FimFiction Link - Short ID: 478726/apples-in-the-mirror
Published: Sep '20
'Apples in the Mirror' is a six thousand and three hundred-word oneshot. Pony AJ gets to meet "her" human parents.
I'm generally not into EqG stories, as I care far less about that offshoot of the series compared to mainline-FiM, but the synopsis of this story seemed emotional enough and it having won second place in the same contest that gave us 'World of Colgates', I was inclined to see what's the big deal. And I have to say, I am very much not disappointed.
I really enjoyed the story's prose. It's simple, but not simplistic: The author doesn't spare words to paint nice details and pepper in tiny jokes and character thoughts, but as a whole the narrative stays very focused on the main plot and I was with the story from start to finish.
But, of course, this isn't the highlight of this fic. It is very much the story. The fact that AJ's parents are dead is already a respectable source of drama, but this fic takes it one step further by showing us her reaction to meeting the people who are like her parents were, but aren't.
I don't believe spoiling this story takes away any of its impact, as the plot hits hard through its execution, not its concept, but still, if this sounds nice (and you aren't turned off by justified no-hooves and some completely unnecessary Rarijack allusions), drop the review and read it. You'll not regret it.
Anyway, while I am lucky enough that both of my parents are still alive, I have experienced similar grief, which makes the story utterly relatable. Even if the plot is completely fantastical, pony-AJ's reactions feel very much real. Her disgust and revulsion towards the human parents (which isn't even truly aimed at them, but the fact that they aren't her parents) is gut-wrenching and so is the simmering anger she feels towards her human half. I had to take a moment while reading one particular scene, because it just made me feel miserable. Few stories get such a visceral reaction out of me, so I was impressed.
I also love the perspective change during the first and second section. The way the author switched up who's referred to as "girl" and who's "Applejack" was a really elegant way of changing perspectives and it allowed both sides to have plenty of time to shine, even if it is mainly the pony-side's story.
The only thing that bothered me somewhat was the weird inclusion of Rarity-shipping into this story. My issue is less the fact that it's a gay ship and more that it's there in the first place. Romantic love is an inexhaustible source of drama, but in this story it simply didn't feel like it had relevance (as it was otherwise so singlemindedly about family affairs), so the two times it is brought up stuck out and imo hurt the pacing a little.
Overall: 7/10 This is one of the stories where the inclusion of EqG is not only passable, but outright improves the story. The drama is strong, the characters are very human, feels were had. Can recommend.