Asian authors have to struggle so much to get a chance to be published in US/UK and on top of that have to experiece racism in reviews and on social media and even discrimination in their marketing budgets – the least I can do is to read and review and promote their amazing books on my small blog and try to get so many more readers to pick up their books. And that’s why I am here to list out some books that I am very excited to read, few backlist and many upcoming, and if you like their premises, do checkout and add to your TBRs.
Indian Mythology Retellings
Despite Telugu being my mother tongue, I have never read any telugu novels and don’t even know much of the literature scene here. But The Liberation of Sita, which is a Ramayana retelling from the perspective of the female characters in the epic and translated from Telugu, is very popular and I am very excited to finally get into it soon.
I recently read Yudhisthira by Mallar Chatterjee and it was so refreshing to read the Mahabharata from the elder Pandava’s perspective. And as such, I am even more excited to read it’s companion novel Shakuni and the Dice of Doom because I feel it’ll be even more fascinating.
Sharath Komarraju’s Hastinapur series has been so much fun, with clever reimagining of the epic and now that it has moved to exploring the life of Krishna, I am having such a good time. The Song of Vrindavan was beautifully written and I can’t wait to pick up The King of Mathura.
The Reader has been on my radar for a very long time but I only purchased it very recently. It’s also pretty old in terms of blogging years, so I have not seen many talk about it in the past couple of years. But the idea of an illiterate world in which is a book is a contraband item is fascinating and I hope it will live up to my expectations.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, The Sword of Kaigen and Ninefox Gambit are some of my closest friends’ favorite SFF books and I should have read them all last year, but the pandemic disrupted my plans. Maybe I will pick them up soon.
I have been putting off Jade War for a long time, not because I didn’t like Jade City but coz I loved it too much and it gave me anxiety with all it’s unexpected twists and turns and imaginative action sequences. But I am definitely going to read it before the finale releases.
Set against the backdrop of WWII when Japanese forces sweep through China and the Chinese people are forced to flee, The Library of Legends promises to be a story of strength, perseverence and found family, also featuring some cool immortals and guardian spirits.
I don’t know much about The Grace of Kings, but the idea of two rebels against the emperor finding themselves on opposite sides after the revolution is over, sounds compelling and I hope I will find it much better than some of the mixed reviews I have seen around.
Short Story Collections and Anthologies
I’ve read one collection of shorts by Ted Chiang and two by Ken Liu, both of which left a deep impression on me, with their unique concepts and exceptional emotional depth. And that’s why these three collections are also on my radar and I hope I can get to atleast one of them soon.
The Legend of Condor Heroes
I remember seeing A Hero Born on a list of all time best fantasy, and was surprised that I had never heard of it. On research and after watching some amazing wuxia dramas, I have come to realize that The Legend of Condor Heroes series is OG wuxia and as a huge developing fan of the genre, I would love to get into this series.
Scavenge the Stars was an excellent beginning of a YA fantasy with a lot of promise of political intrigue, revenge drama, lots of twists and turns and a diverse cast, while also being a cool Count of Monte Cristo retelling. The duology finale Ravage the Dark released last month, but I haven’t gotten the chance to read it yet. But I am sure Tara won’t disappoint me.
The Aru Shah series has been a delight with it’s adventure tales interwoven with the Mahabharata and other Indian mythological stories, and it’s depiction of the bond of sisterhood always makes me smile. Aru Shah and the City of Gold, the fourth installment just released a couple days ago and I know I will love it whenever I get the time to pick it up.
A bit of a The Princess and the Pauper retelling, identical twin sisters deciding to switch places to fight deadly magic and dark prophecies – Sisters of the Snake, a debut co-authored by two sisters sounds wonderful and that bright cover makes me wanna pick it up immediately.
The first time I saw the cover of The Ivory Key, I was left mesmerized. And the story of four estranged royal siblings with their own agendas, forced to work together to find an alternate source of magic to prevent war, sounds very exciting and I can’t wait to get into this world.
Touted as a queer reimagining of the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, I have heard so many wonderful things about She Who Became the Sun, the angst in it and how it is breaking everyone’s hearts – so I guess I am just excited to get my heart broken to pieces too.
The author has mentioned quite a few times that Jade Fire Gold has Zutara vibes, especially what if Katara is the Dark Avatar and Zuko is hunting her down. Even though I haven’t completed watching ATLA, I know the basic plot and this one seems so wonderful.
A historical fantasy set in 1890s Japan and featuring a biracial British-Japanese young woman, The Keeper of Night promises to have Reapers, Yokai demons, the underworld, and a Goddess of Death. How exciting !!!!
