Am I the only one who can’t believe that we only have a quarter of the year left? Time flies so insanely fast, and it’s been a while since I’ve last talked about things that I am looking forward to before 2019 ends. Especially bookish things! Likewise, I haven’t written a bookish list in a while either.
So, put those two facts together and the result is this blog post: fourteen (14) upcoming book releases in 2019 that I am most excited for!
Needless to say, there are a lot of amazing books that haven’t hit the bookstore shelves yet, but I think I managed to successfully curate a list containing my must-have-them-right-now titles! And by that I mean: I wish these 2019 books could magically appear in my hands literally right this second.
🌟 Caster by Elsie Chapman
Caster is set in an urban fantasy dystopia where magic is illegal. Its story follows the life of an Asian teen who enters herself into an underground casting tournament where the stakes are incredibly high.
I generally go hard for Asian-authored books (and I’d like to think that that’s a well-known fact), but when an Asian book is compared to iconic titles like Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Fight Club? You best believe I would willingly donate any of my bodily organs to get my hands on it! Elsie Chapman’s next book promises to be a thrilling, action-packed story with an element of delicious mystery (aka the strangeness of the protagonist’s sister’s death), and I’m more than ready for it.
🌟 Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger
Set in a fantasy world where empires are won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle, Steel Crow Saga follows four different individuals and their respective journeys that, of course, eventually collide. In other words, we’ve got a unique fantasy adventure inspired by Pokemon.
Y’all, listen. Pokemon is the super glue that holds my family together, okay. I did not just grow up with big dreams of becoming the very best like no one ever was. Nearly all the long road trips that I’ve had with my family (including whenever they’d drive me from Pampanga to my university) involved hours of watching Pokemon episodes together. And yes, even at the age of twenty-three, I play and watch Pokemon with my little siblings.
And the fact that this book is written by a Filipino author and yet my multiple attempts of requesting an ARC of Steel Crow Saga were outright ignored? It’s an absolute crime that my proud Filipino butt will forever be salty about. But, on the bright side, this one’s coming out in less than a month! I’ll definitely be the first in line to snag a copy of this beautiful, beautiful gem of a book.
🌟 SLAY by Brittney Morris
Kiera Johnson is a seventeen-year-old Black gamer girl who develops a multiplayer online role-playing card game — a fact that she hides from everyone else. However, when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, mainstream media (and perhaps the rest of the world) begin to label the game as a racist, violent hub for thugs and criminals.
Admittedly, I initially thought this book was more or less similar to Marie Lu’s Warcross, which I found to be a disappointing read. However, upon learning SLAY‘s actual premise, I was immediately, utterly sold. Aside from its dissection of racism and anti-blackness, I am greatly intrigued by how the story will explore mainstream media’s role in promoting certain ideologies. As a Communication Research major, I think mass media isn’t widely discussed in Young Adult literature — but given the political climate, it should be.
🌟 Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo
Daughters of Nri is an epic journey about twin goddesses who were separated at birth in order to keep them safe from Eze Ochichiri, the ruler of the Kingdom of Nri. Despite their separation, Naala and Sinai share an indestructible bond: the same blood, the same face, and the same magic.
Aside from falling in love with its gorgeous cover, I am a huge, huge sucker for sibling relationships in YA fantasy! One of my recent favorites is Rin Chupeco’s The Never Tilting World, which also followed the lives of twin goddesses. So it’s easy to see why I’m highly anticipating Daughters of Nri as well! Plus, it’s #ownvoices fantasy!
🌟 Crier’s War by Nina Varela
This book is set in a fantasy world where the human race was overthrown from their seat of power by the Automae, who were initially designed to be playthings. Ayla, a human servant, hopes to avenge her family’s death by killing the sovereign’s daughter. But naturally, she falls in love instead.
Crier’s War promises a slow-burn Sapphic romance and a massive war brewing in the horizon — and I am 100% here for all of it! I’ve been lucky enough to be selected as a host for the blog tour of this book, which has been organized by Karina @ Afire Pages. I haven’t opened my review copy (shame on me, I know), but I am really excited for its release! Yes to more girls loving girls in YA fantasy!
🌟 The Athena Protocol by Shamim Sarif
Jessie is a former operative of The Athena Protocol, an elite organization of female spies who enact vigilante justice around the world. Now forced to go rogue, she leads her own investigation into the human trafficking activity in Belgrade, all the while avoiding her former teammates who have been ordered to bring Jesssie down.
I hardly ever pick up mystery or thriller novels, but The Athena Protocol has really caught my eye. I mean, an all-female vigilante squad? Women spies seeking an end to human trafficking? LGBTQ+ characters? Sign me up! Weirdly enough, I haven’t seen many people hype this title up, and that in itself is a huge injustice. I badly want this novel in my hands already!
🌟 The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao
As part of the Jade Society, Faryn Liu hopes to honor her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. After a battle with a demon, she learns that she might just be the fabled Heaven Bringer — a powerful warrior with command over an army of dragons. To prove her worth, Faryn must set off on a quest across Chinatowns and find the island of the immortals before the Lunar New Year.
