if only tonight all stories were this good
I am always a little bit unsure about zombie stories. But yours works for me, and I think it's because it confronts head-on the thing that scares me the most about the concept of a zombie apocalypse: the loss of self. Not just the loss of self from turning into a zombie, but from having to kill things that are arguably still sort of human, from losing what life used to be before everything happened. Gore and violence can be scary, sure, but that's nothing compared to the existential terror of losing everything that matters and being forced into a brutal game of bodily survival after you're not sure your soul is intact anymore, at least in my eyes. IOTWCS deals with this very directly but leaves a hopeful message at the end, which also means a lot.
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There's no need to be familiar with Soul Eater to understand this story - as I've discovered from certain people who've read it without any knowledge of canon at all - but I'm also always left in awe at how you manage to preserve the essential themes of SE and the themes of Soul and Maka's canon characters and relationships, even when you bring them into an extremely different context. That is what a well-written AU is supposed to do. You give them their balance of power, their strengths and weaknesses that compliment each other, their interests translated into ones for that universe. Also, I love that your stories reflect inner and outer turmoil. In IOTWCS, there is a huge amount of conflict resulting from not only the obvious zombie apocalypse and other character interactions, but also from Maka's own struggle to re-find "the meaning of her name."