Top Ten Tuesday: Indian-Inspired Fantasies

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. How it works is that each Tuesday the host assigns a topic and then posts their top ten list that fits the topic. Every blogger can create their own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well and link to the host’s. The topic for March 27th, 2018 is: Books That Take Place In Another Country. Since pretty much every book I read takes place in a country other than India, I decided to change up the prompt and talk about the books that take place in a fictionalized version on my country. I haven’t loved all of the books on this list, so keep in mind that this isn’t a favourites list. Plus I haven’t read a lot of them, so it is limited to 5 today.

TTT 3_27_18

1. The Hundredth Queen series by Emily R. King

From the infamous booths to the beautiful sarees featured on the cover, this series borrows quite a lot from Indian culture. Although I liked the Indian elements incorporated into the story, I wasn’t a fan of the characters and was a little uncomfortable with the direction the story took. However, this was more an issue of personal preference than a problem with the book itself, so I’d still recommend it to people who likeΒ a story set in a magical world inspired by Indian culture, having a tournament as the main plot and featuring elemental magic.

2. The Daevabad trilogy by S. A. Chakraborty

This is a book that has inspired severely divided opinions even among the bookish people I follow. I personally really enjoyed it for the most part as pacing isn’t a major issue for me, especially in first books in a series that introduce a new world to the reader. It was a great setup for the rest of the series and also ended on quite the cliffhanger. What I loved most about it was that the author based it on real historical events, preserved the complexity of the political climate and presented it in a respectful and tasteful manner.

3. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Not my favourite on the list but the setting is inspired by ancient Kashmir and the author has done a brilliant job of incorporating that into the story. I do have a full review up (click here to check it out), but for a TL; DR version, great setting, meh characters and plot.

4. The Star-Touched Queen series by Roshani Chokshi

I have read every story in the series (including the novella) and it’s interesting because I loved the second book but thought the first one was mediocre. However, Roshani has some of the most interesting ideas and the cultural representation is amazing because #ownvoices. Her books come with an auto-approval from me!

5. The Poison’s Kiss series by Breeana Shields

Definitely my least favourite on the list and probably because I was quite offended by the Indian elements incorporated into the story. I also read this first and I was not in a position to appreciate the unique spin the author had put on what is so near and dear to me. A lot of other people found it more agreeable than I did, so I wouldn’t give this one a miss solely based on my opinion.


If you had to pick the best book you’ve read set in a re-imagined version of your country, which would it be? Let me know in the comments section below.

26 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Indian-Inspired Fantasies

    1. Yay! I can’t wait for you to read it and to discuss it with you. πŸ™‚ It is exquisitely written even if I didn’t connect with the characters all that much. There’s a snarky talking horse in it that I think you’ll quite enjoy!

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    1. I should be sorry to be adding to your already crazy TBR, but I don’t feel the least but guilty. πŸ˜‚ I’m sorry I’ve been out of the commenting game lately, I’ll surely catch up with your blog and Booktube channel as soon as I can. πŸ™‚

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  1. I know nothing about Indian element in Poison’s Kiss. If I will read it I will try to look out for any elements that might recall a sterotype or being offensive.
    Also I got that City of Brass was inspired by Arabia foklore but I probably got confused. Good to know, anyway! About King’s book I read a lot of negative reviews on Goodreads how much this was bad and so the representation. But is interesting that you kinda like it, even if a bit.

    I loved Chokshi novel! I just read the first novel and I’m missing the rest but I fell in love with the style. While the story ins’t really my thing, I managed to fell for it too!

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    1. The Poison’s Kiss isn’t exactly offensive, but it was one of the first books by a white author that had Indian elements and it took a lot of things out of context I feel. For example, a mythological bird was turned into some other animal but had the same name, so it really confused and annoyed me. I thought if the author was going to change that, she might as well have researched and chosen the appropriate word for it, you know? But since then I’ve grown to accept that authors not of my culture would be more likely to make that mistake, which is why I was much more forgiving with King’s The Hundredth Queen. The problem I had with this one was more that I didn’t like how the story progressed.

