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Riot Recommendation

23 Of Your Favorite Books Set in Magical Versions Of Real Places

S. Zainab Williams

Executive Director, Content

S. Zainab would like to think she bleeds ink but the very idea makes her feel faint. She writes fantasy and horror, and is currently clutching a manuscript while groping in the dark. Find her on Twitter: @szainabwilliams.

This Riot Recommendation is sponsored by Gilded Cage, Book One in the Dark Gifts series.

The world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years.

But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

Our heroes are a brother and sister who are brought to serve Britain’s most powerful family. It’s upstairs-downstairs drama; beautiful and wicked aristocrats romancing rebellious commoners; and an epic of politics, passion, and revolution.

Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Go left at the statue, walk through the abandoned shop, then out the back door into the alley, and step into a world at once familiar and unrecognizable. Are you in Red London, Jordan College, or somewhere we’ve never heard of?

We asked you to share your favorite books set in magical versions of real places, and you responded. Here are 23 of your favorites!

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

The Alchemist’s Apprentice trilogy by Dave Duncan

Enchanted Inc. series by Shanna Swendson

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Smoke by Dan Vyleta

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Chronicles of Kazam series by Jasper Fforde

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Midnight Never Comes by Marie Brennan

California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout

The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman

War For the Oaks by Emma Bull

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch

Allie Beckstrom series by Devon Monk

Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger

The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia

The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

Un Lun Dun by China Miéville