Fantasy has been dominated by Western inspirations and European locales for years. Even when books transported characters to decidedly non-Western environments, the heroes were still white. But non-European inspired stories have always been there. Everyone wants to see their selves reflected in the stories they read, and consumers of fantasy understand representation more than most. In the last decade or so, the literary world has seen more high-profile fantasy books coming from non-western authors in non-western settings. The Poppy War is one such book, bringing readers to a world inspired by China. However, this fantasy is not for the faint of heart. Like the real-world country’s history, this book is blood and war.
Welcome to 2019! In honor of our continued traveling forward in time, the first book review of this brand-new year is all about time travel into the not-so-distant past. As always, full spoilers are expected here.
There is a certain allure about time travel, even though it is far from the most widespread literary genre. We all know the great classics: A Sound of Thunder, The Time Machine, Doctor Who, etc. But time travel, while infinitely interesting, is difficult to write about. The amount of research it requires into past events rivals that of any nonfiction. Yet, we are drawn to it. It is a way to experiment with “what if’s” and “maybes.” It is also the ultimate power fantasy. Go back in time, fix one event or stop another from happening, and you fix everything that is wrong with the world. Who would ever pass that up?