FimFiction Link - Short ID: 537045/honeymoon-phase
Published: Jun '23 — Aug '23
(With major spoilers, so skip if you had any intention of reading it yourself)
This story's interesting. The lore was pretty good, and Unknown's managed to give Celestia a proper depth as an ancient immortal ruler from forgotten history that Her Little Ponies really know very little about, while ALSO making her an actually relatable character, which I think is a notable achievement. She's nothing like your average mortal, but she's also not some elditch god either. She's just a former mortal who's earned immortality and has spent millenia doing stuff, but ultimately just another flesh and blood being with emotions and virtues and vices, and Unknown really makes it shine. I like both of the Sisters here.
The lore itself is also pretty interesting and varied, with each flashback showing a new facet of the Sisters' characters, and in fact gives a very nice framing for the NMM incident too. Really, I could keep singing the praises of the Sisters' characterisation and origin lore in this story; it's original, unusual, well-characterised, grounded in great worldbuilding, and overall works really well.
Some commenters pointed out that especially in the first half of the story or so, the flashbacks are too frequent and too little happens in the present between them. I'm inclined to agree, that is definitely a flaw. That being said it was annoying when waiting for the story to update; now that it's fully published, I feel like it's short enough that it's going to be a minor hiccup in pacing at worst rather than an actual annoyance.
My main complaint is Jungle Trek though, RIP my guy. He was a lovable character and there were tons of hints about Celestia taking a genuine liking to him. The plot at the end came out of nowhere, and arguably Jungle was by far the least culpable out of the conspiracy. Celestia deciding to just screw decorum and go back to her warrior princess ways was nice, but even the other thieves, once caught, were apprehended - not summarily vaporized. Except Enigma who allegedly tried to resist. Jungle, by all accounts, most definitely did NOT try to resist and was as apologetic as possible. I'm honestly disappointed that the first thing Celestia/Huitzy did upon dropping her "nice princess" character was disintegrate him.
Unknown stated that the story was meant to be a subversion or parody of the usual "Princess Celestia marries an OC" story, but I do think that "actually Celestia is an ancient warrior queen and rather than getting to live with a gentle princess of ponies Jungle got dragged out in adventures across the jungle or something" would've been a neat subversion. Maybe Celestia could've grabbed him to help her track down the other thieves, or something. Also Jungle not being the author's self-insert or anything (but an pre-existing character from an april fool's joke) also kept it from feeling forced or anything - I was genuinely rooting for the guy.