There are a variety of books out there by Asian authors. Some of them are inspired by mythology and some take place in history.This post will include spoilers for Where Dreams Descend, These Violent Delights, Girls of Paper and Fire, Girls of Storm and Shadow, and The Bronzed Beasts. Also, I started writing this in 2021, and by now, I’ve read a lot of these, so there will definitely be a part two coming to this post soon.
When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles – oh no I’m stuck in a mirror with a mysterious guy, magicians messing things up, a LI who would go to the ends of the world for their loved ones, my past is covered by a mysterious fog
Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong – a continuation of Juliette and Roma’s tale, I want to control my destiny but I’m afraid my path has already been set out for me, oh no, there’s a spy in our midst, trying to find answers but I’m too distracted by love. . .or hate
XOXO by Axie Oh: falling in love, taking risks and uprooting my life. This book is gorgeous and on the hardcover, the cover is printed right on the book under the dust jacket. I also highly recommend Axie Oh’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea!!
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao – Katie Zhao’s books are a must read if your’re a fan of academia themed novels. Jaime, Nancy’s former friend, is found dead. What follows is a stunning and twisting mystery. (Also, I recently received an ARC of The Lies We Tell from Bloomsbury, and I read it in a day. Only three more months until it comes out!!)
Brown Boy Nowhere by Sheeryl Lim – I started reading this one and never finished it!! Sheeryl Lim is a Filipino American author, and the main character of this book is also Filipino American.
The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland – centers Jasmine, who is Korean and adopted, self love is important!, cooking and excellent food, figuring out what you want to do after high school, the inspiration that can come from a Bachelor podcast, close-knit family
The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi – If I could choose any series to re-read again, it would be this one. The ending of The Silvered Serpents. . .I am not over it. Also, this is the first fantasy book series I’ve read with a Filipino main character!
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get what I want, taking down a misogynistic system, who is in control of my destiny, fully developed side characters, I’d read 10 books about Zetian, what just happened re: that ending!
The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker – I got this one back in February and still have to read it! Ren Scarborough is a British Reaper and Japanese Shinigami. This book hooked me from the very first chapter.
Jade Fire Gold by Julie CL Tan – dual perspectives, these magic powers frighten me and excite me at the same time, a hidden past, we’re meant to be enemies, but I don’t think we are, palace life isn’t what I thought it would be
Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan – I can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet! This is the finale to the Girls of Paper and Fire trilogy. At the end of Girls of Storm and Shadow, Lei and Wren were separated – that cliffhanger!
Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin – A Filipino inspired fantasy novel? By a Filipino author? Absolutely yes!! I have an e-ARC of this one I still need to get to.
Babel by R.F. Kuang – One of my most anticipated book so fthe year!!
Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.
1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.
Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.
Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?
Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire.
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen – I am so in love with this cover, and I cannot wait for this fantasy novel with a morally grey protagonist!
Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased—and not always true—divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer—unless Violet does something about it.
But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom—all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus.
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin – I’ve heard a lot of great things about this one:
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan – I read The Astonishing Color of After around the time it came out, and I remember really enjoying the writing style:
Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.
Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.
As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love… but time is running out, and fate will have its way.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan – This is definitely one of my favorite fantasy novels of the year. It felt like stepping into an enchanted forest, only to realize that the world inside wants to steal you forever – and this world will allow you to create your own destiny.
The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman – four perspectives, racing to find an artifact, will there be betrayal?, who killed my mom?, what does it mean to be a leader?, why aren’t others questioning our leaders?
Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho – I love seeing authors branch out into different genres! This is a contemporary romance novel centering around prom – I definitely want to get to this one soon because my prom is next weekend!
The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim – the cover for this one is coming out next week! This is a contemporary romance novel about Zahra Khan, a Bangladeshi American teenanger.
Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.
Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.
But life—and boys—can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra realizes sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.
Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad – I’ve been following this one for a while. This book is about four sisters and their relationship with each other, as well as their father’s business, The Songbird Inn.
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li – I’ve seen this one all over social media, so I want to get to it soon. This book is about a group of Chinese Americans who’s goal is to return art stolen by colonizers to the rightful owners.
Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim – A new heartfelt novel about the power of loneliness and the strength of love that overcomes it by critically acclaimed author Roselle Lim.
Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.
In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.
Only a Monster by Vanessa Len – I flew through this book in one day. I feel like I haven’t read many time travel themed novels in a while, and I greatly enjoyed Joan’s story. This book is unke any novel I’ve read this year.
The Red Palace by June Hur – I read an e-ARC of this one at the end of 2021, and so far, it’s my favorite of June Hur’s novels. Currently, it’s on my TBR to re-read. If you’re looking for a historical novel, I highly recommend June Hur’s – I love her historical notes at the end.