It’s been a while since I shouted about my favs on here so I thought I’d make another recommendation post, it’s been long overdue.
And this time I thought I would hype some of my absolute favourite fantasy books written by asian authors. Some of them really don’t get talked about enough! These are in no particular order, don’t ask me to crown a fav because I can’t.
So, for anyone wanting to read a fantasy world that is not modeled after (fake) medieval Europe … here is a list of fabulous options! I think there is gonna be a book for everyone on this list, from character-focused and slow-paced to military fantasy. Multiple and single POV … They tend to be on the darker side though.
It was so easy to fall in love with this book. Seriously, it’s one of my all-time favourite books ever! The writing is just so beautiful, the atmosphere so rich and you can see everything happening before your inner eye extremely vividly. It’s a masterpiece. Slow-paced and so rewarding. I immediately fell in love with the characters, Tea and Kalen.
The Bone Witch is told in two timelines and I loved both. In one we are following Tea in her journey with her magic, learning everything about the world and meeting all the characters and in the other, we follow a person (I don’t think they have a name??) who comes to Tea a while later and asks her to tell them her story and how she got here. Tea has so much character development throughout the book and I love her so much.
Honestly, I keep thinking about this book, it just has this pull on me that I can’t quite define, but it will forever be in my heart! It’s so wonderfully dark and atmospheric!
(I need to take this opportunity to hype one of Rin’s other books Wicked as you Wish which definitely doesn’t get enough attention! Maybe because the tone is so different to their other books, but I promise you it’s worth the try. The characters are all just wonderful and I loved the magic and the inclusion of mythology and fairytales. It’s much more fast-paced though. If you want more in-depth thoughts, here is my review.)
The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang
I discovered this absolute gem through a blog tour and I will be forever grateful for it. M.L. Wang created one of my favourite characters ever. Misaki is everything!
This is an adult high/military fantasy and the writing is amazing. But what I loved most, aside from the characters, was the attention to detail. The world is so complex and layered. It’s such a real world where everything and everyone influences those around them and if you like your fantasy to get political … this is it for you (also bonus tip, read all the guest posts M.L. Wang has written for this tour. They are all incredible. On my blog you can read about the propaganda used in TSoK (& my more detailed thoughts) and it’s incredibly interesting and insightful!
But if military fantasy is not your thing, TSoK also has a huge focus on motherhood and family and I loved that. As I said, Misaki is my fav!
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
This one is for you if you love multiple POVs that work perfectly together and start all separately but connect throughout the story. It’s perfectly done here. All the voices are distinct and very unique!
(Also, an already established wlw relationship with both POVs … what do you want more?)
Maybe a magical animal companion? Yes? Yes! Mephi is just … awwwwwwww
The magic system is intricate and dark and so fascinating so read about. And it’s incredible to read how they all interact with it, what they think and feel about it. I mean: The magic in this world works through bone shards. And every tithing ceremony the children of the empire have to give a bone shard to power the constructs, constructs that are dangerous and terrifying, but are needed to ward off the empire’s enemies.
The Bone Shard Daughter is such a page-turner. After each chapter, I was sad the POV ended only to be immediately invested in the new one as soon as I read the first line! Seriously. If you haven’t picked it up … do it NOW!
Buy it here: Blackwells*
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, it’s been talked about a lot. And deservedly so! It was fantastic!
It is a historical military fantasy grounded in the bloody history of China’s 20th century and we follow Rin. To say she is determined is the udnerstatement of the century. She does everythin it takes to get into the military academy despite having all the odds stacked against her.
The characters are all so complex and well developed. I loved reading about them and their relationships to each other and how things change and develop. The book takes place over a longer time and is kinda divided into three parts. I loved them all equally. And we got to see so much of this world … I really couldn’t put it down.
It’s so secret that I love my books dark and The Poppy definitely delivers on that. (You might want to check out the content warning for it before going in if you have triggers).
Buy it here:
If you’ve been on my blog or my twitter for a bit, you will definitely have seen me screaming about this book. I’ve actually gifted it to a couple of people because it’s just that good. Seriously, I’m in love.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is a character-driven epic fantasy with a rich and lush world. K.S. Villosos attention to detail was amazing and made it incredibly easy to imagine everything.
We follow Queen Talyien who travels to a different country to, maybe, talk with her estranged, disappeared, husband. Omg, I can’t tell you emphatically enough, how in love I am with Tali! She is perfect (well, she is not, but that makes her so incredible to read about!!)
First, I love that this book starts, where a lot of other books end. Tali is a queen and she has a son. But the peace is really fragile and she feels like she has to do everything in her power to bring her husband back. But nothing she can do is ever the right thing.
The book is written in a way that feels like Tali is telling you her story, we get her inner thoughts, her doubts, her reasoning for her actions and some flashbacks. This all creates such a great atmosphere and the best reading experience ever.
She is not the only fantastic character though. All the characters are incredibly well developed and feel so real. And I’m gonna promise you, you’ll love Khine. That’s all I’m gonna say now.
I have my review for The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (with my fav quotes) & my review for The Ikessar Falcon on my blog and I’m part of the blog tour for The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng (sooo happy about that!!) so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon!
And as a honorable mention:
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Joan He creates such a compelling character with Hesina. It is a little different from what you might be used to in regards to how characters are explored in the sense that we see them all in regards to their relationship with Hesina who is the focal point of Descendant of the Crane.
She is not perfect, she makes mistakes and feels overwhelmed and … my heart hurt multiple times for her! I really loved following her through all the polictical schemes and intrigues and the mystery and I think she is a great main character.
The world was really well done and while I do have some little things here and there that bugged me, overall I really enjoyed the story and there were certain bits that I really appreciated as well that I can’t talk more about because they happen later in the book. I was also surprised at how the ending went but I think it fits the story quite well.
There was an issue with I think Joan He’s US publsiher not paying her or taking the books of shelves when the rights reverted back to her, so maybe buy the UK copies if you can to make sure you’re actually supporting her
Buy it here:
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What are some of your favourite fantasy books written by asian authors? Please recommend me some!