So, Fallout: Equestria 3rd printing is already showing up on Ebay. Those people have no patience. Also the guy asking for 1200 bucks is a bit optimistic. I was going to wait a year or two for things to settle down before selling mine. Guess I’ll see how the guy putting one up for 400 bucks does. Huh, taking another look it’s the same guy. So he’s just playing the long odds to see how it sells. I’m also once again reminded of my loathing of dust jackets for books. They look nice and all with the art, but holy crap they get in the way when actually reading the book.
- Reformation of the Hives by Law Abiding Pony
More or less the wrap-up of this particular Twilgiht Sparkle as a Changeling Queen series. Which I really enjoyed the first book and enjoyed each one after that less and less. To the point that this one was just kind of a disappointment. Not that it was bad. Just suffered a lack of focus on the author’s part. The first story in the series I liked because it had some cool Changeling worldbuilding. Alchemy and manipulating organic creatures instead of technology, matched by a steampunk (sort of) industry in the hive Twilight was reborn into. Some cool stuff, even had artificial clockwork changelings and golems/robots can be a lot of fun to mess around with.
Now we get to the last story and the main conflict is between holy magic and necromancy and the catharsis moment at the very end that puts a cap on the whole thing is about a necromancer/demon that only got introduced in the third story. Not to mention we had a whole different culture of sphinx beings that got a few chapters in one of the books and then just kind of shoved to the background and the author didn’t do anything interesting with them. It’s like they were introduced only to give one of the characters shapeshifting hands instead of being a cyborg changeling. Which was disappointing. I really liked the moment in the second (?) story where the changeling that wanted hands got given the magic-tech prosthetics. I hoped it was a cool extrapolation from the hive’s love of technology to start making tech/alchemy changelings as the next step in their evolution. Nope! New creatures with shapeshifting hands. Scan ’em, now that character has shapeshifting hands and we never talk about the cool tech-hands ever again.
Another part that was a failure of world-building. Lots of airships and airship combat. Nothing too major there, except that one of the big ‘advances’ in the middle of the series (the story before this one, I don’t remember if that was 3rd or 4th in the sequence) was a airship that was an aircraft carrier. For biplanes. Like, two-wing propeller driven airplanes. Sure the thing is powered by magic, but… Why? Airplanes were a big game changer for humans because we can’t fly. Changelings can fly, and cast spells. I get some of the advantages described, but they would be minor improvements. Not to mention I have a bias against magic-as-technology. I’m not even sure aerodynamics and/or air flow over wings works on the same laws of physics in Equestria. I mean, look at any Pegasus flying. Plus we know from the episode where Rainbow Dash gets a pet that all the flying birds and bugs and bats can sit on clouds, so they obviously have some of the same magic as Pegasi. So… I get that a flying aircraft carrier is cool. The author just should have come up with something more creative than starting with the first steps of human aerial warfare. I’m not even sure what the airborne infantry ship that came in this book was all about, honestly. It was never actually described.
Basically it seems that as the series went on, and this story in particular, the author just kind of wobbled from one cool idea they had to the next. All the holy magic versus necromancy stuff was interesting, but never actually explored. They just started using it. Some interesting world-building there with the afterlife and everything but still a wasted opportunity. Not that I need endless exposition. It’s just that if you are writing fan fiction and you introduce something brand new like that it should either be the main focus or just a off hand thing. Not a weird mix of both that has the downsides of each one.
Would I recommend this story? I’m not sure. I wanted to see how it all ended and all. It just felt like a completely different series than the one we started in with the first story. Where everything I liked about the premise and world that we saw in the beginning was slowly shuffled off screen or just plain changed into something else until we arrived at something completely different. We could have had a cool tech-vs-biology story. We could have had in-depth world-building with the Changelings. We could have had a awesome fantasy war story of armies and terrible creatures. We could have had a interesting tension filled first-contact story with a new multi faceted culture while Equestria struggled with the threat of the changelings. We could have had a good vs evil, holy magic vs evil necromancy story. We could have had a urban thriller where the heroes fight against a secret terrorist organization while trying to find acceptance in society as a whole. What we got was a bit of all of those ideas mixed up in a square shape and then pieces randomly carved off until it fit in a round hole.
On the technical side of things the writing was fine to good. I just think that the author really should have outlined and figured out the main story they wanted to tell and focused on that much more tightly. Then wrote other stories that involved the other elements. By the end it felt like a original fantasy story more than pony fan fiction.