I wanted my second post of 2020 to be something that I’m excited for and proud of- so I thought what better than sharing some of the amazing South-Asian books that I want to read?
As most of you know, I’m Indian-American and I’m passionate about uplifting Asian authors. In 2020 I realized that I barely read *any* books by South Asian authors, and one of my 2021 goals is to change that.
So here are some amazing books by South Asian authors that you should definitely read!
A Time To Dance by Padma Venkataraman
My friend Vaishnavi recommended this book to me- it’s about a South Indian girl named Veda who is a classical dancer losing the ability to dance because of an injury. It’s told in verse and sounds beautiful and poignant. I do Indian Classical music and love it so much (I used to do dance as well but I stopped this year actually) so I feel like I’ll resonate a lot with this book.
As I’ve sat down to write this post, I’ve been interrupted over five times.
Maybe it’s a sign for me to not write this post?
Anyways, I finally pushed my parents and brother away and I’m ready to finally, finally write a blog post. First of all, I missed you all so much! I miss being a part of the blogging community, waking up to so many notifications, and reading all of my friends’ posts. I missed that a lot and I can’t wait to jump back in the flow of it.
Now, why have I been so MIA lately? Well, firstly, a lot has been going on in my life. I’ve had to start prioritizing what I want to do and what I don’t have time for. Obviously, blogging took a bit of a backseat on this. I don’t really regret it- it allowed me to do so much more- but I want to come back and learn how to manage my time, but with blogging this time.
That’s the gist of it, basically. I’m planning to do a longer post about myself at the end of year (speaking of which- can you believe it’s December? because I absolutely cannot) but for now, I want to give you all the sort of content that you’ve been missing!!
I know a lot of people who don’t know a lot of fantasies written by BIPOC authors.
If you’re not sure what BIPOC stands for, it means Black, Indigenous, People of Color. It’s a similar acronym to POC (people of color), but it specifically highlights the separate experiences that Black and Indigenous folks experience. I say it like bye-pock and if you don’t know me, I’m BIPOC as well!
That’s a pity, because there are so many amazing fantasies written by authors of color that people really are sleeping on. Originally when I started this post, I had it as 7 books- then I realized that it might be even more valuable to narrow it down to the most underrated of the books, in my opinion at least. Most of the books on my list I had screamed about on my blog already (Children of Blood and Bone? We Set The Dark on Fire? Girls of Paper and Fire? Ring any bells?) so I wanted to try out screaming about books that I don’t talk about as much.
It’s been way too long since I’ve sat down and actually written a blog post or read a book, so I forced myself to finally write something (with the encouragement of Beck), and here I am!
A few months ago, back in June, I published this post, where I guessed books’ summaries from their covers (yes. I judged the books by their covers, quite literally). The theme then was LGBT+ books because it was pride month, but this time I want to do something a little bit different- backlist fantasy novels!
1. “Sky In The Deep” by Adrienne Young (2018)
I’ve heard of Adrienne Young, but I’ve never read anything by her and I don’t know what her books are about, so I think this is a good choice!
My guess for the synopsis:
Jayla (or insert other generic fantasy girl name) is a spy and a maid in the castle of the local kingdom, who was raised as a warrior. She is part of a secret underground rebellion of warriors like her, and her task is to infiltrate the castle. But then she falls in love with the prince of the kingdom, who is the opposite of everything she was taught about.
The actual synopsis:
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
The only parts I got right were the warrior part, living with the enemy, and a reluctant enemies-to-lovers. But the kingdom part was way off. I think my synopsis was more of a basic YA fantasy plotline, with the whole spy and falling in love with the enemy prince thing. I’m truthfully not very intrigued by the actual synopsis though, if I’m being completely honest.
1. “The Black Witch” by Laurie Forest (2017)
My guess for the synopsis:
Eve Hitcher grew up knowing she was a witch. She knew that she had to keep her secret at all costs, so she diligently kept her powers hidden from the villagers that she lived with. The only people who knew were her mother and best friend.But as she approaches 17 years old, Eve finds it harder and harder to control her powers, until one day she can’t control it any more, and she accidentally hurts her mom, rendering her into a coma. Stricken with grief and fear, Eve and her best friend flee the village and try to find the cure for Eve’s mom, while simultaneously running away from the angry villagers who are trying to capture her. The only problem? The last ingredient to the potion that will cure Eve’s mother is in the most dangerous place for Eve, where witchhunters regularly kill and torture any witches that they find.
The actual synopsis:
Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.
When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.
As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of rebels…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to fear.
Okay… I got basically nothing right. The only thing that was correct was the fact that there’s something to do with a witch, which is pretty obvious (given the fact that the title is literally The Black Witch). Oops? I guess? I was honestly thinking more along the lines of The School for Good and Evil in terms of setting, which is very different from the more high fantasy setting of The Black Witch.