Iron Widow may not have a cover yet but just read this blurb – Pacific Rim and The Handmaid’s Tale retelling of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history – doesn’t it sound absolutely cool and interesting. I can’t wait.
Sequels and Finales
Hunted by the Sky was a favorite of mine last year, with it’s world based on medieval India filled with gods and magic, a great ensemble of characters, and a chosen one trope executed perfectly. And that’s why I was super delighted when I got the ARC for the finale Rising Like a Storm. Hopefully I will get to it soon.
The Chariot at Dusk is a much awaited finale of The Tiger at Midnight series, with it’s thrilling enemies to lovers romance full of yearning and a heroine whose fierceness exudes from the page. I can’t wait to see what more shenanighans the Viper will get upto in this one.
You can checkout my reviews of A Spark of White Fire and A House of Rage and Sorrow to know how much I completely adore this series. A War of Swallowed Stars is my top most anticipated release of 2021 and I know I will be left in tears when I get the chance to read it.
Set in 1920s Bombay, the Perveen Mistry series features a young Parsi lawyer trying to do her job in a world where she is treated as unwelcome by her professional colleagues, and has to navigate the reality of colonial India while also being slightly privileged due to her family background. I loved reading the first two books in the series and I can’t wait to see her solving another mystery in The Bombay Prince.
I know I haven’t read Jade War yet but Jade City was perfect in it’s world building, magic system and excellent family dynamics. I remember Fonda Lee mentioning Jade Legacy will be international in scale and spanning decades and I can’t wait to see how wonderful this will be.
The Gilded Wolves series is not one of my top favorites, but I can’t deny that it has a very memorable ensemble cast and the way the author depicts the horrors of colonialism and it’s effects on people is excellent. And I’m sure the finale The Bronzed Beasts will be equally compelling and engaging.
These Violent Delights is a brilliant, angst filled, twisty Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai and I was amazed at how well the author incorporated the romance, gangster families and the developing Chinese civil war into a narrative about fighting literal monsters. And I’m very sure the finale Our Violent Ends will be equally fierce and fiery.
New Series and Standalones
Nghi Vo’s novellas completely blew my mind with her lyrical storytelling, so when I saw that her first novel The Chosen and the Beautiful would be a Great Gatsby retelling with a queer adopted Asian protagonist, I immediately added it to my TBR and I can’t wait to dive into this world.
I have only read the Monstress graphic novel series by Marjorie Liu and it has always impressed with it’s artwork as well as the many compelling morally grey female characters. So, when I saw that her debut short story collection The Tangleroot Palace will be full of unexpected detours, dangerous magic and even more dangerous women, I knew I would love it. And that stunning cover only increases my expectations.
Just look at the absolutely beautiful and soothing cover of Six Crimson Cranes. Every feauture of it mesmerizes me so much that I don’t even need to know more about the book to want to read it. But it also features a princess who has lost her home, her brothers and her voice, who has to set her kingdom to rights and embrace her forbidden magic. Doesn’t it sound wonderful ?
A Treasure Island retelling but set at a time when the golden age of piracy in the South China Sea has ended, A Clash of Steel sounds like it will be a super fun adventure and having a cute cover definitely helps.
According to the author, The Jasmine Throne is an Indian-inspired, multi-pov epic fantasy about a vicious princess and a maidservant who fall in love, and what it takes to make an empire burn. Isn’t that a compelling premise? And I completely trust that Tasha’s book will impress me in every possible aspect.
In the novella In the Watchful City, the author explores borders, power, diaspora and transformation and I am very excited to experience this unique story. I have only read one short story by the author before but it completely gutted me, so I am well prepared for something very similar with this as well.
Titanic is one of my all time favorite movies, so a historical fiction novel set during the ship’s voyage and featuring twin British-Chinese acrobats sounds exactly like my cup of tea and I hope I will get to read Luck of the Titanic very soon.
A contemporary fantasy set in Malaysia, Black Water Sister promises to be a story of gods, ghosts and family secrets in which the protagonist has to regain control of her body and destiny. I don’t read a lot of contemporary stories, but I fell in love with this cover and hope it will live upto my expectations.
And that’s the end of my list. I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little about all these wonderful books, because it took me quite a while to compile it all. And I hope I have succeeded in enticing you into adding atleast a few to your TBR. If you have more Asian author recommendations to share with me, please let me know in the comments below. And also feel free to tell me all about your thoughts if you’ve already read any of these books.