If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly trying to find new fantasy titles to get excited about! (And you’re also trying to read less fantasy written by dead white men – sorry J.R.R. Tolkien! I love The Hobbit, I just also want to read new authors who are alive and well today). In this Golden Age of Sci-fi and Fantasy, there are SO MANY exciting new voices in the genre. Preorder these titles to give yourself a summer reading treat and support more diverse voices in publishing – it’s a win-win. Also, two of the Asian authors on this list have great series, so you can go back and read their other work too.
A princess who is wrongfully imprisoned and a maid hiding a powerful secret join forces against the patriarchy in this Southeast-Asian inspired epic fantasy. The Jasmine Throne has a unique magic system, incredible world building, and queer romance! One of my favorite fantasy authors Alix E. Harrow gave this first book in a forthcoming epic fantasy trilogy a rave review. She called it an “intimate, complex, magical study of empire and the people caught in its bloody teeth. It’s about resistance and power, histories both personal and political, and the heroes who must become monsters to survive. I loved it.”
I’ll also be hosting a queer sci-fi/fantasy virtual book club starting in June, and this is the first book we’ll discuss. I will also be giving book recommendations and doing general bookseller things, so if you want curated book lists, follow Copper Dog Books on all social media for more info! We’d love to see you there.
Confession time: I am OBSESSED with everything Zen Cho does. They are a master storyteller and have a way with words that is tough to find. Zen Cho can weave a fantasy tale in any world or time period.
A Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy, Black Water Sister follows Jessamyn Teoh, a reluctant medium who is suddenly thrust into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets when she hears the voice of her estranged dead grandmother looking to settle a score.
But when the vengeful spirits are strong with a will of their own, she must be careful not to lose her body – and her mind – to them.
What would you sacrifice for your own ambition?
Through dual POV narratives, this book tells the stories of Zhu and Ouyang. Born into poverty and famine, Zhu is a survivor at her core. Ouyang is eager to avenge his family who was brutally murdered by the king he now serves. Both ruthlessly clawed their way into positions of power through manipulation and bloodshed. When they are set against each other as generals of rival armies, the threads of fate that bind them are set ablaze with their burning for power and their lives will never be the same.
She Who Became the Sun is a cross between Mulan and The Song of Achilles, and it’ll leave you hurting but glad you went on Zhu’s journey.
This reimagining of the Founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty’s rise to power swept me from burning monastery to burning battlefield and crushed my open heart in its brutal searing palms. I felt blessed to be present for the entire journey. This book is an unmissable historical fantasy debut that is heartbreaking, lovely, bloody, and burns with a radiance of ten thousand suns. Subversion of gender norms, the consequences of lust for power, fate vs. free will, and queer romance make this debut an all-time favorite of mine.