Top 5 Wednesday: Books that aren’t set in/inspired by the Western world

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here another Top 5 Wednesday, and the topic is:

July 19th: Books That Aren’t Set In/Inspired By The Western World
–I know this is a long title, but I couldn’t figure out how else to word it and still get the point across. Talk about books that are set outside of the Western World (so outside of North America and Western Europe) or if they are SFF, books that aren’t inspired by those places (so no medieval setting fantasy!)

Top 5 Wednesday is a group in Goodreads and was formerly created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey and is now done by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. It is open to everyone.

Want by: Cindy Pon

This book is set within a futuristic Taipei. Taiwan. Cindy Pon does a good job at describing how the city would look in the future and describing a lot of the major monuments.

Flame in the Mist by: Renee Ahdieh

This is a semi Mulan retelling set in feudal Japan. I really enjoyed this book, and Renee Adieh really takes full advantage of the books setting and seeing myself transported in Japan.

Serpentine by: Cindy Pon

Yes, another Cindy Pon book. This one is set in Ancient China and it was one of my favorites of 2016. It blends a lot of fantasy with Chinese mythology, which made it awesome.

The Star Touched Queen by: Roshani Chokshi

This is a fantasy series set in India, and has a lot of Indian mythology within the book. While it wasn’t as plot heavy like I wanted it to be it still was a great read.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

This is a fantasy book inspired by a lot of South American culture and its history. This is a very underrated book series, but I enjoyed reading it.

Those are my favorite books set outside the western world? What are your favorite books outside the western world? Let me know in the comments below.

Flame in the Mist by: Renee Ahdieh

Summary:

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

The Review:

This was another book that was one of my anticipated of 2017, mainly because I was fan of her other two books The Wrath and the Dawn, and The Rose & the Dagger.

The story is set in feudal Japan, and already Renee Ahdeih takes full advantage of the world it is set in. She makes a lot of referents to a lot of Japanese mythology and how the feudal system in Japan is presented. The Japanese setting really added a lot of weight to the story and made it a lot more interesting. She makes many references to Samurai’s, Geisha’s. family and honor.

The main story deals with Mariko, who one her way to see the man she is forced to marry, her caravan is attacked by what is seen to be The Black Clan, a group of bandits who live in the forest. In order to figure out what happens she disguises herself as a boy to infiltrate the Black Clan. This plot reminded me a lot of Mulan, just set in Japan. It really provided a lot of great character bits with Mariko trying to figure out her own gender roles.

Mariko was a great protagonist, within the story. Even after being almost assassinated she managed to handle herself rather well, especially since she lived a very sheltered life in the palace, she starts to learn how to take care of herself. I think she started to learn a lot of those too well, but it wasn’t really a problem for me. She realizes that if she goes back home she will just be another commodity and the reason why she looks into the mystery of her assassination herself is to become more independent.

I liked her relationship with Okami, the leader of the Black Clan. He basically trained her on the ways of the Black Clan. I like that it was developed over time and he learned to appreciate her as a male, before learning of Mariko’s secret. While I did feel that the romance was little forced it was well developed to have me at least care for both of them.

There is also Keshimi; Mariko’s brother who is tasked in finding Mariko. While a lot of his POV chapters were very brief, I was able to find his story arc very compelling and also looking into details about his relationship with Mariko. Also his chapters also provides a few key insights into the world from his perspective.

A problem that I had with the book is that I felt that the ending was very rushed, and I kinda wanted a little bit more, and also have the ending a bit more fleshed out. I know a sequel will be coming out so hopefully that will answer some unanswered questions.

In the end, Flame in the Mist was a very good book. It did a good job taking full advantage of it’s Japanese setting. It also had great, fleshed out characters that you want to root for.

Grade: 4/5

WWW Wednesday-6/21/17

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

While I haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, even though I heard great things about it. I also heard great things about this book as well.

What did you recently finish?

I enjoyed reading both of these books. Flame in the Mist was sort of like Mulan set within feudal Japan. Wintersong reminded me a lot of The Star Touched Queen with a little bit of Beauty and the Beast. Reviews will be coming soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

This was mainly a premise grabber, and the main characters back story kinda reminded me a lot of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. It looks really interesting.

That is my WWW Wednesday. What books are you currently reading? What have you recently finished and what will you be reading next? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Sweetened!