FimFiction Link - Short ID: 140761/triptych
Published: Oct '13
This is the ideal pony fiction. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance reads like.
I'm only half joking. Triptych improves on all of the imperfections in Apotheosis, and does it so well that I really can't find anything to complain about.
To elaborate, Triptych still keeps most of what made the two earlier Daetrin stories great. The characters are excellent. Particularly Princess Celestia – it's not the only fic leaning into the '5D chessmaster' Celestia, but it's certainly the one that pulled it off the best [of the fics I've read], by a long shot. A significant part of the story is spent discussing and showing the consequences of her actions, which is already more that the majority of Celestia fics care to do. She is dignified, but not cold or immodest. Cunning, but the opposite of ruthless. Decisive, but responsible and caring. I could go on and on, and she's not the only well-written character, far from it! All of them are great, and none are OOC in the slightest.
Speaking of Celestia, the worldbuilding of Triptych demands its own paragraph. Triptych isn't an adventure fic, so instead of worldbuilding concerning new locations outside Equestria, we get Lore™.
Goddesses lore, to be exact. Yep. I was semi-expecting the story to derail into a hard AU setting that's nothing like the show Equestria… but it never did that. For as much lore as Triptych has, it never once felt tacked on the fic, or out of place in the Equestria that we know.
A lot of the time fics tend to abandon core aspects of FiM's setting to make it more "cool", "epic" or "edgy". Triptych – and the two earlier stories – have none of that. It's better and more faithful to the magical land of kind ponies from the show, than the show itself became quickly after this fic was published. That's something truly remarkable, and I can't stress it enough.
And because it was a problem with Daetrin's earlier works, I'm glad to say that the writing mistakes are almost non-existent here. All the scenes are clear, there are (almost) no errors/typos and the somewhat descriptive prose has never been better. Gone are the occasional dubious word choices, it's all pretty, enjoyable prose here.
To be desu, this review isn't that necessary. If you've read Apotheosis, I imagine you'd not need any convincing to continue. It goes the other way around – Triptych is so good that I'd encourage giving its prequels a shot even if you're unconvinced, or if the subpar writing at the start of Off the Edge of the Map made you drop the Daetrin saga.
And yes, that's a 10/10.