12 Asian-Inspired Fantasies Coming Out Late 2018 & Early 2019

asian inspired books


I don’t usually make lists of books, but I’ve decided that this is going to happen more because there are just so many books that I need to scream about!!

Also, this is kind of late regarding the fact that this is #PrideMonth and not #AAPI month anymore, but it’s never too late to scream about Asian books!!!

Anyways, I was just thinking about all of the Asian-inspired fantasy and how EXCITED I am for all of them and!!!

I was debating making a Twitter thread or a Goodreads list but a Goodreads list probably wouldn’t get as much attention and a Twitter thread would get buried in all of the cat pics I retweet, soooooooo blog post?

Also I’m deeply sorry for all of your tbrs because you all better be adding all of these books to your tbr shelf!!!

{these are sorted by release date chronologically and all covers link to goodreads!}


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A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman — release date 6/26/18

  • This is an anthology of 15 different SFF stories using the mythology of East and South East Asia and one of the contributers is RENEE AHDIEH?? I’M IN LOVE ALREADY.

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna — release date 9/4/18

  • This is inspired by the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic of ancient India as well as other Indian stories and?? it’s basically a space opera?? about kingdoms and taking the throne?? I’m actually so freaking EXCITED AHHHH.

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig — release date 9/25/18

  • The author said that the story is inspired by France & Southeast Asia and that the main character is bipolar aaaaah! This is about Jette, who can see the souls of the dead & bind them to items, essentially making “puppets.” ALSO APPARENTLY IT TACKLES COLONIALISM SO. (I actually have a copy of this and I’m SO EXCITED.)


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Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa — release date 10/2/18

  • This involves Japanese legends and lore and it’s about this Scroll of a Thousand Prayers that has the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea which can grant wishes and??? THE COVER IS EXCELLENT AND I WANT IT.

Girls of Paper and Fire — release date 11/6/18

  • The setting is inspired by east and southeast Asian culture and I’VE ALREADY READ THIS AND IT WAS FIVE STARS. It’s about Lei, who is chosen as a “Paper Girl” and falls in love with another concubine and just. It’s splendid. GO PREORDER PLEASE.

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix — release date 11/6/18

  • It’s the second part of a duology (the first book was Forest of a Thousand Lanterns) and I’m pretty sure this is based heavily off of East Asian culture, mainly Chinese. The first book is a retelling of the story of The Evil Queen.


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Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean — release date 11/6/18

  • Based off of Japanese folklore, the main character is a freaking yōkai!!! And she’s entering this competition to become the next empress where yōkai are banned!!! I need this like I need air!!!

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri — release date 11/13/18

  • This is inspired by the Mughal era of India and IT LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL. And according to this review, it’s like a mashup of The Wrath and the Dawn, City of Brass, and A Crown of Wishes?? I’ve only read The Wrath and the Dawn but I’M STILL SO EXCITED.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu — release date 1/8/19

  • I’m not too sure what this is inspired by, but I mean. Look at that. ASIAN MODELS ON COVERS I LOVE IT. This is about sisters betraying sisters in trying to claim the throne and there’s magic and shapeshifting (!!)


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Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee — release date 1/15/19

  • Ah yes. ANOTHER SPACE OPERA. BASED OFF OF KOREAN MYTHOLOGY. The main character comes from a long line of fox spirits and she’s basically not allowed to show any sign of her Fox magic… until she RUNS AWAY to try and find her brother who apparently abandoned his post in the war.

Ruse by Cindy Pon — release date 1/22/19

  • The sequel to Want, this is narrated by Lingyi who is a sapphic hacker (!!!). This is a science-fiction near-future world and I’m pretty sure it’s set in future-China & Taiwan!! I know this is technically not fantasy but I’m hyped!!!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon — release date 2/26/19

  • I’m pretty sure this is the only one on the list by a white author! This is pitched as a diverse feminist retelling intertwined with Japanese mythology, with themes of Eastern and Western dragon folklore, alchemy, and more. I SAW THAT THIS IS A REALLY THICK BOOK AND THAT COVER IS AMAZING AND THIS AUTHOR IS WELL-KNOWN SO I’M POSITIVE THIS WILL BE GREAT.


here are two more without their covers released yet!!

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani — release date 9/25/18

  • This book seems like it’s taking inspiration from Japanese mythology or possibly the anime, Death Note, and it’s set in modern day Japan (so an urban fantasy!!) and the main character can COMMUNE. WITH DEMONS.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal — release date 5/14/19

  • I’m not sure about the Asian influences in this book, but I heard that there’s mythology involved from one of the reviews soooooo I’M EXCITED. I LOVE THE AUTHOR AND THIS SOUNDS SO BEAUTIFUL AND FANTASTIC. Apparently it’s basically a mashup of The Hunger Games & Lord of the Rings!!


Tbh I’m probably screaming about Asian books every single second of my book blogging life, but I have no regrets.

I just want to say that fall 2018 and early 2019 will be glorious because of all of these beautiful and wonderful asian-inspired fantasies!!! Ahhhh!!

My TBR is officially dead. It’s dead.

tell me your thoughts 2

Are you guys anticipated for any of these? Which ones are you most anticipated for? Are there any other Asian-inspired fantasies coming out this year/next year that I missed? Is your TBR officially dead now?



      LSdkflsjf I actually loved it so much? It was so freaking good and I just!!!! Can’t. (be prepared) Also same though?? I always cry at these 2019 releases because like. WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT THIS LONG.