      The City of Brass is inspired by Arabian folklore, but that’s only for the tribe that Alizayd is from (I forgot what they call themselves). The word ‘daeva’ and the tribe of ‘daeva’, from which the other warrior djinn Dara is from, is very much taken from Hindu mythology and I think represents the Hindu culture of that historical time.

      I’m so glad you liked Roshani’s writing! πŸ™‚ She has a new middle grade book out and I cannot wait for payday to get my hands on it!

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  2. I second your recommendations on Roshani Chokshi’s novels. πŸ˜‰ My choices are flip-flopped, though (I prefer The Star-Touched Queen over A Crown of Wishes), but I would read her future novels in a heartbeat.

    The only other India-centric novels I’ve read are historical fiction: Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran (takes place during British colonial rule of India), and Faint Promise of Rain by Anjali Mitter Duva (my favorite of the two, and it takes place in 16th century Rajasthan). Would you open to either even though they’re not in your favorite genre?

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    1. Would you be trying her new middle grade book, Aru Shah and the End of Time? Personally I’m very excited to see what she does with the story. πŸ™‚
      I am trying to incorporate more historical fiction into my reading and those two sound like good places to start. Thanks for the recommendations, Sara! πŸ™‚

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  3. I actually can’t think of a book in a re-imagined version of my country. I’m in Antigua, in the Caribbean, so I, too, had to take a different spin on this prompt. I decided to do Caribbean authors writing books in a country other than their own (and ended up listing books set in the Dominican Republic, England, the US by way of New York, Dominica, Jamaica, and one that was continent jumping but ended up in Switzerland)…and then I also did a short list (so more than 10) of non-Caribbean authors doing the same thing (and ended up listing books set in Japan, France, Holland, Burma – it was not yet Myanmar at the time of the story, and, again, England). Sadly, India isn’t on my list so I especially enjoyed reading your post. My most recent read set there was Nectar in a Sieve; I’ve read a few others but not a lot. Clearly I need to do better. The Star-Touched Queen seems like a good place to start based on your reviews.

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  4. For a re-imagined version of my country, I’d probably pick This Savage Song. The dystopian-like world is chilling and inventive. There are other books I like that begin where I live and then lead off into the faery realm or some other world, but I’m not sure they’d count. πŸ™‚

    I’m looking forward to your review on Aru Shah! The premise sounds good, and I’d like a good middle-grade read right now.

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    1. I’ve heard only good things about This Savage Song. I’m definitely going to start that soon since I loved Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy. πŸ™‚
      I hope I get to read it soon! I have been craving some good MG recently too. 😁


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  6. I really want to read all of these, especially City of Brass since I’ve heard so many great things about it! I’m also very curious about The Star-Touched Queen – I’ve seen mixed reviews about this one, but I still think I might enjoy it.
    Thank you for the list! ❀

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  7. I struggle to come-up with a Swedish example but the Moomintroll series (from Finland) feels true from a Swedish perspective too (author was from the Swedish speaking minority in Finland and there is generally a quite large cultural overlap between the Nordic countries).

    The Moomintroll books may describe supposedly fantastical creatures but in them you always recognize the quirks of actual people you’ve met, they sometimes feels even more true than a more realistic novel would. They are lovely and funny and I really should go and reread some of them soon…

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    1. You have mentioned this before, I believe. They sound fantastic, and I hope I can get my hands on an English version soon! πŸ™‚ I love reading fantasy inspired by different cultures and would love to read some Nordic-inspired ones. Currently I’ve had my eye on Children of Blood and Bone, which is inspired by West-African culture. πŸ™‚

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      1. I may have made it my mission to recommend Tove Jansson and Astrid Lindgren as often as possible πŸ™‚ Ronia the Robber’s Daughter (by Astrid Lindgren) is also Nordic inspired fantasy, although technically a children’s book I believe it works for all ages (although as a Swedish person I’m obliged to love everything by Astrid Lindgren so I might be biased…)

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    1. I’m yet to read anything by Marie Lu, which is a real shame, but I’ve heard such good things about this series. I believe there’s going to be some continuation now? I’m very interested to check it out, so thanks for the positive review. 😊

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