Amidst COVID19, book lovers are aching to escape into another world like never before. They are yearning to rid the days of wearing itchy facemasks, dousing their hands in sanitizer, and social distancing away their favorite “bookish” spots. In an attempt to help book lovers escape their new norm, I have compiled a list of five fictional cities and their books to get lost in while quarantining.
Velaris – A Court of Mist and fury
On the western side of the Night Court, lies a hidden city few have ever seen. They call it Velaris, the City of Starlight. It is the city that shines like a diamond in the dead of night… a metropolis that smells of salt and lemon verbena.
The city is built atop rolling hills and bordered by Sidra River and the sea beyond. It is home to gorgeous white marble and sandstone buildings that house some of the best food and fineries the world has ever seen.
If you get the honor to step foot inside of Velaris, you must visit the four market squares called the Palaces and then step foot inside the Rainbow of Velaris – the artists’ haunt. There you can watch performers flock in the streets and painters create masterpieces at their artisan posts. It is the most visited location in all of Velaris because its residents get to watch art get created in the streets
Velaris is the hidden gem of Sarah J Mass’ A Court of Thrones and Roses series and readers would sell their soul to get a peek at Rhysand Night’s beloved home. If there is any city on this list that I would want to visit during the monotony of quarantine, it would be Velaris.
Alicante – The City of Glass
In the country of Idris lies a single city that is known as Alicante, nicknamed the City of Glass. The city is a peaceful one, home to the Shadowhunters – the half-angel warriors that slay the demons that plague the night. Unlike most cities, it is not a hub of bustling trade and traffic. It is quiet, mostly crowded with the gold and red-hued houses of the Shadowhunter families. Of course, the city does hold some of the Shadow World’s most prestigious governing building and the Accords Hall, where a celebration is held every now and again. Still, Alicante is where the Shadowhunters come to rest and return to their families after a long day of slaying hell’s spawn.
Cassandra Clare’s loyal readers treasure Alicante. It is a place of wonder and mystery and Clare describes Alicante with such grace and beauty that you believe you are there with the characters exploring the cobblestone streets. If you are looking for a series to pick while you a social distancing, try The Shadowhunter Chronicles and experience the beautiful city of Alicante.
Ketterdam – A Six of Crows
Welcome to the criminal underworld, better known as Ketterdam, the capital of Ketch. The island city is home to some of the world’s most notorious international trade routes and criminal organizations. It is a place not for the thin-skinned, for, in the words of Kaz Brekker, “There are no good men in Ketterdam.”
To put it lightly, Ketterdam is not a safe place – people pull guns on each other like they are handshakes – but outsiders flock to the city regardless of its macabre reputation! They attend Ketterdam University, lounge in the East Stave, drinking buckets of booze in the taverns, and loiter in the casinos losing their money to the gangs that run the sketchy establishments.
Even though Ketterdam is not a city disreputable for its good people, it is a city that piques many of Leigh Bardugo’s fans’ interest. There has never been a city written quite like Ketterdam and adventurous readers wish they could take on the city and plunder its underworld just like Six of Crows’ infamous Dregs.
King’s Landing – A Song of ice and fire
On the eastern side of Westeros, in the Crownland, lies a city that is easy to name. It is the home of the Iron Throne and the Red Keep – an overpopulated metropolis that cooks in the continent’s heat day in and day out. They call this city King’s Landing, a place that many go into but never come out of again.
The city, although the home of the King of the Andals and the First Men, is not a place dripping in luxury. It is infested with brothels, slums nicknamed Flea Bottom, and people that scurry through the streets looking to pick someone off to get a meal. Of course, some live a posh and simple life, but they seem to be the outlier in the King’s precious city.
Despite King’s Landing’s formidable reputation, many fans want to see the capital city in George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones series, and I don’t blame them. There is an air of mystery around King’s Landing, one that piques readers’ interest, and many would risk getting their head mounted on a pike upon their arrival to get a glimpse at the Iron Throne in person.
The Emerald City – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Get ready to put on your green-tinted glasses because the last place on the list goes to the Emerald City. The only city in literature that glows green under the sun’s curve and lies at the end of a golden, yellow brick road.
Before one can enter the luxurious city, they must walk through the city’s outer gate; a marble structure that sparkles green with the emeralds embedded in its smooth surface. Once inside, one must put on a pair of emerald green glasses— a request by the wizard himself.
Once wearing the glasses, however, any person inside of the Emerald City’s gates is welcome to roam free and enjoy the green-hued city in all of its glory. You can frolic through the most beautiful gardens in all of OZ, visit the green glass solariums, or sit on one of the city’s marble benches and watch the water sputter from one of the many fountains.
The Emerald City, without a doubt, is the most recognized fictional city in literature. The Wonderful Wizard of OZ has been inciting readers for over a hundred years and fans old and young have dreamed of meeting the Wizard inside of OZ’s fortified gates, regardless of the city’s peculiar nature. If you are truly looking to go to a mystical place while you are stuck at home, pick up The Wonderful Wizard of OZ and put on a pair of green-tinted glasses. I promise you will be whisked away to a place far away from this dreaded virus.