10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings

I love that more and more diverse books by marginalized authors are coming out, but we haven’t reached a point where publishing is truly diverse. As an international blogger, I adopted this cause as my own at the start of the year and have been pushing as many diverse books as I can on my blog and bookish social media. However, I feel a certain kinship with Asian books because I can see more of myself on the page in them. So, this year I’ve been focusing on reading as many Asian books as I can and I want to talk about some of my recent reads as well as some that are on my TBR. I love retellings and I’ve recently read some amazing Asian ones, so I decided to recommend my favourites as well as highlight the myths behind them.

10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

Books Recommended by Me

1. A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

Myth: The Mahabharata (Indian)

This is a sci-fi novel that became an instant favourite because of the way the author took a story that was an integral part of my childhood.

2. Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Myth: Tam and Cam (Vietnamese)

A recent favourite, this is the companion book to Dao’s dark debut, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and features several Asian myths that play an important part in the plot, of which Tam and Cam, the Vietnamese Cinderella story, is one.

10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings 1-2 | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (collage)

3. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Myth: Kitsune (Japanese)

This is an action-packed fantasy story based on feudal Japan and the main character is a half-Kitsune who can shape-shift.

4. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Myth: Gumiho (Korean)

A middle grade high-concept sci-fi in which the female lead, Minh, is a nine-tailed fox in disguise as a human and sets out into the Thousand Worlds in search of her brother.

10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings 3-4 | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (collage)

5. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Myth: Inspired by Malaysian mythology and culture

This features a sapphic romance and has rich world-building that is inspired by a mix of several Asian cultures and mythologies that are prominent influences in Malaysia.

10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings 5 | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

Books Recommended by the Community

6. The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Myth: Djinn (Arabian)

Recommended by: Joce

7. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee

Myth: Journey to the West (Chinese)

Recommended by: CW

10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings 6-7 | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (collage)

8. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Myth: Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf (Russian)

Recommended by: Simant

9. The Hour of Daydreams by Renee M. Rutledge

Myth: The Star Maidens (Filipino)

Recommended by: Jocelyn

10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings 8-9 | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (collage)

10. Damascus Nights by Rafik Schami

Myth: One Thousand and One Nights (Syrian)

Recommended by: Shenwei

10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings 10 | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

Let's discuss (blog graphic)
Do you like retellings? Which are your favourite? What other Asian retellings would you recommend? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.

Pin it for later!

Check out these highly acclaimed Asian retellings and learn about the myths behind them | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

15 thoughts on “10 Most Interesting Asian Myths and Retellings

  1. I love that you are promoting good Asian books. It is hard for me who don’t naturally get exposed to very much Asian fiction to know what’s good or not, and as I wish to read more Asian fiction your blog is really helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been waiting for this post!!!!! My favorite retelling would be Aru shah recommended by YOU-KNOW-WHO . I have all these books on my tbr except girls and a spark of white and fire is next on my list!! Great post Dini!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. evelynreads1

    I’m ashamed that I only read two of the titles on this list.. But there are a lot on my TBR, and I hope I get to them soon!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved Shadow Of The Fox, Epic Crush, and The Bear And The Nightingale! Spark Of White Fire, and The Blazing Phoenix are currently on my TBR list! I’m so glad to hear that you loved them! I hope I’ll get to them soon!
    I would recommend Echo North By Joanna Ruth Meyer, A Touch Of Gold By Annie Sullivan, and Spinning Silver By Naomi Novik.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy to know you liked Epic Crush and The Bear and the Nightingale! I’m so excited to read them. 😍 I really hope you enjoy both! ♥️
      I’ve read only Spinning Silver and the other two are on my TBR. Can’t wait to get to them! 🤩


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