I love Asian-themed fantasy, especially when it’s ON SALE! Whether it’s inspired by historical events like R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War or it dissects the warrior culture of an analogue of Japan like M. L. Wang’s The Sword of Kaigen, whether it mythologises heroes like Rob J. Hayes’s Never Die or it offers a meeting point between western fantasy tropes and Chinese culture like J. C. Kang’s Thorn of the Night Blossoms, Asian-themed fantasy never ceases to capture my imagination; which is why I’ve decided to not only offer you my recommendations for these three latter books but also to share with you which of the twenty other novels are after my own heart!
Thorn of the Night Blossoms by J. C. Kang
Fantastic action, an intriguing main character, ninety pages I lost myself in, in the span of two hour. I spoke about it at length here, but if you don’t want to read an entire review, I’ve also put in an excerpt below:
Thorn of the Night Blossoms is an excellent introduction to a world that’s beautiful and hideous in equal parts. This is best illustrated by “The Floating Wind”, the finest among many houses of pleasure both in its riches and in its finely trained girls. But the splendour and finery hide a cutthroat world of flesh peddling, information trade and manipulations both physical and magical in nature. The women of “The Floating Wind” are trained in the art of seduction from young girls but that’s far from the only skillset they learn; from a secret sign language to a myriad of abilities that would make a ninja blush, both in combat and outside it.
The Sword of Kaigen by M. L. Wang
I’ve spoken about this book a whole lot — I even did a fair amount of work trying to deconstruct its characters and the relationships between them, all of which can be found here. The most important thing you can gather from that long, long review above, is this: The Sword of Kaigen is one of the finest novels I’ve read, and my favourite standalone of 2019.
Never Die by Rob J. Hayes
Rob J. Hayes is a swell guy! He works hard every month to make his lists of upcoming Self-Published fantasy novels, he looks real great in a gambeson and…oh, yeah, he writes really damn well! Here’s what I had to say for Never Die when I read it at the dawn of 2019:
The band of heroes and anti-heroes in Rob’s latest novel… I love them to life! A statement strange enough, I confess, until you read Never Die’s blurb:Time is up for the Emperor of Ten Kings and it falls to a murdered eight-year-old boy to render the judgement of a God. Ein knows he can’t do it alone, but the empire is rife with heroes. The only problem; in order to serve, they must first die. Ein has four legendary heroes in mind, names from storybooks read to him by his father. Now he must find them and kill them…
In that sense, my love for these heroes is strong enough to bring them back to life. But I am getting ahead of myself. Never Die’s heroes are as different from one another as you might expect from Hayes, if you’ve experienced his previous work. First among these heroes is Itami Cho, known far and wide through the land of Wuxia as Whispering Blade. Itami is an honour-bound warrior of great prowess, whose great fault stems from ever-present guilt — no matter the oaths she swears, Itami lives to see them turn to dust. She has only ever managed to keep one of her vows; to keep the second of her blades sheathed, no matter what comes. The mystery of that sword is one the author takes his sweet time building up, and its pay-off is…well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the revelations coming your way.
What I’m picking up from the Sale
My First Pick
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Now that’s a tough one.
*Glances at the covers. Eyes glue to one cover in particular.*
Okay. Breathe. Right, this is Rebirth of the Undead King and I’ve never seen its cover, nor have I ever heard of it before. Let’s see the synopsis!
No one can escape death forever.
When Zaros finds the remains of a fallen god, he seizes upon the opportunity to exact revenge on the monarchy of his kingdom.
However, having a former god as his teacher will force him to confront the dark nature of not only society, but himself.
Struggling against his inner-demons, Zaros must make a choice.
To uphold his ideals or embrace the legacy of his benefactor.
Rebirth of the Undead King is a grimdark fantasy novel with cultivation elements following the tradition of novels like Overlord, Dungeon Defense, and Will Wight’s Cradle series. Join the legend.
Okay. Fallen gods, a reference to Will Wight’s Cradle series which I know of and have on my Kindle but have yet to read, as well as of Overlord. Alright, I think we’ve found my first pick! I’m sold!
Now, let’s take another look at the remaining 19, eh?
My Second Pick
Oi! There’s a many-tailed fox!
Okay, I’ll let you in on a little secret, I absolutely love foxes. The intersection they’re placed at in Japanese culture – that’s completely fascinating to me, and I’ve watched dozens of anime with fox spirit protagonists, antagonists, side characters and so on. I’ve read some of the legends, I even own a game or three. Foxes are awesome. No regrets in picking this up!
One last pick, I think, is in order? I’ve read three of the novels on sale — there’s some symmetry in picking up three more!
My Third Pick
…is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty!
What if Sleeping Beauty was a martial artist?
For a hundred years, Princess Morning Light has meditated in a hidden temple surrounded by ten thousand thorns. Could her long-lost sword skill be the key to stopping the Vastly Martial Emperor?
Rebel leader Clouded Sky doesn’t believe in the old legends of Ten Thousand Thorns Temple. But as bounty hunters and imperial guards close in, the martial princess may be Clouded Sky’s last hope.
Who can he trust – and who is planning to betray him?
Yup, that sounds right up my alley.
These are my picks for the sale! How about you? Anything pique your curiosity yet? Once again, the full sale you can find here. Tell me about which of these novels sounds best to you in the comments below, or reach out on Twitter! Thanks for reading!