For some reason, Fall 2012 is Japanese-inspired Fantasy season.
Two notable releases showing interesting sides of Japanese-inspired fantasy written by white westerners. The cool thing is neither of these two books made me want to throw them across the room in disgust at revarnishing stereotypes or an epic fail in historical details.
Quite the accomplishment.
The first one, Stormdancer, is actually an alternate-Japanese Edo period adventure with griffins and chainsaw-katana. Very young adult adventurey. This is full on fantasy and best for genre lovers.
The second one, Daughter of the Sword , is actually mostly about a female cop in Tokyo investigating both drug activity and attempted stealing of an ancient sword. The main plot is cleverly intertwined with stories from older periods in Japanese history relating the story of the swords. This is fantasy only by the thinnest edge; only the swords themselves are slightly magical, everything else is fairly mundane. This one is cool even for “mainstream” fiction readers.
And of course, you could always read the alternate medieval Japanese fantasy where kami are real….