The Poppy War uses the general frame of Chinese history in the 20th century, but reshapes it with its own fantasy elements. So there’s an invasion from an island nation (Japan), the influx of opium and heroin but then the fantasy elements of being able to call upon gods and become shamans are mixed in with all that.
Astounding is a history of the golden age of science fiction, specifically focussed on John W. Campbell Jr., L. Ron Hubbard, Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. And it is quite frankly, bloody brilliant.
The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan was a really fascinating read and I enjoyed so many aspects of the book.
Inspired by @Tracy King’s tweet (and that I also did this last year which is still valid), here’s a list of the books that I loved this year.
The idea and the world the author created are great. The novel takes place in a city called Rosewater in Nigeria. The events span between about 2040 to 2066. Basically, the life of the main character Kaaro. Rosewater comes into being because an alien entity emerges from the ground.
The novel’s central premise is that there are doors between worlds, they appear in thin places between worlds and people can cross the Threshold and end up in another world. And in these words are vampires, witches, normal people, magic or terrible things.
I know you don’t often have sequels to non-fiction, but The Narrow Corridor feels like a sequel to Why Nations Fail. It expands on the themes in the first book, why nations do or don’t manage to have stable democracies.