I’ll be honest, I’m never going to leave the North Shore. My proximity to both Salem and New Hampshire makes me so happy that I’ll forever stay right here. New England is a beautiful place, and it will never relinquish its hold on my heart. Thus, though this week’s That Artsy Reader Girl topic is places in books I’d love to live, I’m changing it to visit because anything else would be a lie! This is not in any particular order, and there are definitely places missing, but I just thought of ten and went on my merry way.
Although, now that I’ve said that, I feel like I should rescind it given that, after Middle-earth, the first place I’d visit and actually be tempted to live is Weep from Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer. It was such an odd book for me because I was so uncertain about it for the first 80 or so pages, and then they got to Weep, and I was fully committed. Let me live in those pages forever. Taylor became an instant auto-buy author, and I sprinted headlong into DOSAB. Weep is such a gorgeous sounding place, and I’d love to do the same desert journey to get there as Lazlo did so that, when my first view of the city finally happened, it would be just as glorious as his.
I’ve long loved Frances Hodgson Burnett stories, and The Secret Garden was one of the first places I dreamed about as a child. I wanted so badly to run through the endless climbing roses, the tantalizing maze of weeping willows, and wish upon the lily-strewn fountain. The 90s adaptation of the book still leaves me breathless when I think about that first view of Mary breaking into the garden, and then watching it come to life is just truly something out of a storybook. I mean, it is, yes, but you know what I mean, that indescribable magic of wow.
I know it seems crazy that I’m only including one Middle-earth city that I’d like to visit, but that’s because I just wrote an entire list of my top ten places in January, so I’m just going to link that instead. Realistically, I would 100% live in Hobbiton, but if I could only visit one place, it’d undoubtedly be Minas Tirith. It’s the most glorious city in Middle-earth (not counting Gondolin since it’s gone), and just seeing it on screen gives me shivers, so I’d probably need a solid few hours out on the Pelennor Fields just to stare at it.
The Winterhouse hotel in Ben Guterson’s middle grade trilogy sounds absolutely amazing, and I’d love to vacation there for a week or two! It’s unlike any other hotel I’ve ever heard of, and just the library alone would captivate me for hours on end, but all the events and cool artefacts strewn all through the halls would have me wandering around forever. I’d love to go during the winter to sky on the lake and snowshoe across the grounds, but it would be so interesting to see what the summer events were like. And all the glorious dinners and lectures! It would surely be the most knowledgeable vacation I’ve ever taken.
I’m only including one Grishaverse location on this list because, if I’m being honest, I don’t actually want to visit somewhere like Kerch? I’ve got no interest in seeing the ruins of the Fold, I don’t particularly love cities, and, of all the possible places in the Grishaverse, only the Little Palace holds any real attraction to me. The way Leigh Bardugo describes the Little Palace in Shadow & Bone is definitely elevated because it’s Alina’s first time ever seeing it, but being able to ride up through the city in a carriage and slowly watch the Grand Palace unfold only to find that there’s something more architecturally beautiful hidden away would be such a marvel to witness.
And yes, I am here again with another Laini Taylor location, fight me. There are so many incredible places in Daughter of Smoke and Bone that it feels a little impossible to pick one. What I wouldn’t give to see Akiva’s world, particularly the palace where he grew up, or Brimstone’s shop, but if I had to choose just one, it would absolutely be Poison Kitchen. Not only that, I’d have to sit beneath the angel statue, tucked into a coffin table with some goulash. Oh, now I’m hungry and sad I can’t go!
There are truly so many damn kingdoms to choose from in all the wonderful fantasy books out there, and I don’t know how I managed to only pick two, but they were the first two that came to mind, so we’re going with it. I love everything about Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn, and I can’t even really think of anything specific that sways me toward that kingdom rather than any other, but the way that the palace is described through Shahrzad’s POV always struck me as unimaginably beautiful, and it would be such a treat to not only visit the palace, but to get to see Shahrzad and Khalid looking magnificent on their thrones.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE, BUT GUESS WHAT, I’M HERE TO SCREAM ABOUT EUGENIDES! Which, chronologically, Eugenides wouldn’t actually be in Eddis if I went to visit while he was king, but I’d definitely have to go post-Return of the Thief so that I could see the spoilers, but if I’m being honest with myself, I know that I’d want to see Eddis more than Attolia. It just sounds so damn cool–a literal kingdom in the mountains? GIVE IT TO ME! There are so many incredible locations in Megan Whalen Turner’s series that I can’t believe I’m limiting myself to Eddis, and I’d probably say screw it and just visit the whole damn continent, but if I really had to only pick one, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would immediately run for the mountains.
I know, this seems bonkers! The City of Sin is on here, but not Kerch? Honestly, there’s just something about the City of Sin that appeals to me so much. Sure, it’s dark and dismal and a whole lot of sketchy, and I’d probably lose all of money in seconds by several pickpockets, but I totally get the allure of the City of Sin in Amanda Foody’s The Shadow Game series. I can 100% see why Enne chooses it, why Levi can’t leave it, why it just swallows all of its people whole. There are so many districts that I’d like to wander through, even the ones that I definitely shouldn’t.
Realistically, I could only very briefly visit Coldthistle House from House of Furies by Madeleine Roux. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, I shouldn’t want to visit Coldthistle House because then that means I’m a murderer, and that’s a problem. Let’s say one could just pop over, though, without having had to commit a murder and be drawn to the house–even still, it’d have to be a daytime visit, which wouldn’t make sense since it’s in the middle of nowhere, but for my own sanity, I would not be able to stay a night. Inevitably, something would happen, and I’d have to, so there’s zero chance I would sleep at all, and why am I visiting a terrifying manor from a horror novel? It sounds riveting.