Non-Western Fantasy

Drew's Picks

The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty #1) Cover Image
By Ken Liu
ISBN: 9781481424288
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - August 9th, 2016

The Grace of Kings might be one of my favorite books that I have ever read. I adore this book and I knew when I started working on this blog post that I would be talking about this book. In fact this book may have been the inspiration for this blog post.
So what is this book about?
The Grace Of Kings is the story of Kuni Garu and his sword brother Mata Zyndu as they fight to bring order from the chaos of the world around them falling apart thanks the apathy and self-centeredness of the ruling class.
Its also a story about vengeance. The vengeance of a woman who wants to be more than the world allows, the vengeance of a man who is jealous that he is not seen and the vengeance of a man that wants to save his way of life.
Oh and also it’s a story about the gods in an Iliad like conflict as they choose their champions from the nations that worship them .
This book is inspired heavily by the founding of the Han and the Chu-Han contention and it is fantastic. With unique story telling style and characters that are heroes and villains often at the same time, I cannot express enough how much I love this book.
So if you want to read a better written Game Of Thrones, if you want to read about Mata Zyndu and his sword Ender of Doubts and his club Goremaw, if you want to read about Mongolians riding dragons (the sequel) then this books is for you! If you want to read a book that leaves you simultaneously needing to turn the page and dreading doing just that then this book is for you. If you want to feel breathless and light, like a dandelion on the wind, then this book is for you.

The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062678119
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - July 3rd, 2018

City of Brass is a terribly fun book set in 18th century Egypt and stars a young con-woman who makes her money grifting the gullible. Nahri’s life may not be the easiest but she does have routine. Find someone who she can “Heal”, chant a little impressive sounding nonsense, and then run before the “patient’s” family gets wise!
That all changes when one day Nahri ends up accidently summoning a real-life Djinn named Dara and he fills her in on a few things. Namely that by bringing him here Nahri has endangered herself and they need to run now while they still can before it’s too late.
Dara plans to take Nahri to his home of Daevabad to keep her safe, however Nahri will be thrust into a world of palace intrigue with immortal beings, what could go wrong…
If you’re looking for something new and want to explore a whole new world of middle eastern mythology then this book is the one for you.

Staff Pick Badge
The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316489775
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - March 10th, 2020

Oh The Rage of Dragons, I honestly think this book is an opportunity for everyone to get in on the ground floor of something big. I mean it. You guys could be one of the cool people who gets to talk about how you read it before the show.
But what is this books about you ask?
Well let me answer your question with a question of my own. Do you want to read about Dragons, warriors that can turn themselves into giants and a man who’s driven to vengeance after everything is taken from him? Then you may like this book.
In a world that borrows heavily from African (specifically Xhosa)  myth the story focuses on Tau’s quest for vengeance ( a vengeance that is well earned) against the Omehi, his own people. This book discusses colonization from both the colonizers point of view and the native’s and manages to have multiple characters straddle the line between these view points.
If you like Enders Game, Gladiator and Spartacus AND you though they could all use Dragons then this book is for you.

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781492623168
Availability: Not In Stock - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks Fire - August 1st, 2017

I have to be honest, when this books was suggested to me I had my concerns. In general I tend not to really enjoy reading books that are told in first person. However when it comes to Labyrinth Lost I was hooked right from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down.
Labyrinth Lost is the story of a young Bruja named named Alex as she struggles with the fact that while she has magic, she actively hates it. She hates it so much in fact that she wanted nothing to do with her Death Day and tries to use a spell that will strip her of her magic, instead it ends up vanishing her family.
Now Alex has to travel with another Bruja named Roja and Rishi who is more than they seem in an attempt to save her family.
I adore this book! It’s funny, smart, it has a ton of heart and I adore the fact that this book tackles how tricky family can be. So often we see families as either wonderful or terrible, there is no middle ground. Families in the real world are complex and it’s so refreshing to see a book that explores what it’s like to reject your families expectations without also rejecting them.

Deathless Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765326317
Availability: Not In Stock - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - February 14th, 2012

Full disclosure should be made when it comes to this book, I have a real love for Russian mythology and Russia in general. In college I came remarkably close to becoming a Russian history major until the language tripped me up (Cyrillic proved to be my downfall.) 

Point being this book first drew me in with it’s name and not it’s premise or the author’s impressive talent for writing. However both of those things kept me around and combined to become one of the more enjoyable reading experiences I have had.
Deathless is a reference to an old Russian folk villain, Koschei the Deathless, and this is his story. Or more accurately this is his wife’s story and oh my god I adore it.
The story takes place from the Russian revolution to the depredations of the battle of Leningrad and it is beautiful, tragic, and heartbreakingly Russian.

Marya Morvena can see magic, all the little sprites and fairies that inhabit her world and this brings her to the attention of Koschei the deathless. He wins her love and makes her his bride (after Baba Yaga deems her ready) and then she meets Ivan.
I don’t want to spoil the rest of this story but the language is beautiful, Catherynne Valente is a brilliant writer and I cannot gush enough about this painful gorgeous story. If you want to feel something beautifully heartbreaking then this book is for you.