So I’ve gotten two messages about “Cheerilee’s Garden” being updated and I figured that since “Killing Princess Cadence” still has yet to be completed I’d skip it for now (I’ll get to it Drul, Pinkie Pie Promise) and move on to “Scarlet Harvest” the nauseating sequel to “Cheerilee’s Garden”.
Here is a link to the original analysis of the first version of the story if you care to read it: Cherilee’s Garden (ignore the fact that I clearly couldn’t spell her name properly at the time).
That story, in case you don’t want to read it first or forgot the plot, follows Cheerilee as she systematically and grossly kills her students throughout the course of a school play. Apparently there was a great outcry for a sequel which author Unahim delivers in spades.
"Scarlet Harvest" by Unahim
This one picks up two weeks after the original catastrophe in which all the evidence of Cheerilee’s misdeeds was washed away. While most ponies were seemingly content to assume that the fillies and foals of the class died in the fire that occurred after the play there are a few who find the circumstances questionable. Most notably, Applebloom’s friend Twist who isn’t willing to let it go. Consequently when Cheerilee begins acting strange Twist seeks out Twilight Sparkle (AGAIN?! REALLY?!) to get to the bottom of the mystery. From there it becomes a literal gore fest of horrific torture and serious squick.
As much as the authors notes try to tell you it didn’t really go for the same amount of grotesqueness that the original did, I truly beg to differ. This one is perhaps more disgusting than the original. Some of the deaths are fairly standard, but there are a few that really just made me cringe and nearly made me physically ill. Twist and Fluttershy’s deaths really really got me and maybe you’ll see why when you read it (although coleoptera can totally fly). The rest of the deaths are also pretty brutal, but that one really puts you on edge, which I’m sure is why Unahim started off with that one. In fact, each of the death scenes seem finely crafted to make the reader shudder.
The premise if pretty great. As you would have gathered from the first story, Cheerilee has gone completely off of the deep end. The story is a continuation of her attempting to remove all the weeds from the beautiful garden that is ponyville. I can’t say I liked the back-story given, as it seems to fall a touch flat for me, but I don’t outright dislike it. I think that it adds some rhyme and reason to Cheerilee’s madness, which is always appreciated even if it is mildly implausible. Then again, it is taking place in a land of magical ponies so MST3K mantra and all.
We get some of the darker side of Equestria coming out in this story which readers will recall I absolutely love. I can’t get enough of the “dark past” stories and the idea that the war between Luna and Celestia took much more than just a “To the moon!” moment is very interesting. Towards the end we also get to see just how bloodthirsty and irrational ponies can be. I don’t want to spoil this one for you, so I can’t really get to in depth but the words “kangaroo court” come to mind. Also, the depths to which Luna doesn’t understand modern society, nor the elements of harmony comes out very plainly. It’s an interesting twist to a character that is so beloved by the fans. She is completely heartless here and also very much stuck in the period before her banishment to the moon.
The ending is extremely tragic and can’t really be discussed without spoilers. I have to tell you that I didn’t see it coming. I predicted the events leading up to it, it’s obvious enough, but the exact ending was still a surprise. We also get a nice little hint of a threequel which would undoubtedly be spectacular. I don’t know if Unahim will make one, but I sincerely hope she/he does.
The writing style, as I stated previously in the review of the initial story, is superb. I really can’t get enough. Of all the stories I’ve read Unahim’s writing style will forever stand out for me as one unparalleled in the community. A lot of people (myself included) underestimate how much a proofreader can help a story come out wonderfully.
Overall a fantastic read and truly Grimdark as Fuck. Thanks to the two who gave me a heads up and thanks to Unahim for truly making me want to puke. You rock!
'Til next time, take care of yourself and maim your brother!