It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Month! We at Bookstr have created an amazing series dedicated to spotlighting AAPI authors in specific literary genres. This week is one of my favorites—fantasy! There is something intrinsically uplifting about the fantasy world, and those who hale of AAPI descent do the genre so much justice it’s unreal! (See what I did there?) Add in the bits and pieces of their culture and history to the beautiful worlds they create, and I’m a goner. Without further ado, check out this list of amazing AAPI fantasy authors and their novels!
Hur is a California native with immigrant parents from Korea. Her impressive educational background includes a BA in English Lit from Harvard and an MFA in Creative Writing from Notre Dame, where she won the Sparks Fellowship and won the Sparks Prize. She has two novels, The Queen of K-Town (2007) and Folklorn (2021), the latter of which was one of “The 30 Most Anticipated SFF Books of 20201” by tor.com.
Folklorn is a novel to mystifying in its genre-bending that it took a true genius to write. Hur wove an SSF novel with reality, history, culture, and so much more. Just as she is a mix of two cultures, her American upbringing and her parent’s Korean traditions, her novel blends the duality of that experience into its narrative.
A talented master of SSF and Horror, Bodard has won 12 literary awards, including the Nebula, Locus, and BSFA (British Science Fiction Association). Aliette’s work features many LGBTQ heroes and heroines as she creates and even reimagines myths, fantasies, and otherworldly novels.
In the Vanishers’ Palace is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast inspired by Vietnamese fairytales that features a lesbian heroine. In her version, the beast is a dragon to whom the beauty is sold into servitude. Tasked with tutoring the dragon’s children, Yên becomes attracted to her surly master despite her attitude. Can she bring herself to love the dragon and survive the palace with menace lurking behind every door?
Andrea Stewart, author of The Drowning Empire Trilogy, is the daughter of Asian immigrants. Her debut novel, The Bone Shard Daughter, was nominated for numerous awards, including the Locus Award and a BFA (British Fantasy Award). She just recently completed the fantasy trilogy and has many short stories available through multiple publications.
An epic fantasy steeped in magic, familial betrayal, and revolution, The Bone Shard Daughter delivers that thrilling adventure fantasy lovers crave. The Emperor practices bone shard magic to maintain his reign over the empire. His daughter practices in secret when she is cast aside as the heir. Revolution knocks at the palace gates, and she must decide not only her future but that of her people.
This woman can write a fantasy story like no other. Her educational background is astonishing, and her novels are stunningly intrinsic. She has degrees from Cambridge, Oxford, and Yale, and Dr. Kuang puts those Masters’ and Ph.D. (in pursuit) to good use. She has four published novels, Babel (2022) and The Poppy War Trilogy (2018-2020), and another to be published later this month called Yellowface. She is a New York Times Bestselling Author.
The Poppy War Trilogy starts with The Poppy War, an epic historical military fantasy that depicts the bloody history of China’s 20th Century with a magical twist. A war-orphaned girl passes the Keju—a test to find magic—and is thrust into a bigoted elite academy. Not only must she master her gifts and survive the academy, but the gods who were long thought to be dead. As the trilogy progresses, she will have to come to terms with the potential loss of her humanity in light of saving her people in the newest Poppy War.
Lee comes with all the awards and nominations, World Fantasy Award recipient, the Locus Award, and Aurora Award, plus a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula. Which such critical acclaim, you don’t have to take my word for how adept she is at fantasy. She had nine novels and several short stories to her name, all within the SFF genre.
Jade City, book one of The Green Bone Saga, is set in Kekon, an Asian-inspired metropolis where jade is the lifeblood and magical enhancer. Gangs vie for power as a new drug changes the power-wielding dynamics of the city.
This accomplished Korean-American writer is an international bestselling author. She was also a part of the podcast “Write or Die,” which interviewed successfully published authors about their arduous publication process. She loves to encourage those around her and her audience to indulge in the Korean arts that are dubbed K-pop, K-dramas, and of course, anime!
The Gumiho duology, starting with Wicked Fox, is a modern retelling of Korean mythology. The heroine, Gu Miyoung, is a gumiho—a nine-tailed fox—who lives in Seoul, the perfect hunting ground for her mythical man-devouring appetite. After saving a human boy from a goblin attack and losing her gumiho bead, they begin a friendship that blossoms into more. Will her relationship with Jihoon mean more to her than her immortal life?
Sassy and violent—what better way to describe Blake’s fantasy? I. Am. Here. For. It! This Korean American writer is an NYT bestselling author, and there’s a reason why, she’s fun, approachable, and has some badass heroines. With 17 novels under her belt, all featuring some viscous action-packed scenes, excellent world-building, and each so unique your fantasy-loving heart will beat for her.
Three Dark Crowns is a dark fantasy that pits separated-at-birth triplet sisters against one another in order to see who becomes victorious and will reign as queen. This happens every generation, at sixteen, the triplets must battle to the death. Each sister has a unique and deadly magic that should be advantageous, but with each of them showing signs of advanced levels and some more sadistic than others, who will be left standing?
There are so many more AAPI fantasy authors that could be shared, but these are some of my favorites. Let us know what AAPI fantasy author you love the most!
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