Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Series Suspense!: 5 Sequels I Need to Read

Not everyone is a fan of book series, but I personally love them because I’m always hungry for more worldbuilding and character development and glimpses into the lives of the secondary characters (if they aren’t taking center stage themselves). Earlier this year, I did a book list featuring my most anticipated sequels releasing in 2017, and now I’m making a list of sequels to books I’ve read that are already out but I haven’t read yet. Hopefully, this will also be an introduction to a book series that you didn’t know about already. 🙂

Dove Exiled

Dove Exiled (The Dove Chronicles #2) by Karen Bao – YA, Science Fiction

I read Dove Arising, the first book in the series, as part of a readathon back in January. I first found the book at a secondhand bookstore, where the author’s last Chinese name caught my attention. The book doesn’t have very high ratings on Goodreads or Amazon, so I went in wondering if and how much I would like it. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit for a number of reasons, including the diversity (Chinese American lead and POC supporting characters!), the integration of real science from the author’s degree/background into the story, and the intense high-stakes conflict. For those who are interested, you can read my full review here.

The Disappearance of Ember Crow

The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe #2) by Ambelin Kwamullina – YA, Dystopian/SFF

If you missed my Tweet, I just got this and the third book in the series in the mail. Book 1, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, was one of the books I read for the #DiversityDecemberBingo reading challenge and I believe it’s the first book by an Indigenous author that I’ve read, sadly (I’ve since expanded my collection though!). Ashala Wolf is a very interesting and distinctive take on dystopian fiction because of the way it frames the dysfunctional society and centers environmental consciousness and spirituality. The author’s Indigenous background (she comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia) definitely influenced the portrayal of oppression, giving it the nuance that comes from lived experience. The story is also a bit of a mindfuck because of the unreliable narration. If you’re not a big dystopian fan, I’d still suggest giving this series a try. 🙂 I reviewed the first book here.

The Edge of the Abyss

The Edge of the Abyss (The Abyss Surrounds Us #2) by Emily Skrutskie – YA, Science Fiction

I totally requested this on NetGalley, got approved back in like January, and yet here I am…oops. Book 1 totally caught my attention because of the pirates and giant sea monsters and Chinese American protagonist (oh my!). I was a bit wary because the author is white, and while I didn’t feel like the rep was done super well, it wasn’t horrible either, and overall I still enjoyed the book for the plot and character dynamics. I’m hoping book 2 gives me more of the substance I wanted when I finished book 1 because I had a lot of questions about the worldbuilding and the characters’ backgrounds. You can read my review for The Abyss Surrounds Us here.

Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima – YA, Fantasy

This is a doubly sequel-ish sequel because it’s the second book in a sequel series, lol. Though I haven’t talked it about it a ton because I’ve been focusing on books by nonwhite authors on my blog and Twitter, the Seven Realm series is one of my favorite fantasy series for a lot of reasons: heart-stopping action, forbidden romance, good worldbuilding (also the main setting is a matrilineal queendom!), complex character dynamics, and as a bonus, nonwhite people in a high fantasy setting who aren’t just props or foils to white characters! The Shattered Realms series picks up 25 years after the end of Seven Realms, so it’s a pretty big time jump, but familiar characters from the first series show up, and the next generation of heroes is coming of age. Although you can technically read Shattered Realms without reading Seven Realms, if you don’t want to be spoiled for the ending of the Seven Realm series, read them in order! Shattered Realm builds on the first series by taking you deeper into neighboring nations to the Fells and beyond, so the scope is broader, and I’m really excited to explore these new places and characters. (Side note: I am still a bit salty about the mid-series cover change and prefer the original look because it’s iconic/in keeping with the previous series. Also the new covers are by the same artist who did the Throne of Glass covers, and they look too similar, in my opinion. But anyway, moving on…)

Shadowplay (Micah Grey #2) by Laura Lam – YA, Fantasy

I recently featured this series on my bookstagram, as I own both the original editions of the 1st and 2nd book from a publisher that went defunct, and the new editions of the complete trilogy released by Pan Macmillan. I read the first edition of book 1, Pantomime, back in December 2016 and was going to wait until I read the new edition to write a review to account for any changes/edits that have been made since. The Micah Grey series features an intersex, genderfluid, and bisexual protagonist who runs away to join a circus as an aerialist (flying trapeze!). The setting is a place called Elladia (located in a secondary universe) that has some English vibes too it but isn’t quite England, and it has its own mythology that is a part of the broader storyline of the series. If you want escapist fantasy, this is a book to check out. (Note: the original cover for Shadowplay is a bit misleading as the main character isn’t Asian, and I’m not even sure there is a major character who’s Asian in the series… Nor is the author Asian, for that matter.)

I realized after completing this post that all of these are SFF, which is rather predictable of me. Though that bias might also have to do with contemporary YA not being as series-oriented in general. For those who aren’t big SFF fans, I promise do blog about non-SFF books, so stay tuned for future book lists and reviews.

Also, if you want to share, please tell me about some of your favorites series in the comments! ^o^

Supporting Characters Who Need Their Own Book(s)

A common phenomenon that happens in a publishing industry that is skewed toward cis straight white people is that so often the representation marginalized folks get is table scraps in the form of side characters. Not only are they marginalized by society, they’re often marginalized by the fictional narratives they exist in. For this reason, I wanted to round up some side/supporting characters who I wished had books/stories of their own where they take center stage. For most, I’ve included either fanart or a picture I’ve picked as a fancast representing how I’d imagine the character. If you click on the fanart/fancasts you’ll see a description of the model’s background or artist credits where applicable.

