I love lists. Lists for shopping, lists for chores, lists of books I want to read. Lists for lists. This love of lists means I have decided to start sharing a series of bookish Top Five lists. So, with out further ado, here are my top five fictional cities (in no particular order).
Imre from the King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. Imre is primarily a city of the arts; an affluent and cultural centre for the rich and powerful. It is close to the university protagonist Kvothe attends and so benefits from the many feats of artifice pouring out of the Fishery. Imre is the kind of place I can imagine going on a long weekend to, seeing the sights and taking in a show at The Eolian. It is a city of luxuries and opulent decadence brought vividly to life by Rothfuss’ delightfully descriptive narrative.
Whitespire from the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. Whitespire is the royal seat of Filroy, a Narnian type world visited by Quentin and company in the trilogy. The main feature of the city is its namesake, Castle Whitespire. Thanks to some clever dwavish clockwork, the brilliant white castle constantly rotates. You could sit reading by a window and take in a different breathtaking view of Filroy every time you look up. The city itself is the quaint and idyllic place you would expect of such a world with a talking animal around every corner. Filroy is a magical and enchanting place with Whitespire as its crowning glory … when its not in the middle of civil war.
London Below from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. This is, as the name suggests, a city below London. It is a dark and dangerous place Richard Mayhew visits after rescuing a girl named Door. It is a city of magic and darkness with many interesting places and people. I particularly like the Floating Market – a giant mass of stalls where all manner of people barter for magic items and random tat. London Below also has a great underground system using closed London tube stations. I personally love alternate Londons and this one is my favourite.
Ankh-Morpork from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Despite only recently discovering Discworld, Ankh-Morpork is one of my favourite places to read about. It is surreal and weird but undeniably real. It has its rough areas and its affluent ones, it’s pubs and guildhalls, its criminals and valiant (-ish) guards. Ankh-Morpork is incredibly well developed and, as a reader, a place I can get lost in.
Collegium from the world of Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky. In this world, instead of different races there are different kinden each with aspects of different insects. The different kinden mainly live separately but there are exceptions, the biggest exception being Collegium – a beetle city that excepts everyone. It is a place of learning and democracy, its crowning glories being The College and The Assembly. It is an enlightened city that elects its leader and has outlawed slavery (doesn’t seem like much but no where else has made that step). Like any place, it has its shady underside but that doesn’t at all diminish that it is a city of progress and of all the places I’ve read about, it’s the place I would like to live.
So there you have it! There are many amazing fictional cities but theses are definitely my favourites. What are yours?
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