Genre Exploration: Silk Road Fantasy

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for another genre exploration post and for this post I’m going to talk about silk road fantasy. This sub-genre is a fairly new one but it’s personally one of my favourites, so here we are. 

 


 
As I understand it, any fantasy book that is set outside of Europe, in particular Asia and the middle east can be considered silk road fantasy. It can also include books set in a fantasy world with influences from our own world. Typically the magic system will be linked to the myths/folklore of the area the book is based on, so it will have influences from Asian lore. I have a lot of East Asian inspired favourites to share, but I haven’t read a whole lot of fantasy influenced by the Middle East. 

 


The Songs of the Shattered Sands series / 6 books / Bradley Beaulieu

Set in the bustling desert city of Sharakai, this is an epic fantasy series that follows a young woman called Çeda. At the time of writing this post, there are three books out with the fourth being released in a few months. I have read and loved each of the released books and I cannot wait to see how things progress in the rest of the series. It did take me a little while to get into the first book but stick with it because it is definitely worth it. Check out my full review here.


The Dandelion Dynasty trilogy / Ken Liu

With influences from Ancient China, this is an epic fantasy trilogy. The first two books of this trilogy are released, but there is no release date or cover for the third and final book. If you enjoy fantasy with plenty of intrigue then you need to check this trilogy out. Check out my full review here.


Under Heaven / Guy Gavriel Kay

This is a historical fantasy book set in an alternate eighth century China during the Tang Dynasty. This was one of my favourite books from 2018 and I will take every opportunity to talk about it. Check out my full review here.


The Sword of Kaigen / M. L. Wang

This is a self published fantasy standalone, influenced by Japanese folklore. I read this earlier this year and it is now one of my all time favourite books. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Check out my full review here.


The Beast Player / Nahoko Uehashi

Originally written in Japanese, this edition is translated by Cathy Hirano and was published in 2018 by Pushkin Press. This was one of my favourite books of 2018 and I will recommend it at every opportunity. I have a full review, which you can check out here. Her Moribito series is also well worth a read.


Fudoki / Kij Johnson

Another of my all time favourite books, this one is set in 12th century Japan. It follows the story of Harueme, an ageing princess, and Kagya-hime, a warrior cat-woman. I first read this back in 2016 and I am still taking every opportunity to recommend it. Check out my full review here.


More examples of silk road fantasy:
River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay, The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho, Never Die by Rob J. Hayes, The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim, Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa, The Initiate Brother duology by Sean Russell, the Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, The Tale of Shikanoko series by Lian Hearn and Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean.


That’s it for today. I hope you guys like this post – I quite enjoy putting them all together. Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what you thought. I’d also love to know if you have any silk road fantasy recommendations for me. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

 

Pippa

 

 

 


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