• Let's Review: A Friendship to Remember


    No new comic to review, but we have something different!

    "A Friendship to Remember" is the novelization of the upcoming "Forgotten Friendship" special. So I thought I'd give it a look and see what's on the horizon.

    Check out the full review after the break, but beware of spoilers. There isn't a memory-wiping spell for those!


    The Equestria Girls series has evolved since it's first movie. Sunset Shimmer went from an unimpressive villain to a fan-favorite heroine. The series has stepped away from Equestria aside from a few mentions and focused entirely on the human world. Most of all, it's begun producing content at a steady pace.

    This reflects how I feel whenever Sunset first appears on screen.

    Because this book is both a novelization and aimed at a much younger audience I had little trouble reading through in about twenty minutes. My experience with novelizations is that they are more focused on summarizing action rather than fleshing out scenes. That is not to say that author Perdita Finn is lazy in her word choice or describing the story. Yet I don't think adapting an hour-long special into book format has the same goals as writing a fully original story. 

    Funny enough, some of the panels from the 
    holiday special match this story well.

    One of the stand-out features is about two dozen doom flags. The earlier chapters feature Sunset attempting to photograph as many clubs as possible in a day while Applejack and Rainbow Dash have their competition from "Queen of Clubs". Throughout these chapters, Sunset and friends make continual references to great memories and looking back on this later in life. The emotional setup is heavy-handed, but not tiresome because the story moves at a swift pace.

    Yep. This reflects Sunest's low point.

    Sunset arrives to meet her friends only to discover that they've partially forgotten her. All their adventures together are wiped away, leaving bitter recollections of a bully. Sunset quickly learns the entire school has suffered this loss, and suddenly she hasn't a single friend.

    And this reflects Sunset's social status.

    Because this is Sunset's story, the remaining characters are more observers and reactionaries. If you're a fan of these characters then there's a good chance that they can feel under-represented. Except for Pinkie. Much like My Little Pony, the Movie, Pinkie's loud and energetic personality can demand attention like no other. 

    There are times I wish Pinkie's character could dial it down.
    But then, she wouldn't be Pinkie.

    It's here that I hesitate on how far in I want to go. Talking about comics, I think it's okay to talk about major plot points because there is still the artwork and the overall presentation to enjoy. A book relies more heavily on the story unfolding and I don't want to over-do it on spoilers.

    Taking away Sunset's memories would be like removing this from continuity.
    Unforgivable.

    So let's keep it general. Our lead antagonist is a compromise between some of the series' greater extremes. Though not as calculating and menacing as the Dazzlings, this new threat is much more aware, intentional, and more sympathetic than Principal Cinch. I understand why this antagonist is acting out. At the same time, it's easy to see how this character invited misfortune through the wrong choices. 

    Kinda funny how Gloriosa's brother has 
    now been more a recurring character than she.

    The downside of this is that I know from characters like Gloriosa Daisy and Juniper Montage that the Humane Seven will befriend this threat, but we the audience might not see any future development. It's a pattern in the Equestria Girls series that I think will continue. 

    So... can I be an eighth member now?
    Sorry, darling. That's been reserved for Starlight Glimmer.

    Sunset's struggles are intimidating and there's a genuine sense of powerlessness. She has no idea how this happened, let alone how to solve it. So while I noted that Equestria Girls has distanced itself from Friendship is Magic, it is a welcome idea as she asks Princess Twilight for help. I shall spoil this much: Sunset returns to Equestria for a more substantial visit than in Mirror Magic. There are reunions and events that I think will energize the entire fandom. 

    There's a question. If this memory has been altered,
    who rescued Midnight Sparkle from herself?

    We also get to see a different side of the EqG Trixie, who is a lesser antagonist at first but becomes Starlight's sole supporter. It's an interesting presentation for her. Trixie is a character who lives by comparison and competition, but when she sees someone at their weakest she's not one to render judgement. Unapologetic for her own failings, yet because of that she's quick to recognize when someone needs an ally. 

    Why did she photobomb a non-essential photo?
    Because she's Trixie. That's why.

    I did wonder if Flash Sentry would help bolster Sunset's support. He does not and hasn't even a speaking role. I'm unsure what they want to do with Flash. I understand that romance is not the series' priority but he has become more interesting than the high school crush we originally witnessed. This feels like a missed opportunity to have him do something more. 

    I'll be in the next special, right?
    Change that hairdo and we'll talk about it!

    Sunset and Trixie's opponent's magic is a terrifying idea, for it can wipe away any progress one has made towards a solution. It's the ultimate violation of privacy, but there are times where it seems inconsistent. There are cases where the magic does not wipe away memories, but rather changes the details. In other cases, such as photos on Sunset's smart phone, it can't change anything. So there should be ample physical evidence that something's wrong.

    No one checked their own phones for records?

    Still, the final confrontation and climax are intense and while the outcome is never in doubt, I've become invested enough in the EqG characters to care about events as they unfold. Reading this book helps get me excited to see how fellow fans will react.

    Did you know smart phones are more than just cameras?
    Tis true!

    I can't speak to the book's appeal to a young audience. Like I say, novelizations are a different beast from original fiction. Much like a yearbook, it's a way of recording and remember big events but the enjoyment is not strictly born from the book's own presentation. If you'd like to sample the story and have some time to mull it over before the special even airs, I recommend this book. It's a quick read but still enjoyable. If you'd rather tackle the special without any preconceptions then... I'm very sorry you read this far but I recommend you not read the book yet. 

     
     Does this qualify Twilight as online friendship support?

    Having read it, I'm very much looking forward to the special and curious to see how folks react.

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

    Silver Quill on Twitter
    DeviantArt

    For archival purposes, you can find the IntenseDebate comments for this post (if any) archived over here