Monday, October 14, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 14: A Candle to the Sun

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Ooh, I like the cover art for this one!  Shame the artist seems to have deleted it--I'd have liked to take a look at a higher-resolution version of the image.  Oh, well.

Now that you know what I think about the picture, click below the break to check my review of the actual story: Moabit's A Candle to the Sun.

Impressions before reading:  Well, this is the same author who wrote Jack and the Ponies, a fic I reviewed... Jesus, that was back in 2011.  Anyway, I liked that story pretty well, so I know the author can write something I'll enjoy.  Although it's an older fic, this one looks like it's still got traction with readers; at least, the steady stream of likes and favorites that I see in the FIMFic stats (most recent favorite as I type this: 8 hours ago.  Before that: 15 hours.  Before that: 1 day, 2 hours) suggests that this continues to resonate with readers and/or is being promoted aggressively.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight buys a gift for Princess Celestia.

Thoughts after reading:  I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out what to say about this story that doesn't risk spoiling it.  I'll do my best here, but honestly: you might want to just skip down to the "recommendation" bit at the end, and decide if you want to read it from that.  The story's only fifteen hundred words, so it's not like it's a huge time investment.

In any case, the technical side of things seems like a safe place to start.  The writing is clean editing-wise, and the prose contains some excellent word use.  I'll always give credit to anyone who not only uses words like tawdry or trepidation, but finds ways to use them so that they don't stick out like sore thumbs and turn the story into an exercise in admiring the author's vocabulary.  And uses them correctly--it always kills me when authors pull out a nice word, but don't seem to know what it actually means.  In any event, that was all nice.

Voicing was also very well done, with Spike's grumbling snark adding a welcome bit of humor to the story.  The plot was simple and straightforward, with a satisfying twist at the end.  But the meat of the fic is in Twilight's nervousness and fear as she searches for a gift that will send the right message to Celestia, leading up to the inevitable moment of presentation/confession to the princess, and it's here that the fic falls short.

Or rather, where the fic is too short.  The climax works as a reveal, but the almost nonexistent release means that there's not nearly as much emotion in this piece as I'm sure Moabit intended.  That's not to say that the ending was terrible or any such thing--just that it didn't have much impact.  This is the kind of story that is short, sweet, and ultimately forgettable.

Star rating:  ☆ (what does this mean?)

Still, just because a fic is forgettable doesn't mean it's not good for what it is.  A Candle to the Sun is a short, sweet story with a heartwarming twist.  As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with that.

Recommendation:  Given its length and simplicity, this story is ideal for an idle five or ten minutes, or for distracted reading.  Fans of "heartwarming" will definitely find what they're looking for here, but readers seeking a lot of depth or raw emotional power will be better served to look elsewhere.

Next time: My Roommate is a Vampire, by Dennis the Menace


  1. That was easily the quickest I've read a story after reading one of your reviews. Kinda saw the twist coming, but it was sweet and I was glad to have my expectations met, honestly. Three stars sounds about right

  2. My Roommate is a Vampire is considered a fandom classic?


    1. 35,799 views, 4046 likes. It's not just "a classic"; it's the third most-popular story on fimfiction, after My Little Dashie and Brony Hero of Equestria. Deal with it.

    2. I have major problems with that story (and I eagerly await Chris' take on it), but "fandom classic" sounds about right. It gained a huge readership base and inspired a small wave of other Vinyl/Octavia works (in fact, it indirectly inspired my Vinyl/Octavia work, even if I think mine is objectively better).

    3. I think that 'classic' and 'popular' are being conflated some.

      Huge readership =/= classic.

    4. I'm with you, InquisitorM, but such is the world we live in, sadly. :-(

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. I don't think "classic" really has any solid meaning outside of "lasting popularity". Certain people might limit the term to works they deem of the highest quality or exemplary of a certain time period, but in those cases what you dub a "classic" is likely going to be different from someone else. "Lasting popularity" is pretty much the only objective definition of "classic" you're going to get.

  3. For the cover art, if you click the source in the bottom right of the image you can see a bigger version on what I assume is the artist's tumblr.