Top 5 Books with Asian Settings I Want to Read

Screenshot_2019-08-03-00-21-45-2This Top 5 series started back in October and I kind of lost motivation for making it every week. But it’s back! This is a series of books that I want to read that all have a common theme. Previously on the blog I have focused on witches, werewolves, thrillers, faeries, fairy tale re-tellings, high fantasy and many more. I am going to try and bring this series back for every Saturday.

The upcoming schedule is:

8/3/19 – Books with Asian Settings

8/10/19– Books about Assassins

8/17/19 – Books with Found Families

8/24/19 — Books about Dragons

8/31/19 — Books with a Road Trip


  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

Asian Settings

When I first came up with this prompt I thought it was going to be super easy to come up with a ton of titles because so many fantasies that I really want to read are inspired by Asian culture, but I realized that few of them were actually set in Asia. It took me a minute to figure out which books that I wanted to read were actually set in Asian and not a fantasy world inspired by Asia, but once I did I wound up with a giant list of titles and had a hard time narrowing it down to only 5 books. (I seem to have this issue every single week!) I absolutely love Asian culture and love cultural fantasies. My absolute favorite book set in Asia is probably The Candle and the Flame which was set on the Silk Road and it was so culturally immersive. (Check out my review here!) I feel like I get to learn more about the different cultures through these books and that is wonderful. I love reading diverse novels and with the Year of the Asian reading challenge going on this year I’ve gotten a lot of great book recommendations that would fit for this post!


91wSeF0It0L.jpgShadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

I loved Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules so much. It’s one of my favorite vampire novels and it was also inspired by Japanese culture. I have wanted to read some of her other novels ever since. I have both a finished copy and an eARC of this book and I still haven’t read it. The main character is half kitsune, which is kind of like a fox person, and I am really excited because foxes are my spirit animal or what I would expect my Patronus to be.

51gwVUIRJhL._SX349_BO1,204,203,200_Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

When I was a kid there was a baby white tiger at a zoo that I visited on a field trip and I have loved them ever since. I also love the idea of an Indian curse and this epic fantasy seems amazing, but also super underrated.

91K2fiVJgkL.jpgFlame in the Mist by Renée Ahdeih

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

I have heard nothing but amazing things about all of Renée Ahdeih’s books and have wanted to check them out for a while now. This one is set in feudal Japan and has an arranged marriage, samurais, magic, family obligations and love. Apparently Japanese history mixes with the magic and the characters are supposed to be amazing.

32702487._SY475_.jpgThe Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

As a slave in the Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom … until the kingdom is conquered by enemy forces and she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into a hopeless love.

Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die.

Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of … even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.

The Bird and the Blade is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from debut author Megan Bannen.

This book sounds absolutely fascinating. A love story between a slave and a prince, riddles involved in the plot and it’s set in the Mongol Empire. I am a sucker for forbidden romance and I absolutely love when a book incorporates puzzles or riddles into the plot. I’ve also heard that this book is an emotional read and might just rip my heart out. Is it terrible that hearing that just makes me want to read it even more?

31248158._SY475_.jpgSeven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Almada and Valynne E Maetani

Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil

This book is set in heavily inspired by Japanese mythology and I am so excited for it. The plot kind of reminds me of Deathnote which I really loved. I couldn’t help but pick this up as it has a main character who is bullied, demons, a kitsune boy and a fight against good and evil. I just got my copy from Edelweiss and I am super excited to read and review this one.

After writing this post and picking the top 5 books that I’m most excited for it seems that I am most interested in the books that are set in Japan. It makes sense though, because I’ve always found Japanese culture incredibly fascinating.



Lauren @ Northern Plunder

Milana @ A Couple Reads

Julianna @ Paper Blots

Mari @ Musings of a Book Girl

Tessa @ Tea Reads

Raquel @ Bookishly Nerdy

If I haven’t tagged you and you want to join please feel free to join! You can join every week or just for a specific topic. The more the merrier!

Check out other book blogger’s top 5!

Roo @ By the 100th Page — Top 5 Books I Want to Read with Asian Settings

Susan @ Novel Lives — Saturday Tag – Top 5 Books Set in Asia I Want to Read or Have Read

Leelyn @ Sometimes Leelyn Reads — Top 5 Saturday Books with an Asian Setting

Alys @ Alys in Bookland – Top 5 Books with Asian Settings that I Want to Read

Dini @ Dini Panda Reads — Top 5 Saturday – Books with Asian Settings

Louise @ Foxes and Fairy Tales Book Blog — Top 5 Books with Asian Settings

Sailor @ A Wicked Reader — Top 5 Books with Asian Settings on my TBR


Let’s Chat!

What is your favorite things about Asian settings? Do you love cultural novels? What are some of your favorite books with Asian settings? Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I put at the top of my TBR? Make sure to comment below so we can talk about books with Asian settings!

40 thoughts on “Top 5 Books with Asian Settings I Want to Read

Add yours

  1. Ooh I love shadow of the fox! And I have the ebook of tiger’s curse, which I really should pick up at some point!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omgosh yay! Someone else who loves The Immortal Rules! Literally the books that got me back into reading! Have you read The Lanterns Ember by Coleen Houck? Such a autumny, beautiful tale! And yes!!!! Seven Deadly Shadows! I need that book! So up my street. Also, if it’s anything like Deathnote I am there for it! I read A Flame In The Mist and I got nothing out of it… which made me so sad because the premise was everything! I hope you enjoy more than me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not read The Lantern’s Ember… I don’t even think it’s on my TBR. I will have to look it up! Sad to hear you didn’t love A Flame in the Mist 😦 hopefully I enjoy it more than you did. As for Seven Deadly Shadows…. I am so grateful I have an ecopy! It’s on Edelweiss if you’re dying to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I could have sworn Shadow of the Fox was a sequel to something I haven’t read yet and that’s why I didn’t pick it up? Other than Seven Deadly Shadows and SOTF I don’t know any of these books and feel like I should go crawl under a rock??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Japanese culture has always been my favorite but I think I’m biased because I’m part Japanese. I’ve just always have found it fascinating as well! Although I did love learning about ancient Chinese culture as well when I took that class in college. I love this list so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have learned a bit about Chinese culture and really liked what I learned. Japanese culture is extraordinarily fascinating to me though, especially how the culture feels about family, respect and honor. I love reading cultural fantasies and am always looking for more!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love a great own voices fantasy. I will pick up cultural titles that aren’t own voices too though, but in my experiences the own voices ones tend to be the ones that are very cultural and the most enlightening.

        Liked by 1 person

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