      Tysmmmmm ❤


  1. Well I am very glad you decided to do a blog post, because I probably would have missed your tweet and I would have been SO sad.
    THANK YOU for all of the wonderful recommendations! Heidi Heilig’s new book sounds amazing and inspired by FRANCE TOO?! I DO NEED IT VERY MUCH OKAY. I’m also so impatient to read Girls of Paper and Fire, that book sounds incredible and the cover is ahhhhhhhhhhh I am so very much in love with it okay. SAME about Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, loved the first book and I can’t wait to get back into the author’s gorgeous writing style and world-building. Empress of All Seasons also sounds quite cool!! AND WE HUNT THE FLAME I am already screaming about that book as well, it sounds absolutely INCREDIBLE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahaaa true though! Heidi’s book sounds so FANTASTIC and especially since it’s like a fusion of cultures type thing?? YES. The cover for GOPAF is amazing and I love it so much and I JUST LOVE THE MODEL ON THE COVER AND IT’S DONE SO WELL AND AHHH.

      I haven’t read FOTL even though that’s been one of my most anticipated ooooops?? I’M GOING TO READ IT SOON, I PROMISE. I KNOW RIGHT? I love the author of We Hunt the Flame’s twitter so much, and their book sounds amAZING.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YAAAAYYYYYY!!!! THERE ARE SOOO MAANNYY BOOKS I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT! I have to read all of them and my tbr is now a lot bigger! These recommendations are amazing and I need these books!! YAY!! I’m literally so excited right now! #AsianPower xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. DON’T BE SCARED! NOBODY COULD NOT LIKE YOUR POSTS!I don’t think that many people knew about these books but I loved seeing a whole list of books in one place! I hope I get to read them when they publish! Definitely! xx❤️😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg I love this post!! ❤ I'm definitely adding so many of these books to my TBR. (And haha, yes, my TBR is officially dead now. There's no way I can read all the books in my TBR, but a girl can dream, right?) :') Anyway, I'm especially excited to read Girls of Paper and Fire; I've heard so many good things about it!! 🙂

    Thank you for making this post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Julianna!
    Being Asian myself, I absolutely love reading books with Asian MCs and/or in an Asian setting. Definitely going to keep these in mind.
    Love your graphics by the way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To be honest, I haven’t heard about most of these books, but they have now made their way to my tbr. This is really an amazing post, I’m so glad you decided to do it on your blog instead of Twitter or Goodreads.

    A Spark of White Fire and Dragon Pearl both sounds incredible, I love space operas so it’s not weird that those two are the ones that call to me more. Thanks for all the recs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great!! Thank you, I wanted more people to be able to see it and for them not to be buried??

      Ahahaa I haven’t read many space operas but they sound fantastic so I want to see them?? I hope you love A Spark of White Fire & Dragon Pearl!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I WANT WE HUNT THE FLAME SO MUCH!! (also that author can do everything omg she’s so talented!!)

    IM EXCITED FOR ALL THESE BOOKS BUT MOSTLY GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE!! just give me all the asian fantasies pls!! also empress of all seasons sounds super good…would looove to get an ARC…oop already have one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SAME. THE COVER IS ALSO SO BEAUTIFUL I’M CRYING. (the author is soooo amazing she does web designs and blogs and just whoa!!!)

      I KNOW RIGHT GOPAF LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL. ILSA how dare you brag when I don’t have an arc this is an attack

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’M EXCITED. THESE ALL LOOK SO SO GOOD!! And I think I have literally all of them already added?! 😂 Except I’m still debating about Priory of the Orange Tree because I LOVE the title, love that there is a dragon right there (!!) and love the mythology sounding behind it…buuuut…It’s like 4985498 million pages long.😂Save me. I saw people lugging around ARCs in photos on twitter and woah. But anyway! So excited for Girls of Paper And Fire and Heidi Helig’s new book and also Shadow of the Fox!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG. YOU HAVE ALL OF THEM ADDED CONGRATULATIONS (I don’t think I even had all of them added before this post lmao) Also yes Priory looks sooooo intimidating and so long and I’m scared that a lot of it’s filler ahahaa. But it looks really interesting too. GOPAF is amazing, please read it and tell us all of your thoughts!!


  8. WE HUNT THE FLAME – OMG OMG I’M SO EXCITED FOR THAT BOOK!! And you’ve introduced me to a lot of Indian mythology inspired books that I didn’t know were coming out which is awesome and i’m going to add it to my goodreads list ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally thought my TBR was under control, but you totally just added so many more to it. I already had a few of these on my TBR, but I added quite a few more tonight. This was an amazing list, and all the space operas???? Wonderful list, and thank you for adding more amazing books to the TBR I’ve now officially given up. XD


  10. THESE ALL SOUND SO AMAZING BRB GOTTA ADD THE ONES I DIDN’T KNOW YET TO MY TBR I’m just so happy that more and more diverse fantasies are being published?? Like even if publishers don’t care about rep don’t they want some variation all those Western fantasies were getting boring especially the ones based on Europe in the Middle Ages please stop or all the blatant LOTR rip offs sdkgj Be original people.
    I’m just so glad that contemporary isn’t the only genre with diversity and rep in it anymore! (okay there was always SOME diversity in other genres but not much)


  11. Oh my god. I can’t believe I just stumbled across this post now!

    Coincidentally, I recently compiled a list of Asian-inspired fantasies, too! I ended up with 35 new titles to watch out for, and like you, my TBR is dead in some fantastical ditch in a magical realm. Great post!


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