FimFiction Link - Short ID: 443140/a-sweet-and-seemly-thing
Published: Aug '21
'A Sweet and Seemly Thing' is a short twelve-thousand word story about Queen Chrysalis trying to find redemption for her actions and from her past. The tags don't lie, this is not a straightforward redemption plot, but I don't wish to spoil things yet, because that would give away most of what's interesting in the story.
I have to admit, I haven't read any Flurry Heart fics previously, so I don't really have a clear grasp on what her character should act like. With this in mind, I was alright with her behavior in this story, she acts as a kind of synthesis of Twilight and her mother. However, of course while she is an important character, the real deal is Chrysalis herself, who is portrayed in a really interesting way that proves to be the best part or the story. To summarize my thoughts before delving into spoilers: The story is worth reading, though aside from some nice characterization you won't necessarily find anything exceptional here. The story has about as many good parts as it has bad ones.
With this out of the way, let's deal with spoilers. Chrysalis' "flickering" between wanting to ruthlessly hurt the royal family and being genuinely emotionally invested in Flurry is very nicely done. It might not be Crime and Punishment, but still, it was clear that the author worked with nuance and based on my interpretation there are about three layers to her character. The outermost that she shows to everyone as a Changeling who wants peace. An inner layer where she mercilessly plots her revenge against Equestria. And even below that her true feelings that she doesn't want to admit which slowly surface over the story. Feelings that tell her she doesn't really want to kill and while not in the way the ponies can give her, she truly yearns for redemption. Making this feel not forced must have been a hard endeavor and the fact that Flurry ultimately defies her was a nice subversion of my expectations, I have to give props for that.
However, there is one thing that simply knocks me right out of my immersion and ultimately caused the story to be just "good," instead of "awesome." And that is the fact that everyone else is acting absolutely braindead. In a few days of time Chrysalis is allowed to escort Flurry alone to her bedroom? Without even a single guard for show or anything? Yes, Cadence acts upset about it afterwards, but after the Changeling even insults her she just stomps off in anger, without even checking if her child is okay. This is absurd. And then the rest of the plot is resolved not due to the rest of the casts' agency, but basically sheer luck and Flurry's actions, leading to a cliche "you don't really want to do this" heel-turn and a meh epilogue.
Overall: 6/10 Flurry and Chrysalis are nice, the rest of the cast blows. The story isn't terrible, but the spoiler stuff will surely irk the more critical reader.