Did you like City of a Thousand Dolls? Do you want to read more books set in Asian-based worlds? Or did you hate City of a Thousand Dolls and want to read BETTER Asian fantasy?
Either way, we've got you covered. This is a page to showcase fantastic Asian-based fantasies, both adult, young adult and middle grade, by amazing Asian and Asian American fantasy writers. All these books were recommended to me by happy readers (some I've read and enjoyed myself) and I encourage you to buy them, read them and support diversity in fiction.
The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
In a dingy shack in the less-than-desirable Indian neighborhood he calls home, twelve-year-old Anand is entrusted with a conch shell that possesses mystical powers. His task is to return the shell to its rightful home many hundreds of miles away. Accompanying him are Nisha, a headstrong but resourceful child of the streets, and a mysterious man of indeterminate age and surprising resources named Abadhyatta. His quest will take him farther from home than he's ever been...and it will force him to make a poignant decision that will change him forever.
Half World by Hiromi Goto
Melanie Tamaki is human—but her parents aren’t. They are from Half World, a Limbo between our world and the afterlife, and her father is still there. When her mother disappears, Melanie must follow her to Half World—and neither of them may return alive...
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune.
Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
The moon is missing from the remote Village of Clear Sky, but only a young boy named Rendi seems to notice! Rendi has run away from home and is now working as a chore boy at the village inn. He can't help but notice the village's peculiar inhabitants and their problems-where has the innkeeper's son gone? Why are Master Chao and Widow Yan always arguing? What is the crying sound Rendi keeps hearing? And how can crazy, old Mr. Shan not know if his pet is a toad or a rabbit?
Huntress by Malinda Lo
Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance. To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen.
Into the Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger
Time traveling Parminder--a.k.a. Pammi--must stop a power-hungry Able from the future from destroying the ancient city she visits, where Ables like her live freely. If she is unable to stop him, the city of Zanum vanishes forever, taking Pammi and all other Ables with it.
Prophecy by Ellen Oh
The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.
Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...
Cat Girl's Day Off by Kimberly Pauley
Natalie Ng’s little sister is a super-genius with a chameleon-like ability to disappear. Her older sister has three Class A Talents, including being a human lie detector. Her mom has laser vision and has one of the highest IQs ever. Her dad’s Talent is so complex even the Bureau of Extra-Sensory Regulation and Management (BERM) hardly knows what to classify him as.
And Nat? She can talk to cats.
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters. But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined....
Harun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
In this captivating work of fantasy, Haroun sets out on an adventure to restore the poisoned source of the sea of stories. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its storytelling powers.
Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
The adventure begins one beautiful starry night in the land of Alifbay, when Luka’s father, Rashid, falls suddenly into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one can rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka embarks on a journey through the world of magic with his loyal companions, Bear, the dog, and Dog, the bear. Together they encounter a slew of fantastical creatures, strange allies, and challenging obstacles along the way—all in the hope of stealing the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly treacherous task.
Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river -- and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy -- the Prince Chagum -- on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga . . . and the prince's own father.
City of Fire by Laurence Yep
When her older sister dies trying to prevent the theft of one of her people’s great treasures, twelve-year-old Scirye sets out to avenge her and recover the precious item. Helping her are Bayang, a dragon disguised as a Pinkerton agent; Leech, a boy with powers he has not yet discovered; and Leech’s loyal companion Koko, who has a secret of his own. All have a grudge against the thieves who stole the treasure: the evil dragon Badik and the mysterious Mr. Roland.
The Tiger's Apprentice by Laurence Yep
Tom Lee's life changes forever the day he meets a talking tiger named Mr. Hu, and discovers he is the latest in a long line of magical Guardians.
Editors Note: I've received some great recommends that are not on here, ether because they aren't fantasies, or because I couldn't confirm that the authors were Asian/Asian American. If you want to see the books that didn't make the list, or if you have any recommendations for great books to add to this list, the original comment thread is here.