Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Aren’t Set in the Western World

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s topic is books that aren’t set in or inspired by the Western World, so nothing in North America or Western Europe! That also means no Fantasy or Sci-fi that may have been inspired by these places so nothing medieval based in a fantasy for example!

This is such a fun topic that calls for us to really think outside the box and opens the way for us to potentially find more diverse reads!

These are also in NO particular order and if I have reviews I will link them up as well!

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5.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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While this is YA fantasy not directly set in the real world it’s pretty clearly based off of Russia and Russian culture. Therefore I’m just going to say it counts! It’s also a very well written, fast paced, heist book and I say the hype is worth it!

You can read my full review of “Six of Crows” here.

4.) And I Darken by Kiersten White

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This is a historical retelling with a gender bent Vlad the Impaler as one of the main characters. It’s set in the 1400s in both Wallachia, which is modern day Romania, and the Ottoman Empire, which is mostly modern day Turkey.

I personally thought White did her research very well for this story!

You can read my full review of “And I Darken” here.

3.) The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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This is a 1,001 Nights (a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories) retelling set in the Middle East and it also has some fantasy elements but they’re clearly inspired by Middle Eastern culture as well.

You can read my mini review of “The Wrath & The Dawn” here.

2.) The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This is a YA fantasy story but it’s also a retelling of “Aladdin and His Wondrous Lamp” which is a story from 1,001 Nights (which as stated above is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories). The story and it’s setting are inspired by the Middle East.

You can read my full review of “The Forbidden Wish” here.

1.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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This is a fantasy and steampunk story that was inspired by Japan or the Eastern World if you will. I, personally, really enjoyed this book but I have heard people mention that it was not researched very well and the Japanese vocabulary wasn’t used correctly. That’s why I’m saying the book is “inspired by” versus saying “based on” and I acknowledge other people’s claims that this wasn’t necessarily the best book as far as the cultural representation goes.

However, it’s still inspired by the Eastern World so I decided it applies here and as I said I did still enjoy the story. It’s nice to see steampunk elements in a book that isn’t set in Western Europe!

You can read my full review of “Stormdancer” here.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What are some books you’ve read or have on your TBR that aren’t set in the Western World?

Do you have any recommendations?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?


WOW. That is the only word to describe this book, it’s absolutely amazing!

First off, the writing is beautiful and descriptive there were an abundance of adjectives constantly describing things you didn’t know could even be described so beautifully! Seriously, it’s enchanting it definitely will keep you reading and hanging on to every little word. It’s also very cultural, there are a lot of Arabic terms and phrases used to give a very authentic feel. But it also doesn’t leave you feeling confused or have you constantly looking up words while you’re reading.

The characters are so well written and developed. Believe me when I tell you, if Renee Ahdieh wants you to like a character, you like them. If she wants you to hate a character, you hate them. I developed so many feelings towards all of the characters in this book it’s unbelievable, I grew attached to every single one. I found myself constantly changing my mind about how I felt about certain people, it’s all very conflicting. You’ll love all of the characters for very different reasons, but they’re just so good!

And that romance! Now let me tell you that I am NOT a romance reader, I hate it. I prefer books with little to no romance. But “The Wrath and the Dawn” is absolutely heart-warming, I LOVE Shazi and Khalid. I LOVE THEM I TELL YOU! I was sniffling my way through parts of the book because it gave me the warm and fuzzies. There is NO insta-love, which is perfect. However, there is a sort of love triangle but you can easily disregard that notion since you really have to think about it to realize it’s there. I can’t gush enough about how much I love the romance though, I really can’t. It’s sweet, endearing, and touching.

And the plot/story is very engaging, it’s fast paced, it’s perfect. It’s a good mix of YA romance and YA fantasy, since there are subtle hints of magic throughout the book that are very intriguing. If you’re wanting answers for some of that though you’ll have to wait for the next book in the series like the rest of us! One minor complaint I have about the book is that it didn’t have as many stories within stories as I wanted. This is a sort of retelling of One Thousand and One Nights so I was expecting to read some of the stories Shazi uses to keep herself alive! There are a couple and I loved them, so I was disappointed when I wasn’t graced with more throughout the story. There are also plenty of secrets and surprises along the way to keep you guessing and entertained.

I can’t recommend this book enough! Even if you’re like me and you’re put off by the notion of a very romance driven story please consider pushing it aside and giving this book a go. It really is worth it!

I think while I wait for the sequel I will be ordering a beautiful hardcover of this book, it’s gorgeous.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy