I know this post is late. I’m sorry! I hope you enjoy it anyways.
Science-fiction and fantasy is the next stop on my recommendations of books written by AAPI authors.
Again, I want to state that these are my personal recommendations for books that I’ve read and loved or books that are on my TBR list. This is in no way a comprehensive and exhaustive list of the number of English-language science-fiction and fantasy books written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry. This list is literally only scratching the surface.
Some sites that I recommend checking out if you’re looking for more books written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and/or prominently feature characters of Asian and Pacific Islander descent are:
- Lit CelebrAsian
- Our Stories (Pacific Islander specific recs)
- Anjulie Te Pohe resource list
I’ve loved the genres of science-fiction and fantasy for most of my reading life. Some of the earliest books that I remember reading were fantasy novels. They were stories that took me to new worlds, introduced to a variety of different characters/types of characters, from witches to fairies to aliens to monsters, etc. They helped expand the edges of my imagination farther than I could’ve ever imagined. I continue to read them to this day because of that.
Let’s get to my recommendations!
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. Cho, a Malaysian-Brit, shakes up the British elite within this Regency-era fantasy in Sorcerer to the Crown. Britain is running out of magic, and it is up to Zacharias Wythe, a freed slave and magician, to discover why. In his search, he meets Prunella Gentleman, a young woman like no other, especially because she’s a witch, a powerful witch at that, the likes of one that Britain has never seen before. It’s the first book in the series, and if you’re like me you’ll be hungering for the second one as soon as you’re finished with the first.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is Dao’s debut novel and the first book in her Rise of the Empress series. Dao, who is Vietnamese-American, takes you into the dark and lush world of Feng Lu. Xifeng grew up with the belief she is destined to become the Empress of Feng Lu, for a price. This reimagining of the Evil Queen legend is unlike any you’ve read before.
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elise Chapman. This short story anthology brings together fifteen bestselling and acclaimed Asian American authors today. Each short story is a retelling of East and South Asian folklore and mythology. Some of the authors include Alyssa Wong, Aisha Saeed, Cindy Pon, and Preeti Chhibber. This is one of the books published in 2018 that I have been really looking forward to reading.
Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn. If you’re looking for a book about an Asian American superheroine, this is the book for you. Evie Tanaka is a great assistant; she can handle her boss’s epic tantrums and get demon blood out of leather pants. Her boss is also San Francisco’s patron superheroine. When Evie is forced to pose as her boss for a night, her dark secret is revealed: she also has powers. When a demonic invasion threatens San Francisco, Evie must become a hero in her own right or watch her city fall. This is the first book in Kuhn’s Heroine Complex series, the third book in the series is due out in July.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. Chokshi, who is of Indian and Filipino descent, brings to life Indian folklore and mythology in The Star-Touched Queen. The stars have said that Maya’s marriage promises death and destruction. When her father arranges a marriage of political convenience, Maya is livid. In her role as Queen of Akaran, Maya finds her power and voice, and a partner in her husband, Amar. Soon, Maya believes her life to be in danger and must unravel an ancient mystery to save the fate of humans and the otherworldly realm. This is the first book in Chokshi’s Star-Touched Queen series, which currently consists of four books.
The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang. Yang, who is Singaporean, weaves a silk-punk fantasy world in this series. The Black Tides of Heaven is the first book in this series and focuses on the relationship between twins Mokoya and Akeha. Given up by their mother, the Protectorate, as children, both develop supernatural powers to see the present and into the future. When Akeha tires of being a pawn in his mother’s game, he joins up with the rebelling machinists and creates a divide between his sister. Whether he can find peace and not break his bond with his sister is uncertain.
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Ninefox Gambit is the first science-fiction novel in The Machineries of Empire series by Lee, a Korean American. This is a science-fiction at its best, there’s lots of science, plenty of world-building, and a possible world-destroying conflict that the protagonist is drawn into. The book centres on the character of Kel Cheris, a disgraced female captain, who is given a chance to redeem herself. With the help of an undead general, Cheris has to recapture the star Fortress of Scattered Needles before it falls to a group of rebels. Cheris has to decide who she can trust as she fights to recapture the fortress and her career.
Sirena: A Mermaid Legend from Guam by Tanya Taimanglo, illustrated by Sonny K. Chargualaf. This is a reimaging of an old Chamorro legend about Guam’s first mermaid. The book was written by Taimanglo to honour her father after his death.
Some others to check out:
- Jade City by Fonda Lee
- The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan
- The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
- Stories of Your Life and Others/ Arrival by Ted Chiang
- The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Those are my recommendations for science-fiction and fantasy novels written by AAPI authors. Feel free to leave your own recommendations below or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram. Be on the lookout for more recommendations posts for books written by AAPI authors this month.
Thanks for reading!