I love that more and more diverse books by marginalized authors are coming out, but we haven’t reached a point where publishing is truly diverse. As an international blogger, I adopted this cause as my own at the start of the year and have been pushing as many diverse books as I can on my blog and bookish social media. However, I feel a certain kinship with Asian books because I can see more of myself on the page in them. So, this year I’ve been focusing on reading as many Asian books as I can and I want to talk about some of my recent reads as well as some that are on my TBR. I love retellings and I’ve recently read some amazing Asian ones, so I decided to recommend my favourites as well as highlight the myths behind them.
1. A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna
Myth: The Mahabharata (Indian)
This is a sci-fi novel that became an instant favourite because of the way the author took a story that was an integral part of my childhood.
2. Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao
Myth: Tam and Cam (Vietnamese)
A recent favourite, this is the companion book to Dao’s dark debut, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and features several Asian myths that play an important part in the plot, of which Tam and Cam, the Vietnamese Cinderella story, is one.
3. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Myth: Kitsune (Japanese)
This is an action-packed fantasy story based on feudal Japan and the main character is a half-Kitsune who can shape-shift.
4. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Myth: Gumiho (Korean)
A middle grade high-concept sci-fi in which the female lead, Minh, is a nine-tailed fox in disguise as a human and sets out into the Thousand Worlds in search of her brother.
5. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Myth: Inspired by Malaysian mythology and culture
This features a sapphic romance and has rich world-building that is inspired by a mix of several Asian cultures and mythologies that are prominent influences in Malaysia.
Books Recommended by the Community
6. The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Myth: Djinn (Arabian)
Recommended by: Joce
7. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee
Myth: Journey to the West (Chinese)
Recommended by: CW
8. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Myth: Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf (Russian)
Recommended by: Simant
9. The Hour of Daydreams by Renee M. Rutledge
Myth: The Star Maidens (Filipino)
Recommended by: Jocelyn
10. Damascus Nights by Rafik Schami
Myth: One Thousand and One Nights (Syrian)
Recommended by: Shenwei