Magic and its surroundings, these are some of the aspects that make me want to read a fantasy novel. These ten captivating and unique magical cities in books may paint the novel beautifully, but might be deadly up close.
When the world interacts with magic, I always wonder how it’s going to be. Complicated laws and harsh regulations, or free rein of magic and its consequences? Where is this place? Would I visit if it were possible? When the setting is as important as the characters or story itself, that’s a book you remember.
The magical cities listed below are places I would definitely visit if they were real. But I might not get out of there alive. Ice-covered cities, worlds that you could never imagine appearing just by opening a door, cities set in the Underworld, and more are just one click away.
Dreamland in The Spinner of Dreams by K.A. Reynolds
Dreamland, the home of Reverie, the Spinner of Dreams. Dreamland is colorful and full of life. “Rainbow birds the size of carts and creatures that looked like dragons soared over vast rolling green meadows and sapphire waterfalls streaming into hidden pools.” But before you can enter this world of dreams, you have to go through the labyrinth and win. This labyrinth is ruled by the Fate Spinner, the other side of the coin, the other twin sister.
Aranth and Golden City in The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Frozen meets Mad Max. One city, Aranth, is ice surrounded by a storm-wracked sea, and has a never ending night that watches over its citizens. The other is steam, heat, and fire. With never ending days, Golden City is a danger to its people. Long before these two cities were even born, twin goddesses ruled Aeon. But a betrayal caused Aeon to break in half, becoming Aranth, the frozen city, and Golden City, the city of light.
When it comes to these worlds, the only thing to do is survive the ice and the heat. This wasteland of a world that once was is slowly dying because of climate change, and Rin Chupeco shows us what the future might be like if we don’t take action. It also has a great magical system and characters that will take you on the journey of your life.
Caster by Elsie Chapman
The world in Caster is harsh and the magic used only continues to wreck the world even more. This book is pitched as Fight Club meets Avatar: The Last Airbender, but also has a little bit of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in it. It’s for fans of complicated and extreme magical rules and high stakes that can change the world completely.
Whenever magic is used, it takes something from you. Either from your body or from the Earth under you. Because the power that they use to draw magic comes from the Earth, and whenever it is used, you destroy a part of the world you live in. “The air and oceans and forests, ruined because of casters like me. No more blues and greens but smog and rust and dull gray concrete.” Magic is forbidden but Aza wants to find out what happened to her sister, so she has to take a big risk to get answers.
Alaka from A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
Magical and drop-dead gorgeous cities are one of Chokshi’s elemental pieces in her stories. When it comes to Alaka, it is a kingdom located in the Otherworld where Kubera, the Lord of Treasures, resides. This is where the Tournament of Wishes takes place, the little game our protagonists will have to conquer to get to their wishes.
A place where you might borrow a moon, win stories, remind yourself of childhood daydreams and find pain in the most unexpected circumstances.
The Sea Kingdom of Keto from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
I didn’t forget about underwater cities. The sea kingdom of Keto is home to only royalty. It has never been found by any human eyes, but was hidden in mazes of ocean water and magic put together by the goddess Keto herself, so her kingdom would be safe forever.
Inside those palace walls, Princess Lira lives. She is siren royalty, next in line for the throne. And there is only one ruler of the seas. Her mother is only three hearts away from giving it all to Lira. You see, sirens take hearts instead of years and Lira only takes princes’ hearts.
The World Above from The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis
This newly released YA novel transports us to the world above the clouds. Yes! Kingdoms and cities in the sky. There are seven Houses, or courts, who rule, but also choose their mates very carefully through trials. And the people who rule it all are winged creatures.
Our protagonists are the heir to the House of Peace and the illegitimate half-brother of the heir to the House of Whispers. They meet under an interesting turn of events. Both wield magic, but in a world where magic is forbidden, destiny will try to tear them apart.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
“Far beneath the surface of the earth, hidden from the sun and the moon, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories.” Erin Morgenstern’s newest, and one of the most awaited novels, is going to fill you up with mind-boggling magical worlds.
There are multiple doors around the world that open to a Harbor in the Starless Sea. They can look simple, overly decorated, with or without handles. There is a door and if you open it, you can either visit stories or you can turn your back and close that door. Want to try?
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