3 Adult Fantasy Novels Inspired by Chinese History and Myths
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States and Asian Heritage Month in Canada. If you’re looking for more ways to learn about API history, culture, and achievements, you might turn to fiction and non-fiction books. There are many great lists out there if you want to learn more. I’m sharing three of my recent fantasy reads to help you find fantasy books written by authors in the API community.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Shelley Parker-Chan’s novel is historical fantasy and falls into the category of alternate history. It retells the story of the Hongwu Emperor’s rise to power in 14th century China. Zhu Chongba is foretold in a prophecy to achieve greatness, but he dies. His sister assumes his identity and goes to study at a Buddhist monastery, where she begins to plot the path to her greatness. The other storyline follows Ouyang, the eunuch general trying to avenge his family. The novel explores the themes of who gets to be a hero and a villain, diasporic identity, and gender.
“However tired I am, however hard it is: I know I can keep going, because I’m alive.”
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
Sue Lynn Tan’s novel is a retelling of the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess. It’s a romantic epic fantasy that follows the daughter of Chang’e, Xingyin, after she must leave her mother. Growing up on the moon, Xingyin didn’t know her mother was exiled and only found out when her power flared, forcing her to flee when the Celestial Empress visited. She ends up in the Celestial Kingdom, alone, powerless, and afraid, but vows to return to the moon one day and free her mother. During her quest, she falls in love, confronts legendary creatures, and must face the most powerful immortal in the realm. Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a fast-paced tale of love and loss by a debut author adorned with a beautiful cover.
“Some scars are carved into our bones — a part of who we are, shaping what we become.”