Ever since I was a little kid, and my family hosted Japanese students, I’ve had a special place in my heart for Asian culture. My Japanese “big brothers” introduced me to a new world of sweeping calligraphy, honor-driven samurai, and mythical creatures unlike any I had seen in western fairy tales. I think that’s why when I set out to write my first book, Moonburner, the Asian-inspired setting felt right. If you’re like me, and can never have enough Asian-inspired fantasy in your life, try some of these favorites!
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Cinder, by Marissa Meyer
This one-of-a-kind fairytale retelling imagines Cinderella as a cyborg on the mean streets of New Beijing. This book has it all—handsome princes, evil space queens, deadly plagues…this sci-fi future will be unlike anything you’ve ever read.
A Mortal Song, by Megan Crewe
This book set on the slopes of Mt. Fuji turns typical YA tropes on their head. Sora is a kami, a magical Japanese spirit who is fated to protect her people and all Japan from a ruthless horde of demons. Or is she? It turns out she’s really a human switched at birth with no magical powers at all! Dun dun dunnnn…
Serpentine, by Cindy Pon
This sweeping tale is set in the kingdom of Xia, and tells the story of Skybright, a handmaiden to a wealthy girl, who begins to notice some very alarming changes (cough *snake-tail* cough). Filled with Chinese mythology and magic, Skybright’s story of transformation will enchant you!
Stormdancer, by Jay Kristoff
This steampunk fantasy follows Yukiko on an impossible journey to capture a legendary beast thought to be extinct. The lush worldbuilding and snappy dialogue between Yukiko and a certain not-to-be-named-cuz-I-don’t-want-to-spoil-it character makes this one a favorite!
Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart
This hilarious book tells the tale of wise man Li Kao and Number Ten Ox (you read that right) as they try to find the cure for a mysterious illness. Irreverent and charming, I promise this medieval mystery is unlike anything you’ve read before.
Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
This art-deco-steampunk graphic novel is just flipping gorgeous! It tells the story of Maika, a teenage girl struggling to understand the trauma of war and her psychic link with a monster of deadly power. With 11 volumes currently out, this one will keep you happy for days!
Shadows on the Moon, by Zoe Marriott
Is romance more your thing? This book is touted as Cinderella meets Memoirs of a Geisha, and features 16-year-old Suzume, who is trained in the mythical art of shadow-weaving, which allows her to recreate herself in any form. Full of mystery, illusion, and heart-break, this book is haunting and heart-wrenching in one go.
Eon: Dragon-eye reborn, by Alison Goodman
Lovers of dragons and epic fantasy will be delighted by this read, which features Eona, who has disguised herself as a boy in order to become trained in dragon-magic. Will she find her dream, or her doom?
The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadows, by Fuyumi Ono
Translated from the original Japanese, the blurb for this one says it all: Once confronted by a mysterious being and whisked away to an unearthly realm, Yoko is left with only a magical sword; a gem; and a million questions about her destiny, the world she’s trapped in, and the world she desperately wants to return to. If you want truly inspired Asian fantasy, look no further than this series!
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Julie Dao
Releasing October 2017, this much-anticipated debut features Xifeng, who must choose between a destiny full of dark magic and the boy she loves. Definitely don’t miss this one when it launches!
Moonburner, by Claire Luana
Ok, I’m a little biased, but I thought I’d sneak this one in here! Mulan meets Sarah J Maas in this thrilling tale filled with celestial magic, death-defying adventure, and enduring friendships. Check it out!
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