Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I have some diverse fantasy recommendations to share. For years diversity has been an issue when it comes to books and that is also the case with the fantasy genre. Traditional medieval European settings and white protagonists have been at the forefront of many books, as well as being written by mostly white people. Today I want to share some fantasy books that are a little different. These books have diverse cast of characters, a non-Western setting and/or a diverse author. Let’s get started.
The Beast Player / Nahoko Uehashi
Originally published in Japan in 2006, this book was translated into English and published by Pushkin Press this year. Heavily influenced with Japanese mythology, this is a fantastic fantasy book with a great cast of characters and compelling story. Although targeted towards YA readers, I think this book can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages. It follows a young girl called Elin as her world collapses around her after her mother is killed.
Twelve Kings / Bradley Beaulieu
This is the first book in a six book epic fantasy series called the Songs of the Shattered Sand. Set in a bustling desert city, this is far from your typical Western setting and that is one of my favourite things about this book. The world is incredible, the characters are wonderfully written and the story is compelling. The first book is quite dense but stick with it because this series is well worth the concentration. The next book in the series is With Blood Upon the Sand.
The Grace of Kings / Ken Liu
Written by a Chinese-American author, this is the first book in the Dandelion Dynasty trilogy. It is set on the fictional archipelago of Dara and it is based around Ancient China. We follow a range of different characters throughout the 623 pages and although it can be a little confusing at first to keep track of everyone, the author does a great job at creating distinct perspectives.
Echoes of the Fallen trilogy / Adrian Tchaikovsky
Set in a world that is split into clans, it contain a mass of different people and cultures. Each clan have a different way of life and different beliefs, which means that this world is incredibly diverse. Throughout the three books we learn more of these different cultures and this makes it such an enjoyable read. Each clan is represent by an animal and members of these clans can ‘step’ into their animal. I loved that even in human form they retain some of their animals mannerisms.
The Black Tides of Heaven / JY Yang
Written by a Singaporean author who identifies as non-binary and queer, this is the first in the series of Tensorate novellas. In this book all children are born as non-binary until a confirmation when they are older where they choose what they want to be. The world has East Asian influences and is an interesting part of this novella. The characters are well written, if a little underdeveloped due to the size of the book. This book is well worth checking out, if you are looking for diverse fantasy reads. The companion novella is The Red Threads of Fortune.
The Sword of Kaigen / M. L. Wang
This is a Japanese inspired military fantasy standalone, which is also self published. I recently read this and absolutely loved it. The world is intricately built; the language, honorifics, clothing, hierarchy etc. are all so well written and I loved that technology we are familiar with (eg. TVs) are a part of this world. Overall this is a fantastic book and I cannot recommend it enough.
Diverse fantasy TBR:
The Rage of Dragons / Evan Winter / African setting
Upon a Burning Throne / Ashok K. Banker / Indian influences
Gates of Stone / Angus Macallan / Indonesiaman influences
Beneath the Twisted Tree / book 4 of the Song of Shattered Sea series / Bradley Beaulieu
That’s all for today. I think it is so important to read from a wide range of authors and from a wide range of perspectives, so I hope this post has been helpful. These are only five suggestions of diverse fantasy – I am sure I have missed some. I definitely plan on reading more diverse fantasy in the future, so I’d love to know if you have any recommendations for me. Have you read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.