FimFiction Link - Short ID: 503727/when-magic-returns
Published: Sep '21
'When Magic Returns' is a three thousand and three hundred word oneshot in which Sunny talks with a vision of Twilight about the latter's past and the former's future. The story is honestly not bad, but has problems.
First for the good parts: I like how the fic tries to bridge over the gap from G4 to G5. The way the author explains why Equestria is so different compared to what we're used to is fairly elegant. The downfall of ponies came not from some outside force or strife, but rather their complacency and Twilight's genuine attempts at improving the kingdom with technology and learning, which ultimately lead to the roots of friendship being forgotten. It's not overly complicated, it's believable and it makes for interesting drama despite the story having no villain whatsoever.
What I don't like, however, is the tonal dissonance in the story. Twilight goes from somberly explaining the end of civilization as we know it to reminiscing about how she had to ban Hearth's Warming Eve, because it caused some light shenanigans. She just feels a bit all over the place, acting regal in one minute and then like her young self in the other. I'm also torn on the "I will never outlive my friends. So I do need to keep making new ones" idea. In a meta-sense, it's a really amusing tongue-in-cheek subversion of what the show's writers meant. But considered in-universe, it felt pretty heartless. The M6 doesn't even get any substantial mention in the story and Twilight spends no time on even thinking about her supposed best friends, which causes them to feel like nothing more than batteries to lengthen her own unnatural lifespan by friendship-vampirism. Which, now that I'm writing this down, sounds like a concept that would actually make for a fairly compelling fic, but in this story this implication is completely accidental and doesn't mesh well with how the character acts otherwise. Also, while she acts mostly faithful to her character, I think Sunny should have freaked out at least a little bit more before she started bombarding Twilight with questions. Yes, she is very open-minded and all that, but who she meets is not just a random unicorn or pegasus, but rather a literal legend who pops out of thin air.
Overall: 6/10 For what it's worth, I've enjoyed reading this story. It has a few great ideas and doesn't really commit any overly egregious errors, but it lacks that certain spark that makes a fic really memorable. Regardless because it doesn't overstay its welcome, I recommend it as a fic you can finish in minutes and walk away mostly satisfied.