Remember those types of books where a simple ordinary girl whose misfit personality trait turns out to be her trump card? She then hopes to just reach her goal of winning the games or getting into an academy or getting a job only to be swept up in a revolution to overthrow the government that will fail without her. Sounds familiar right?
But it’s the nuances in such books that make them so fun to read like the fact that The Poppy War is based in Far East Asia, Asian myths and cultural elements embedded in the plot and the most deranged protagonist that you know you shouldn’t root for but you do.
So, if you want more similar yet different books, we’ve got you. Here are 8 more books like The Poppy War for you to feast on.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan
Similarities – Chinese myth and fantasy
Do you like sci-fi sprinkled with fantasy and adventure along with romance? Then The Celestial Kingdom duology is for you as it has Xingyin travelling the moon, sky and earth to save her mother. And on the way, she learns magic, and how to fight and love as she ends up meeting the infuriatingly charming Prince Liwei, the son of the very king who imprisoned her mother.
Descendant of the Crane – Joan He
Similarities – Chinese fantasy, vengeful protagonist
What is it with young female protagonists believing their mentor only for them to be disillusioned with life after said mentor is taken away from them? Descendant of the Crane has Hesina going to the ends of the Earth to find her father’s murderer. Only for her to uncover truths about him and her past that will have her questioning everything she knows.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Similarities – Revolution, protagonist
The simple goal of just surviving the year? Check. Ending up in the middle of a revolution? Check. Wanting to do nothing with it but being the only one who can overthrow the big bad guy? Check. So, if you have read The Hunger Games or not, if you want a dystopian version of The Poppy War, revisit this iconic series that pretty much defined the YA genre of the 2010s and spawned the likes of Divergent, The Maze Runner and more.
Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
Similarities – Revolution, magical protagonist, unsuspecting antagonist
If you were absolutely dumbfounded by Rin’s decisions in The Poppy War but couldn’t put the book down, Mare in Red Queen will have you equally exasperated as you shout at your book trying to get her to see what you see.
Mare is a Red, red-blooded human of the peasant class, as the all-powerful Silvers rule thanks to their magical silver blood. That is till she ends up showcasing a power in front of the Silvers and is more or less imprisoned by the royal family as they try to figure her out.
Cinder – Marissa Meyer
Similarities – Revolution, Asian protagonist
If retellings of iconic stories have you frothing at the mouth then get ready for a ride as The Lunar Chronicles gives us *drum roll* fairy tales and science fiction. Yep, we have Cinder(ella) losing her foot at the ball because she is a cyborg while the Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood is basically a runaway experiment who was given wolf-like qualities. And it all culminates in these fairy tale characters getting together to overthrow the Evil Queen.
Jade City – Fonda Lee
Similarities – Chinese setup and fantasy
The Green Bone Saga takes everything iconic about Chinese culture from kung fu and magic to feuding gangs to give us an exciting and thrilling tale about the Kaul family in a Godfather-esque plot. Like any fantasy book, it focuses on world-building to give us the power of jade and ancient gods and warriors while the three siblings, Lan, Shae and Hilo struggle to stay on top.
Grandmaster Of Demonic Cultivation – Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Similarities – Chinese myth and fantasy
Have you come across the meme ‘Jin Ling’s uncle dies to bring back Jin Ling’s uncle’ and a whole bunch of war and politics happen between Jin Ling’s uncles with a sprinkle of romance here and there? That stems from the cult-like The Untamed drama and its book Grandmaster Of Demonic Cultivation as the ‘evil’ Wei Wuxian is resurrected and does his best to find out who brought him back to life and why.
Six Crimson Cranes – Elizabeth Lim
Similarities – Asian setup, magic, revolution
Six Crimson Cranes is what you get when you mix fairy tales and royal politics. Princess Shiori is banished and her brothers are turned into cranes by her stepmother after she messes up her engagement. What starts out as a simple punishment leads to Shiori uncovering the truth with the help of the same man she didn’t want to marry while those who would stop at nothing, try to take control over her kingdom.
So there we have it, our 8 book alternatives to read when you’re finished with ‘The Poppy War’ trilogy.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!