You won’t want to leave today’s story.
The Enchanted Library
[Romance] [Adventure] [Alt. Universe] • 339,524 words
Everypony enjoys myths and ponytales, even if they know such things aren’t real. Alicorns fighting against a spirit of chaos? An ancient princess trapped in a library under a tree, waiting to be found? Quite enchanting and fantastic tales yes, but nonetheless as fictional as Daring Do and other such stories. At least, that’s what Rarity used to think.
She doesn’t anymore.
FROM THE CURATORS: When we last featured this week’s author, we spotlighted one of her short, high-impact stories while merely name-dropping the longer work which put her on the map. But readers loved The Enchanted Library so much that they voted it into the running for our effort to find The Fandom’s Best Fanfic™ — and after a tense battle full of upsets and narrow wins, this epic adventure-romance novel emerged victorious.
It was easy to see why it inspired such dedication. “It is a literary chrysanthemum opening layer upon layer of secrets, inventive worldbuilding, Monochromatic’s signature heartfelt emotional and romantic development, and Rarity being unable to actually tell the truth even if her life depends on it,” FanOfMostEverything said when introducing it to our panel audience. “It is not just a romance, it’s a romance that shows its work, and a great AU to boot.” Horizon agreed: “Rarity and Twilight start out as complete strangers, and we get a full-length novel’s worth of words in which they slowly become friends before either one even starts wrestling with deeper feelings. I honestly don’t think any story has ever sold me on a ship the way that TEL did, and the dynamic between the partners is a source of both joy and tension throughout.”
If all the story did right was that perfectly-paced and grippingly compelling romance, it still would have been deserving of a feature — but top-notch writing in multiple areas elevated it to a story worthy of being called The Best™. “The characters are worth mentioning for their color,” Horizon said. “Rarity is a fascinating study in contrast that gets her canon complexity across well. We get to see her flaws front and center, but it never stopped me from caring about her and her quest.” AugieDog agreed: “The Discord here is a master class in how to write a villain, as is pretty much everything about the adventure, the character building, and the romance.”
And several of us commented on its raw power. “There are multiple scenes in the story that just ring as perfectly as crystal bells, and there are several scenes where the author types a paragraph that tears down everything that’s come before and kicks it flailing off a cliff she’s quietly and calmly been building in plain sight,” AugieDog said. The fic kept those standards high to the very last word (and its in-progress sequel). “TEL throws a succession of finely crafted punches, and man, the ending just wrecked me,” Horizon said. “Wrecked.”
Read on for our (all new!) author interview, in which Monochromatic discusses brain HDMI, Disney destinies, and the good kind of selling out.