Last year, I wrote about the Asian fantasy books readers should seek out in 2021. And since 2022 is shaping up to be another great year for Asian-inspired and Asian-led stories, I figured that an updated listicle was in order.
With all that said, here are 14 upcoming science fiction and fantasy titles releasing in 2022 that are unapologetically Asian, and undeniably exciting.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Drawing inspiration from Spirited Away and Korean mythology, this atmospheric story is set in a coastal village regularly ravaged by storms and floods. Out of love for her brother, young Mina throws herself into the sea in the hopes of appeasing the Sea God as his new bride.
Release date: February 22, 2022
A Thousand Steps Into Night
In this Japanese-influenced fantasy, an ordinary girl is suddenly transformed into a monster. Determined to reverse the curse, Miuko embarks on a dangerous quest down a path populated by spirits, monsters, and a meddlesome demon prince.
Release date: March 1, 2022
A Magic Steeped in Poison
To save her sister from the same poison tea that killed their mother, Ning must secure a favor from the imperial princess. But first, she must win the kingdom’s magical tea-making competition, in which deadly court politics and backstabbing competitors await.
Release date: March 29, 2022
In this daring fantasy retelling of the Ramayana, a dissatisfied princess uses a magical text to carve a new destiny for herself and for the women around her. But as she continues to defy gods and men alike, Kaikeyi must fight for her own legacy and shape a world she believes in.
Release date: April 26, 2022
In this novel set in a unique realm of flying ships and sky cities, a servant girl discovers the value of her uncommon ability: making paper come to life.
Armed with this power, she joins a ragtag crew to become a Crafter, whose task is to hunt wild paper spirits coveted by the empire.
Release date: May 5, 2022
For fans of historical fantasy, this dazzling novel follows a Chinese American starlet who has her heart set on becoming famous in pre-Code Hollywood—even if it means contending with a system of bargains made in blood, magic, and dark sacrifices. Or trading her humanity for something more monstrous.
Release date: May 10, 2022
The City Inside
In near-future dystopian Delhi, surveillance capitalism thrives. Leading separate lives but trapped within the same rotten system, Joey and Rudra must each decide how to do the right thing in a world based on isolation and secrets.
Release date: June 7, 2022
Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation
For readers intrigued by conspiracies and cinematic plots, this sci-fi debut is perfect. It follows 12-year-old Hana Hsu, who teams up with her fellow prodigy friends to spy on the country's dominant corporation—and unwittingly uncovers a conspiracy to exploit their own intelligence.
Release date: June 21, 2022
Nura and the Immortal Palace
Set in a rural town of Pakistan, 12-year-old Nura discovers a magical portal in the collapsed mines–one that takes her to a luxury jinn hotel inhabited by the beings from her mother's stories.
Release date: July 5, 2022
The First Binding
An epic silk road fantasy, this book follows a storyteller and a singer who are on the run from powerful enemies. In a tucked-away tavern, they claim to have released the world’s first evil. But the truth is never as simple as it seems...
Release date: August 16, 2022
Babel is the world's center of translation and silver-working, the art of manifesting enchantments through deciphering lost meanings. Following an orphaned Chinese boy working for the British Empire, this dark academia novel grapples with war, colonial resistance, and the imperial politics of translation.
Release date: August 23, 2022
Monsters Born and Made
Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, this South Asian-inspired YA fantasy is set in an oceanic world filled with vicious beasts and an equally vicious ruling class. Desperate for her family to escape poverty, 16-year-old Koral cheats her way into the Glory Race, an elite-exclusive deadly chariot tournament where winning means fortune and fame.
Release date: September 6, 2022
The Genesis of Misery
Having hidden their saint-like powers in an isolated mining planet all their life, Misery Nomaki (she/they) is suddenly trapped between two dangerous, warring factions at the center of the Empire. As the voice that guides Misery grows bolder by the day, so does their worry of succumbing into the voidmadness that killed Misery’s mother.
Release date: September 27, 2022
Marikit and the Ocean of Stars
In this middle-grade fantasy inspired by Filipino folkore, 10-year-old Marikit must journey through the magical land of the Engkantos to rescue her family from shadow creatures. Her only help comes from a homemade patchwork dress, a doomed boy, and an enthusiastic insect.
Release date: October 18, 2022