatment plant in the city and the arc abruptly ends.
What the fuck. This was almost enough to make me drop the fic. This arc sets up the excuse that the future arcs will use to setup exploration of the city but it just ends.
And the next arc is 500 years later because reasons. Word of God states that the reason for this was that he was running out of wordcount to write his fic. Given that my 3 favorite fics, are all more than a million words, thats pretty bullshit, and an extra 50k or so words would have made this arc significantly better. The only things of note that happen is that the ancient city being open for plundering is more in line now.
Review in No. 38376769
500 years later we get to see the conclusion of a bunch of the effects of Iron quills plans. The color system that dictated who gets what materials and resources so that they were best used by the colony so they dont all starve/freeze/suffocate has turned into something of necessity to a bloated corrupt mess that has oppressed the two lowest rungs of society, The whites and the yellows
Anyways we follow a white who has weird teleporta powers who's father was shoved out the airlock along with him and his brother and left to die, but because of the Magic Cummies device, he resisted the cold.
He meets one of the revenants, a thief who is just mostly curious about how this wierdo smart guy is hanging out at the bottom rung of society.
The Government is a brutal totalitarian military dictatorship where they are preparing for an invasion of equestria, something that thanks to the last two arcs we know is a fruitless endeavor. And for some reason everyone in the lower districts is being rounded up for some demonstration.
Its guillotines, naturally. The Military exectued a bunch of ponies who were allegedly trying to rebel against the military and that everyone else is going to have to work without the warm homes for the next lunar day, and during the first lunar night, they werent going to allow any whites or yellows into the warmth huts for the first 24 hours.
This, mind you, is to the whites and the yellows who are already given the worst jobs, and lowest quality homes and food and freezing to death down in the bowels of the colony is a very common occurance. Soldiers spot Cummie-Kun and think hes a rebel because he isnt with everyone else in the arena forcing him and the revenant out of the airlock and into the ruined city.
They have a meeting with the Cummie machine after getting some supplies and neat equipment where Cummie machine gives them a big fucking gun and sends them to liberate the city whose corruption runs the risk of killing everything, Something that the nightmare wants.
Before they leave, Robo-Cummies has a problem with the existence of the revenant and after some impassioned speech by Cummie-kun compromises by turning her into a crystal bat pone.
We also learn that the Alicorns used to be a galaxy spanning empire before nightmare creatures convinced many alicorns to off themselves and now theres just the ruins left.
Next up is, while objectively its rather rushed and more than a little contrived, my favorite part of the fic which is the rebellion arc where we get to mirror Luna's initial drive to fight her sister.
The army's plan is to kill all the whites and the yellows by shutting off their heat so they freeze to death. The rebels, lead by Cummie-kun decide that the ration response is to open the big airlock at the bottom where the old mine used to be(which i swore was melted over, ah well) and just let out all the air.
Review in No. 38376823
This doesnt work for the nobles, so they come down to put down the rabble and the door gets opened. Reluctantly, they agree to the duel, where cummie-kun uses his protagonist powers to win, which while really fun to read in the moment, was probably retarded if you sat down to think about it for even a second.
Naturally because nobles are evil fucks, they decide he cheated, capture the door, and put him in a stasis spell where he has to break out. make it to luna and with his BFG kill the king regent.
Luna turns out to be extremely weakened since daddy nightmare no longer is giving her warlock powers and is effectively powerless while the regent did whatever they wanted. The Regent that had a run in with BFG and is currently scattered across the moon's surface so thats not a problem. They remove the color system in a great big display and we get another fucking 400 year time skip. Jesus fuck
In the time they established a republic, Cummie-Kun became immortal, and Luna, while mostly out of the public eye along with her fellow immortals guide the city into becoming a moon nation, founding sister cities.
Then everything changed when the Fire natio- I mean the remaining Revenants attacked, their plan is to kill the princess, turn her into an alicorn revenant and then kill everyone else with a zombie hoard and terror tactics. the former revenant, being stalked by a really dumb reporter, goes to the Cummies machine to get something to help track the revenants. This goes well but oops, they are too late and the attack has already began. A mindless action sequence later and our heroes are victorious beating the nightmare once and for all. but the former revenant is shattered and we get a timeskip again to see its repair, and surprise we are suddenly out of nitrogen to feed all 7 moon cities, so we need to build space ship to equestria, which we just gloss over.
There are some heartfelt emotions where Luna reuinites with her sister, The former revenant goes to her thousand years burnt down village to pay respects to Penumbra, the baby momma for Iron Quill, and the story kinda just ends.
I enjoyed this fic quite a lot, but its becomes a dumpster fire in quality objectively after the first arc ends. the second arc was aborted, much like i probably should have, when there was still 150k words left of runtime in the fic. I have a soft spot for stories about revolution and in the moment the third arc was immensely entertaining but ultimately its pretty blase action movie nonsense. Great if you like that stuff but nothing really exemplary here.
The ending was kinda just haphazardly put there with another conflict and I'm not sure what exactly the nightmare's plan was.
Overall if this was just the first arc, it would get a solid 9/10. Good Drama, good characters cool worldbuilding etc, but this isnt that, it has the rest of the fic which tanks the average quality tons. 3/10