A review is important to both authors and readers as it is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, phenomenon, or, in our case, a book. Reviews give titles more visibility and a greater chance of getting discovered by more readers.
Read the Fully Booked Reading Allies’ recommended books written by Asian authors.
She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker Chan
Review by @miniaturereader
It’s my favorite for its exquisitely woven politics, the plot of war and betrayal character struggles, and decisions that are written in a way that is very reminiscent of Chinese dramas which I highly enjoyed.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Review by Air (@C3H6O3)
This is the book that made me jump into the Asian literature genre! This book is where my journey starts in discovering new book genres I've never tried, specifically exploring the translated fiction world. This book shows so much uniqueness and how creative the Asian community is. From their main protagonists and traits of featured characters. Absolutely love Convenience Store Woman and since this book, I've read a bunch of books from Asian authors.
All The Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami
Review by Luisa (@lousyiza)
Relates the concept of life and light as encapsulated in the thoughts and views of a lonely woman.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
Review by Kymiee (@kymieetriestoread)
I love how adventurous, emotional, inspiring and reflective it is.
I love how the MC is willing to take risks no matter how the situation is.
I love this book so much! I love the way it was written. It’s amazing. She’s the character I want to be. I loved that she’s standing up for herself, destroying patriarchy and breaking down stereotypes. I loved the intensity of emotions, the pace of the story and how compelling it was. This is a new favorite! I would highly recommend this book!
Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Review by Raine (@rainereads)
It’s like a jack of all trades kind of book wherein there are a lot of points that were tackled that are relevant to how our society works today, it’s actually timeless since it is applicable even to the old era
Review by Therese (@nottheresereads)
The Poppy War trilogy has beautifully woven fiction and history in beautiful Asian-inspired epic fantasy. R.F. Kuang has a way of storytelling that grips you from the first page to the very last line of the book. The trilogy opens your eyes and makes you learn and acknowledge hard topics that society shies away from. As an Asian, the issues of colonialism also resonated with me given our history. Overall, reading this book was a heartbreaking and bittersweet experience and I hope that everyone else has the privilege of reading it and falling in love with it as I did.
Review by @readsandwanders
It tackles history and its effects on the survivors.
The Last Exiles by Ann Shin
Review by @books.and.lommie
It's my first time being introduced to North Korean literature. It’s deeply moving and a powerful read that is based on true events. It doesn’t shy away to address strong themes such as sex trafficking, famine, political corruption, violence, and the abuse that North Korean people have had to endure. I’d always recommend this to avid readers like me who are eager to read diverse books.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Review by Shai (@artofshai)
Reading it felt like watching a Studio Ghibli film; the spirit realm was so vividly described, every character has its own charm, and just the story itself is just heartfelt. I really had a wonderful time reading it. A magical experience indeed.
In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
Review by @athoughtfulrecord
It is an extraordinary account of the author's relationship with the Italian language. It shows her command of the English language and blooming finesse with the Italian.
Pachinko by Min-Jin Lee
Review by Vanessa Mae (@maethedreamer)
Pachinko is a moving and emotional historical fiction novel that I read earlier this year. The way it is written keeps the reader hooked to its story that expands generations, countries, and history. It is a favorite read of mine because it is insightful and explores various ideas on beauty and youth, nationalism, war, family, motherhood, and most of all, on love.
Review by Jeca (@mayumireads)
Reading this book was like I traveled back in time — being with a family’s journey over the years. A novel with four generations is a long story but I really did enjoy reading it. It was fascinating that I was able to witness each character’s development — from being a kid, teenager and becoming a family man. And also, I love the series adaptation. Great actors and cinematography. Perfection.
Heaven by Mieko Kawakami
Review by Anne (@library_of_anne)
It is like an essay about bullying and how you find comfort in a friendship that no one knows about. What I like about Kawakami's writing is how she describes ordinary things and makes them beautiful in the middle of the horrific experiences of the characters. How mundane things can make your life much bearable if you only take time to notice them, how things look, how they feel, how they smell–the world around us. It's one of those reads that really leave a deep impression by the time you finish.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
Review by @topsyturveyreader
This book really has my heart. It is my first Chinese mythology retelling story and really reminded me of Dragon Balls and Avatar: The Last Airbender, it was like a trip down to memory lane, with the cloud being used as their transportation to the elemental and magic-wielding immortals that I've encountered and met while reading this one. This fantasy novel was like a shot of serotonin to my lifeless body, I could vividly imagine everything that was happening because of how the author wrote it beautifully. From the description of a certain flower to the mind-blowing action sequences *chef's kiss*. The story is really a slow-burn one which I don't mind because it gave the story so much flavor or variety that will never be boring to me. One twist after another left me craving for more. Also, the romance was good enough for me, good enough in a sense that made me scream internally, grin like a possessed idiot and mourned for my broken heart when something sad happened, it was truly a rollercoaster of emotions. I could safely say that this is one of my top reads this year and probably of all time.
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Review by Z (@maybetwoorthree)
This book gave me that feeling of calmness you’d get on a rainy day while sipping your favorite coffee which I think is odd because most stories in this book are actually weird—good weird!
Men Without Women managed to explain how pain feels in words that you can’t even think of. Murakami’s words are easy to follow and his metaphors are well-thought, they’re just so beautiful that I would actually read them over and over. I also like how the short stories didn’t feel heavy at all despite the theme of pain and grief.
Personally, I think this book entails a lot of wisdom and it’s not even non-fiction! That’s just how amazing this book is for me!
Ms. Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami
Review by Ella (@ella_lama)
I have a soft spot for coming-of-age stories, and this one captures the best and most real parts of growing up. A light and fun read this book can be a perfect companion for taking a break from daily tasks or a much-needed escape from adulting.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Review by Erika (@strawbereads)
A Tale for the Time Being was what got me back into reading in 2021. It's a tale of time travel, maid cafes, and two women whose timelines were entangled by one diary. As interesting as the plot sounds, what I loved the most about this book is still Ruth Ozeki's way of storytelling which was as if she was painting a landscape with her words. It was colorful and quirky yet at the same time expressive and gloomy.
All You Knead is Love by Tanya Guerrero
Review by Jenghis (@jenthelion02)
Because it's such a heartwarming story that shares an important message about self-discovery, and the importance of family - both by blood and the kind that is built and founded through friendships all the while being charming and easy to read. And of course, it promotes Filipino-Spanish culture through its vivid storytelling about food and the setting being in Barcelona.
Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee
Review by @readwithkath
Without a shadow of a doubt, it is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Jade Legacy is an all-around masterpiece that certified The Green Bone Saga as my top favorite completed trilogy of all time. I plead with all readers, even those who are not typically fans of fantasy to pick up The Green Bone Saga. Aside from the seemingly magical properties of jade, this story is at the end of the day an emphatically and powerfully written family saga with strong themes of love, loyalty and honor that should be accessible to most readers.
Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz
Review by Zel (@grimreaderx)
Writing style, first and foremost, is amazing. Captures the essence of how challenging and hurtful it is to be poor in a country like the Philippines. The relationship between the characters and family dynamics are also great.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Review by @gwehh
The main character's appreciation for her culture is refreshing to see as a person who grew up in a society where we were encouraged to be more western. It also has awareness of bullying, homophobia and cultural appropriation while at the same time being a fun quick fluffy read.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Review by Sandra Isabel (@readsandramble)
This book is very timely with our country’s current situation and what we went through during the last six years. Despite being a novel, it focuses on the reality of the war on drugs through different viewpoints and also showcases actual accounts (Kian Delos Santos). It also talks about being a biracial Filipino and the issues that these people are facing every day.
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