Note: I couldn’t think of any side characters with disabilities that I could include in this, but if I think of any later on, I’ll add them.

the-inside-of-out

Hannah from The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne – YA, contemporary

I definitely bought this book because of the queer Asian girl on the cover. The story is told from the perspective of a cishet white girl who’s Hannah’s best friend, and it does explore a lot of the common pitfalls of allyship, but unfortunately Hannah took a backseat to the main character’s Good Intentions. Because of that, I want a book about Hannah’s side of things, about her experience as a biracial, Vietnamese American lesbian.

Risha from Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee – YA, science fiction, thriller

The main character of Zeroboxer is Carr, who’s a professional zero-gravity prizefighter and ethnically mixed/ambiguous as is common for scifi protagonists since they’re supposed to represent the end result of the “melting pot.” Risha is his brandhelm, or marketing and public relations manager, and girlfriend. She is half-Martian and of Asian descent (in an interview, the author mentioned that much of the Martian colonies was populated by descendants of people from Asian countries affected by overpopulation, so I imagine her as being a mix of Indian and Chinese) and feels like she doesn’t belong with either Terrans or Martians. Unfortunately, she comes off as kind of an accessory to Carr’s character and is largely seen through the male gaze. She’s intelligent and graceful and I wish I knew more of her perspective as someone with a hybrid identity, an experience I relate to a lot as an Asian American.

Nara from The Prophecy Trilogy/The Dragon King Chronicles by Ellen Oh – YA, fantasy

Nara was one of my favorite supporting characters from the Prophecy trilogy. She’s a fox demon whose greatest desire is to experience being human. I wanted to know more about her background and her adventures after the events of the series, whether she had any luck finding love or companionship. (I emailed the author about the lack of queer rep in the series except for one minor character who was heavily implied to be gay, and she told me that Nara’s character was supposed to be a lesbian, but that was edited out because she was on a tight deadline didn’t want to risk getting Nara’s representation wrong, so I’m 100% headcanoning her as queer.)

Zhen Ni from Serpentine and Sacrifice by Cindy Pon – YA, fantasy

Zhen Ni, the MC Skybright’s mistress and best friend, is a lesbian and I wanted to see more of her relationship with Lan and other girls. She’s a supporting character in the first book and then a viewpoint character in the second. SPOILER (highlight to see): She ends up with someone at the end of the series but there’s very little about the details of her relationship and how she got into it, just a brief summary of it as she tells it to Skybright. She also raises an adoptive daughter who’s a demon, and I wanted to know more about her mothering adventures. END SPOILER

Raffaele Laurent Bessette from The Young Elites Trilogy by Marie Lu – YA, fantasy

My favorite gorgeous queer guy. I want to know more about his relationship with (and sadly, one-sided love for) Enzo prior to the events of The Young Elites and what he’s up to after the events of The Midnight Star. Raffaele is a sex worker, and while his clients include men and women, the author’s out-of-text comments seem to point to him being gay. I originally read him as bi though, maybe because I really want bi rep. (On a related note: I was disappointed by the way sex work was treated by the narrative in The Young Elites. During a conversation between Adelina and Raffaele, it was said that nobody would ever choose to be a sex worker, which erases the agency of sex workers who aren’t trafficked/coerced into the work. I want more narratives that are nuanced and center sex workers and portray the diversity of experiences they have.)

Whit Wu from The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee – YA, contemporary, magical realism

Stacey Lee took a departure from her established pattern by not featuring a Chinese American protagonist in The Secret of a Heart Note. However, one of the supporting characters is the handsome and talented Asian (most likely Chinese or Taiwanese based on the last name) American soccer player, Whit Wu. It was mentioned during the narrative that Court, Mim’s crush, got a magazine cover shoot because he looked more “all-American,” i.e. white, even though Whit is the more skilled player between them. I really want more stories about Asian Americans playing sports and kicking ass and the struggles they face because of stereotypes. A fictional Jeremy Lin, you might say.

Daphne Richards from Timekeeper by Tara Sim – YA, steampunk/alternate historical fiction, fantasy

Although the main character of Timekeeper is white, there is a supporting character who, like the author herself, is biracial white and Indian and white-passing. That would be Daphne, who is an extremely competent clock mechanic and a total badass who rides around on a motorbike flouting society’s rules about how women should dress and act. Since the story is mostly told from Danny’s point of view, we don’t get to see much of Daphne’s inner world as a WOC. However, the second book of the trilogy, Chainbreaker (coming later this year!), will be set in India, so I’m hoping Daphne will be there and play a larger role in the events.

Bucket from Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger – NA, urban fantasy

As I mentioned in my review, Last Call has a very diverse cast across the board. Bucket is a trans guy who befriends the protagonist Bailey, and he already transitioned prior to the events of the book, so his storyline isn’t about transitioning. There is one scene where he discloses to Bailey that he’s trans, and it’s written in a way that’s hilarious but not at the expense of trans people. It was probably one of my favorite scenes in the book. Bucket is very much a comedic relief type character, but I’m sure he has his inner demons somewhere, and it would be cool to learn more about how he got into the demon-fighting business. Also, he works at a gay bar, so delving more into that setting as it relates to the story would be a bonus.