1. “Rebel of the Sands” by Alwyn Hamilton (2016)
My guess for the synopsis:
Imarais a peasant living with her mother and younger brother in the outskirts of the wealthy capitol city of their country, Kezuj. Life is a day-to-day struggle, and things are looking grim because the winter season is approaching and Imara‘s mother has fallen sick. Things get even scarier when a rebel group that deals with the trade of illegal magical items and animals is tied to Imara through her job.Magic is outlawed in Kezuj, and to engage in any sorts of magical activity could mean a death sentence.But Imara is determined tolearn more about magic, especially since it could be the only thing that willsave her mother.
The actual synopsis:
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
Okay, I was way off. I got the magic and the Middle Eastern-inspired setting correct (I looked at the drawing of the castle on the front and could immediately tell) but I had no idea that it would be about gunslingers or mythical beasts. There’s also no mother mentioned, and no rebel group. That sucks, because depending on the type of magic that my synopsis intended to have, it could have actually been a cool book. Funny enough, the one thing that I got scarily close was the name- Amani and Imara? That’s actually super close, and what’s funny is that I rewrote the name half a dozen times and one of them was actually Amari or Amani. Gosh, can’t writers be more creative?
Sort of related, but why is a white woman writing a fantasy based off of a middle eastern setting? This is why her name’s so stereotypical. 😭
Once again, I’m not very interested in any of these books. However, I do quite like my third synopsis idea, if anyone wants to write that as their NaNoWriMo story! 😉
I’m going to try and publish posts more frequently, but school has gotten very busy which makes it harder for me to juggle everything :((
Have you read any of these books? Which of my synopses did you like? What did you think when you saw the covers?
The only thing I could think about when I wrote this: Bob the Builder- Have I read this? Bob the Builder- YES I have!
In other news, hello!
How is everyone doing? I’m NOT doing great, and my mental state is currently ~chaos~. After RBG passed away, I’ve just been worrying nonstop and hearing anything (I mean anything) about the presidential election makes my heart race and makes me hyper-worried. Seriously not fun.
Thankfully, I’ve been keeping myself super busy with school, a music performance coming up (if you’re an OG you remember the times when I was always giving concerts- sadly COVID and school paused that but I’ve started to take more virtual opportunities!), and activism- especially focusing on local elections I can help with.
I promise to put out at least one more post this month!! I’m not gone, I promise!
I have like no energy right now. At all. But at least I’m posting semi-regularly?
Since school started and all my other classes are starting up too, I’m finding myself with barely any time. As someone notorious for horrible time management, my solution has been writing daily to-do lists split in to morning / afternoon / evening so that I know what I have to accomplish each day. It’s tedious, but helpful.
Because I barely have any time to even get schoolwork + extracurricular work done, I also have like no time to spend on reading. Which sucks, because I’m kind of a book blog. In case you haven’t noticed. AKA, I have no content to write about.
So before you read this post, go check out Elli’s post because she wrote it first. Thank you Elli for saving this girl from disappearing without any content to write about.
Anyways, that was an awfully dramatic intro. Let’s get onto the actual post ;)) P.S. please don’t read this in the WP Reader!! read it on my actual blog. I spent a lot of time on formatting 😭
Basically, I’ll be seeing whether or not I’ve read the 40 most popular recent YA novels to see if I’m a true book blogger (jk, you can read whatever you want and still be a book blogger, I’m kidding lalala). The thing is, I won’t be able to get to all 40 of them, so I’ll just be doing 20, and next post I’ll hopefully do 20 more! Continue reading “The 20 Most Popular YA Books: have I read them? | part 1”→
It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I’m really sorry about that- I also miss the blogosphere so much and will try to be more consistent with posting! Meanwhile, I’ve been prepping for a music performance that I recorded and sent (finally after so much stress), and school starts in two days which I’m super sad about!
But yes, I am not dead. Thankfully. With COVID-19 going around, who even knows unless I tell you 😭
I’m also really scared that I won’t have time to post much more because I’m entering the busy high school years which would be super sad 😦 so I’m going to try and post as much as I can in the first few months!
However, I’ve also been in a terrible reading/blogging slump. I read a grand total of… wait for it… zero books in July. (wonderful, I know!) And I haven’t known what to post at all, which is why I procrastinated so much on writing a post.
Anyways, since we’re writing this post which actually sounds like a lot of fun, I need to credit the lovely Kerys @ The Everlasting Libraryfor this amazing idea (and the identity crisis book tag!). Her post is amazing, check it out! I used some different quizzes but the idea is similar!