Blog Tour – Aneesa Marufu’s Favourite Fantasy Worlds Featuring Folklore!

Hello! Today on my blog I have a fun author guest post where Aneesa Marufu, the author of the YA Fantasy ‘The Balloon Thief,’ tells us about her favourite fantasy worlds. You all know how much I love mythology & folklore in my fantasy books, so I loved reading Aneesa’s recommendations. A few I have already read & loved, but there were a couple on this list I have yet to check out, but you can bet that I instantly added them to my TBR. I will be reviewing The Balloon Thief in April, but for now, check out the below books and make sure you get them, and The Balloon Thief added to your TBR.

The City of Brass by S A Chakraborty

The City of Brass

How could I not start this list with The City of Brass, probably one of the most popular adult fantasies inspired by Islamic and Middle Eastern mythology. The City of Brass is a beautiful read, from its stunning world-building to its depiction of djinn, and of course its swoon-worthy romance! This book takes its inspiration from Islamic folktales and is set between 18th century Cairo and the magical realm of the djinn.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

An incredible book to immerse yourself in South Asian culture, The Jasmine Throne is inspired by the great Indian epics, and is a high stakes, fast-paced fantasy with magical world-building and morally-grey characters that you can’t help but root for! What I loved most about this book was its interpretation of Indian fairy tales as well as its queer romance.

Rumaysa by Radiya Hafiza

Rumaysa is a middle grade retelling of the popular fairy tale, Rapunzel, but with a funny twist on the well-known tale as Rumaysa is a Muslim princess who must escape her tower imprisonment by climbing down her hijab. This book is lighthearted and beautifully written, with a stunning front cover to match.


Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

I may be cheating with this one as this book is not out until next month, but I am so excited for it! Kaikeyi is another book inspired by South Asian folklore about the vilified queen of the Indian epic, the Ramayana. This book promises a magical world of warring gods steeped in Indian mythology.

Aneesa Marufu lives in Manchester and was the winner of the Kimberley Chambers Kickstart Prize for underrepresented writers in 2019. Her debut novel, The Balloon Thief, is inspired by her South Asian heritage and her obsession with hot air balloons, though she is yet to fly in one!

When she isn’t dreaming up stories set in the clouds, she has both feet on the ground, running after her two children or hunting for her next fantasy book to escape into.

You can follow Aneesa here:


Released: 03/03/2022

Aneesa Marufu’s The Balloon Thief is published by Chicken House Books 

For Khadija, the only escape from her father’s arranged betrothal is the sky. When she spots a rogue hot air balloon fighting against its ropes, she leaps at the chance for adventure.

Khadija soon finds an unlikely ally in a poor glassmaker’s apprentice, Jacob. But Jacob is a hāri, and Khadija a Ghadaean.

The hāri are oppressed and restless―their infamous terrorist group, the Hāreef, have a new fearsome leader. And the ruling Ghadaeans are brutal in their repression. Soon, a deadly revolution threatens their friendship and their world. The Hāreef use forbidden magic, summoning jinn―wicked spirits made of fire―to enact their revenge, forcing Jacob and Khadija to choose what kind of a world they want to save… 

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