With the amount of new books beings released every week, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Honestly, I can’t even keep track of every book coming out, especially if you also consider all the new indie releases. That’s why I made a list of nineteen science-fiction/fantasy books from Asian authors that caught my eye. All of these books will be released this year or are already out. I’m super excited for most of them and am curious about the rest. Which ones will you add to your TBR?
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflecting in Water by Zen Cho
Release date: June 23rd
A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Release date: August 11th
The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.
Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all.
We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal
Release date: July 7th
Zafira is the Hunter, braving the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those who defy his autocratic father, the sultan. She must hide her identity. He mustn’t display compassion. But when both embark on a quest to uncover a lost magic artifact, Zafira and Nasir encounter an ancient evil long thought destroyed—and discover that the prize they seek may be even more dangerous than any of their enemies. In We Free the Stars, Zafira and Nasir must conquer the darkness around—and inside of—them.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Release date: Fall 2020
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
Release date: June 2nd
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide
Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa
Release date: April 2nd
Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.
Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.
But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.
The Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee
Release date: June 23rd
Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.
And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.
Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.
Rebelwing by Andrea Tang
Release date: February 25th
Business is booming for Prudence Wu.
A black-market-media smuggler and scholarship student at the prestigious New Columbia Preparatory Academy, Pru is lucky to live in the Barricade Coalition where she is free to study, read, watch, and listen to whatever she wants. But between essays and exams, she chooses to spend her breaks sweet-talking border patrol with her best friend, Anabel, in order to sell banned media to the less fortunate citizens of the United Continental Confederacy, Inc.
When a drop-off goes awry, Pru narrowly escapes UCC enforcers to find that her rescuer is, of all things, a sentient cybernetic dragon. On the one hand, Pru is lucky not to be in prison, or worse. On the other, the dragon seems to have imprinted on her permanently, which means she has no choice but to be its pilot.
Drawn into a revolution she has no real interest in leading, Pru, Anabel, and friends Alex and Cat become key players in a brewing conflict with the UCC as the corporate government develops advanced weaponry more terrifying and grotesque than Pru could have ever imagined.
Empress of Flames by Mimi Yu
Release date: May 12th
Princess Lu knows that the throne of the Empire of the First Flame rightfully belongs to her. After all, she is the late Emperor’s firstborn and has trained for the role all her life. And she can’t forget made a promise to shapeshifter Nok, the boy she came to love, to win justice for his now powerless people. But even with an army at her side, Lu will need to face down a major obstacle: the current sitting Empress, her once beloved younger sister, Min.
Princess Min used to live in Lu’s shadow. But now she can control a powerful, ancient magic, and she’s determined to use it to forge her own path and a strong future for the Empire, even if that means making enemies in court. But Min’s magic isn’t entirely under her control, and she must learn how to tame it before it consumes her . . . and the entire realm.
Lu and Min are set for a confrontation that can’t be stopped. But the Empire faces threats greater than their rivalry, and even if they choose to stand together, it could cost them both the throne-or their lives.
Malice by Pintip Dunn
Release date: February 4th
What I know: a boy in my school will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.
What I don’t know: who he is.
In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved…
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Release date: March 3rd
Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.
Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.
And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
Release date: March 24th
With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.
A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.
Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
Release date: March 3rd
Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.
And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….
Windborn by Mary Fan
Release date: February 11th
Trapped by dark magicians, the air nymph Kiri is running out of time. Like the rest of her kind, she’s bound to her homeland, and if she doesn’t return in seven days, she’ll die. Her only hope is in the magicians’ young apprentice, Darien, whose fierce gaze belies a kind heart. Despite her warnings, he helps her escape, and Kiri soon finds herself fleeing from relentless pursuers who will stop at nothing to recapture her and kill the boy who dared defy them.
With the magicians hot on their trail, Kiri and Darien embark on a treacherous journey through dangerous lands. But she soon learns that there’s more at stake than her own life. An ancient evil is stirring, one foretold to consume the world with fire. And Darien is at the center of it—though how, she doesn’t know.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on her life, and unless she can make it back to her land, she won’t live long enough to unravel the dark puzzles surrounding the intriguing, secretive young man—or stop the monstrous force bent on destroying everything.
The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh
Release date: March 3rd
In a kingdom filled with magic, Jiho Park and his family are an anomaly—magic doesn’t affect them.
Jiho comes from a long line of forest rangers who protect the Kidahara—an ancient and mysterious wood that is home to powerful supernatural creatures. But Jiho wants nothing to do with the dangerous forest.
Five years ago, his father walked into the Kidahara and disappeared. Just like the young Princess Koko, the only daughter of the kingdom’s royal family. Jiho knows better than anyone else the horrors that live deep in the magical forest and how those who go in never come back.
Now the forest is in danger from foreign forces that want to destroy it, and a long-forgotten evil that’s been lurking deep in the Kidahara for centuries finally begins to awaken. Can a magic-less boy, a fierce bandit leader, and a lost princess join forces and save their worlds before it’s too late?
Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim
Release date: January 7th
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
The Silvered Serpent by Roshani Chokshi
Release date: September 22nd
They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.
Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.
Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.
As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.
A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso
Release date: January 29th
In a nation of lost glory and fallen cities, mad dragons run amok and warlords bristle under the guise of peace. Now a woman must stop the ruin she helped create, but how do you fight what you are fated to fail?
“I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me.”
Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien’s life unfolded like a storybook. The shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart, her marriage to Rayyel, the son of her father’s rival, spoke of peaceful days to come.
But all storybooks must end. Rayyel’s sudden departure before their reign began created fractures that left the land as divided as ever.
Years later, Talyien receives a message from Rayyel, urging her to meet with him across the sea. An assassination attempt interrupts Talyien’s quest for reconciliation, sending the queen struggling in a strange and dangerous land. With betrayals in every twist and turn, she is forced to enlist the help of a con-artist to survive and save her husband from the clutches of those who would seek to use him for their gain… if he would let her.
The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala
Release date: May 26th
The Sun Mela is many things: a call for peace, a cause for celebration, and, above all, a deadly competition. For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebel spies, it provides the perfect guise to infiltrate King Vardaan’s vicious court.
Kunal will return to his role as dedicated Senap soldier, at the Sun Mela to provide extra security for the palace during the peace summit for the divided nations of Jansa and Dharka. Meanwhile, Esha will use her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to keep a pulse on shifting political parties and seek out allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the stolen throne.
But amid the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel Blades’ entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their country and to each other. Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives.
3 thoughts on “19 Asian Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books released in 2020”
That’s such an amazing list, I’ll be sure to check back whenever I’m looking for a hit of Asian fantasy and science fiction. Thanks for compiling this one!
I like Sci-Fi. I never really looked into Asian Sci-Fi before. This looks great
Have a look at the “Three Body Problem” if you like adult sci-fi 🙂