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Quiz: Which Magical City Should You Live In?

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Margaret Kingsbury

Contributing Editor

Margaret Kingsbury grew up in a house so crammed with books she couldn’t open a closet door without a book stack tumbling, and she’s brought that same decorative energy to her adult life. Margaret has an MA in English with a concentration in writing and has worked as a bookseller and adjunct English professor. She’s currently a freelance writer and editor, and in addition to Book Riot, her pieces have appeared in School Library Journal, BuzzFeed News, The Lily, Parents,, and more. She particularly loves children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and any books with disabled characters. You can read more about her bookish and parenting shenanigans in Book Riot’s twice-weekly The Kids Are All Right newsletter. You can also follow her kidlit bookstagram account @BabyLibrarians, or on Twitter @AReaderlyMom.

The City We Became, By N.K. Jemisin.

Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts her most incredible novel yet, a story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City. Every great city has a soul. Some are ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York? She's got six. "It's a glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York. It's inclusive in all the best ways, and manages to contain both Borges and Lovecraft in its fabric, but the unique voice and viewpoint are Jemisin's alone." -- Neil Gaiman

Why live in a mundane city when you can live in a magical one? Travel to your city via tattoo, visit the local magical library and receive book recommendations from the orangutan librarian, avoid the giant spider attacking the public transit system, dodge fairies on your way to work, argue about the latest political machinations of your djinn overlords. In magical cities, everything is possible.

Fantasy differs from realistic genres primarily through setting. Jeff Vandermeer argues in Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction that all settings are fantasy regardless of genre because “it does not exist in our reality the way it does on the page.” Thus, if I were to write a story based in Nashville, my home city, it would still be a fantastical version of that city, because it would be interpreted through my imagination. But fantasy cities require extra layers of world building. The best fantasy cities have deeply imagined histories, their own folklore, teem with languages and cultures and diversity, and, best of all, contain MAGIC. It’s that magic part that I crave. While Nashville is my home city, my dream city would not be of this world. It would be filled with dragons and fairies and spellbooks, witches and djinn and giants. It might be more dangerous—magic usually is—but every day would be an adventure.

If you’re like me and dream of finding a magical city to call home among dragons and wizards and sorceresses, take this quiz and find out which magical city you should live in. And who knows, you may find a door where there should be no door, or accept a stranger’s invitation, or board the wrong bus, and find yourself transported into the magical city of your dreams one day.