The love I have for Katie Zhao is endless, and similarly, my excitement about The Dragon Warrior knows no bounds. I think I’ve lovingly screamed about this Chinese-inspired middle grade novel enough times that every person and their mother know that I’m highly anticipating its release. (By the way, if you are as excited as I am, sign up for the international blog tour and let’s shriek over Katie’s book together!)
🌟 The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
In a unique fantasy world with elemental magic, generations of twin goddesses have long reigned. But after one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy, the planet of Aeon split into two and ceased to spin. Thus, one side of the world is cloaked in endless night, while the other suffers under an unrelenting sun.
So, technically, I’m one of the early readers of The Never Tilting World, but I am still very much looking forward to this book’s release and to witness crowds of readers declaring, “OH MY GOD, RIN CHUPECO HAS DONE IT AGAIN!”
It’s going to be glorious and spectacular! Mark my words. I mean, goddess-made climate change? Two teenage goddesses just trying their best to fix the world? Arjun being Arjun? Y’all aren’t ready.
🌟 War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
In a futuristic, Black Panther-inspired Nigeria where climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable, two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other.
I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about Tochi Onyebuchi, but I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t picked up any of his books yet. Nonetheless, I am particularly excited about War Girls partly because of the sibling relationship (I think this is the fourth book on this list that features sisters!) and partly because, as self-proclaimed Marvel trash, I will go hard for anything that’s inspired by Black Panther. I also love that this story has a very sci-fi feel to it! Come on, book gods, give this to me.
🌟 Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
Annie and Lee were just children when the revolution changed their world, giving everyone a chance to prove themselves worthy of becoming a dragonrider. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, but seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet. But everything changed
when the Fire Nation attacked when survivors from the previous regime attempt to reclaim the city.
Personally, I don’t think this debut novel has been hyped loudly enough within the bookish communities, and my mind cannot comprehend why such an injustice exists. Fireborne has been pitched as Game of Thrones meets Red Rising — and honestly, what could be more thrilling than that? I feel like I’ve been eyeing Rosaria’s debut since forever! This one promises to be a brilliant fantasy adventure with dragons, intense rivalries, and found families.
🌟 Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett
Camryn Garrett’s Full Disclosure follows the life of Simone Garcia-Hampton who fears having her secret exposed: that she’s HIV-positive. When threatened by an anonymous note in her locker, Simone must decide whether she should protect her secret at all costs or refuse to let other people’s prejudice intimidate her from taking action.
I am utterly convinced that Full Disclosure is going to be an extremely powerful, life-changing novel. Especially in a contemporary society that still stigmatizes sex and sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, coming from a deeply conservative and predominantly Catholic country, knowing that a book like this exists and aims to help HIV-positive teens accept themselves means so, so much to me. I will most definitely shove this book in front of people’s faces the second it comes out.
🌟 A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
In this North African-inspired fantasy world, two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown and ascend to the Ivory Throne. Because in the Queendom of Myre, only the strongest and most ruthless rulers survive. But when an assassination attempt occurs just weeks before the battle, discovers that it isn’t just her older sister who wants to see her dead.
When will my obsession with sisters in YA fantasy end, you ask? Never. But in all seriousness, I would love to see more African-inspired fantasy in bookshelves and A River of Royal Blood sounds like an excellent addition to that growing collection. I am here for the complex sister rivalry, moral ambiguity, conspiracy theories, and death duels!
🌟 Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
In the walled city-state of Alu, being chosen as one of the three sacred maidens to join their ruler in the afterlife is not only a tradition but is also the greatest honor. When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, the beautiful Nanaea is selected. Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler, only to uncover danger she’s unprepared for.
If I’m being fully honest, the premise of Gravemaidens is so wonderfully weird and inexplicably fascinating that I just have to read it! Accompanying a dying ruler to a supposed afterlife? And actually wanting to do so? The mere thought of it makes goosebumps rise across my skin. Nonetheless, I am hugely, hugely intrigued, and I can’t wait to see how this story turns out!
🌟 Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri
Arwa was spared from an unnatural massacre only because of the strangeness of her blood — a strangeness she has been taught to suppress. Upon offering her blood and service to the imperial family, she allies with a disgraced, illegitimate prince who hopes to find a cure to the darkness hanging over the Empire.
I utterly loved Tasha Suri’s debut adult fantasy novel, Empire of Sand, and since then, I’ve been eagerly anticipating its succeeding installment and companion story, Realm of Ash. The Mughal-inspired world that Tasha has created is truly a masterpiece I cannot get enough of. There are not enough words to express how badly I’m dying to get my hands on this one!
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I’d love to hear from you!
🌻 Are any of my most highly anticipated titles on your list, too? Which one are you most excited for?
🌻 Aside from the books I’ve already mentioned, what other 2019 releases are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?