These authors draw on Sri Lankan folklore, Chinese martial arts, and more to build new worlds.
The Art of Destiny
Wesley Chu. Del Rey, Oct.
The second volume in Chu’s War Arts Saga follows Jian, the not-the-chosen-one-after-all hero from 2022’s The Art of Prophecy. When Jian’s disgruntled teacher, Taishi, recruits a passel of retired grandmasters to prepare his student for one last job, Jian sets out in search of his real destiny.
A Dream Wants Waking
Lydia Kwa. Buckrider, Oct.
Poet and novelist Kwa’s latest work of speculative fiction blends Chinese myth and postapocalyptic worldbuilding. The half-human, half-fox spirit Yinhe is reincarnated in 2219 Luoyang with a mission: save the city from the faltering AI that was put in charge by the scientists of the Central Government. In this incarnation, she may find her long-lost soulmate of many lives ago.
Thea Guanzon. Harper Voyager, Oct.
“Two powerful royals are entangled in a war in Guanzon’s trope-heavy, Southeast Asian–inflected romantasy debut,” according to PW’s review. The book “will scratch the itch for fantasy readers seeking slow-burning, enemies-to-lovers romance.”
Amanda Jayatissa. Berkley, Feb. 2024
Sri Lankan thriller writer Jayatissa mines her country’s folklore for a story set in the 19th century and centered on Amara, daughter of her village’s Capuwa, or demon-priest. Their neighbors, converted to Christianity by British colonizers, have turned on the family. Amara is tormented by dreams of mysterious forces attacking the island’s men in the jungle, and is horrified when her dreams start coming true.
Nghi Vo. Tordotcom, Sept.
The fourth standalone fantasy novella in Vo’s Singing Hills Cycle sees Cleric Chih back at the abbey, only to find their beloved mentor dead and his mammoth-riding granddaughters at the gate, demanding his remains. Chih must balance respect for Cleric Tien’s memory with the need to keep the abbey safe. PW’s review said of this installment, set in an alternate Southeast Asia: “This timeless story of grief and growth is sure to resonate.”
Tales of the Celestial Kingdom
Sue Lynn Tan, illus. by Kelly Chong. Harper Voyager, Feb. 2024
This compilation expands on Tan’s 2022 duology (Daughter of the Moon Goddess and Heart of the Sun Warrior, with a total of 136,000 print copies sold, per Circana BookScan) with more stories inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess. Tan’s nine tales, accented by Chong’s black and white illustrations, take place before, during, and after those in the previous two books.