FimFiction Link - Short ID: 501780/the-many-lives-of-strawberry-sunrise
Published: Oct '21
'The Many Lives of Strawberry Sunrise' is an eight thousand and four hundred-word shortfic. The story presents the journal of the eponymous mare, who might not even be a pony.
This is one of those fics that I cannot really talk about without immediately going into details, so my spoiler-free thoughts in a nutshell: It's a great story with a few insignificant nitpicks, none of which are important enough not to recommend it.
The story's first clever twist is in its prose. Suddenly right at the end of the first chapter the text changes color and then twice more. While I don't really think the coloration is ultimately very necessary, because the author does a fine enough job at differentiating the characters, the initial switch from black to red was pretty unexpected and I really liked it.
The actual narrative itself is a nice mix of intrigue, SoL banter, and some light humor. I wouldn't say any single joke made me laugh, it's not really that sort of a story, but I do like the almost childish naivety of Scout as it contrasts with the deadpan of Ashen Grey and Nimbus. And I especially find it interesting how immature she acts considering she very casually murders the original owner of the diary before assuming her disguise. The nonchalant way everyone talks about this gives a nice unnerving edge to their characters, especially with how "normally" and pleasantly they talk to each other otherwise. I really liked the cultural exchange part too. Their "respectful bickering" and attempts at one-upping each other is really entertaining. My favorite part of this story, however, is how sneakily the main plot unfolds. The reader gets caught up about the differences in hives and how the unlikely trio tries its absolute best to keep up the charade, even though they have wildly different personalities. This in itself a very nice narrative. So much so, that I quickly "forgot" about the initial owner who got killed, only for the author - in a cruel twisting of the knife - suddenly reveals that Scout too is dead and returns an off-screen character I thought existed only for the sake of comedy as an actually dangerous and active actor. It's shocking, but without feeling cheap.
Honestly, I have very little negative to say about this story. I think it's a bit weird that none of the characters realize the weird weather phenomenon comes from Discord. Surely someone would mention it in the town after things are restored to normal. However, this is honestly just a nitpick, because the story is still perfectly enjoyable, but it's mentioned so much that I couldn't help but notice this.
Overall: 8/10 I cam easily give story a high score like this. In eight thousand words it establishes a ton of lore, some very likeable characters, delivers some impactful drama, and even surprises the reader a few times. Can recommend!