You’re feeling rather excited to visit the Pond today. Before leaving the magical boundary of the Pond on your last visit, little Xiaolong had run after you and told you that she was planning something fun for everyone. “I wanted to start a tradition,” she had said. “And because you’re our good friend, I want you to be there. Make sure you visit soon, okay?”
As you cross the boundary into the Pond, you see that little blanket forts have been erected around the Pond’s edge.
“Friend!” calls Xiaolong. She crawls out from one of the blanket forts – the blanket is a blue as deep as the sky with golden stars embroidered on it – holding a small stack of books. “Surprise!” she cheers, looking absolutely delighted. “I thought having a blanket fort party would be a great way to start the new year would be to have a big sleepover where we just read together and talk about the books we’re excited about. Look! I even made a tent for you.”
You turn around, following her gaze. Indeed, across from Xiaolong’s tent is your very own blanket fort – you were worried for a second that you had to squeeze into Xiaolong’s tiny one! You make yourself comfortable in your own fort, and glance around; it’s pretty cosy in here.
So what books are you excited about, Xiaolong? you ask.
A big smile grows on Xiaolong’s face at your question. She sits across from you, and holds up one of the books in her stack. And thus begins your blanket fort party, where she shares with you all the books she’s excited to read this year.
Friends, I went down the Goodreads rabbit hole. I thought to myself, okay, I’ll just put together a simple list of 8 books that I’m excited about! And so I did a lot of research. Five hours later, I found over 70 wonderful diverse books that are releasing in 2019 alone – and I’m still not finished looking. And I realised, oh dear, choosing only EIGHT BOOKS RELEASING IN 2019 is an impossible task.
So rather than agonise for hours about which eight books to choose, I decided to do a week-long feature of all the books I am excited about!
Welcome to Part I of The Pond’s Most Anticipated Reads of ’19
Today’s post will be about the eight sequels you and I can’t miss in 2019. The last two years have brought us the start of some really great duologies and trilogies, so it’s satisfying and exciting that 2019 will give us sequels that will carry on or conclude the wonderful stories we have seen across the years.
The series will consist of:
- Part I: Eight sequels that I’m excited to read in 2019
- Part II: Eight diverse debuts you and I absolutely cannot miss in 2019
- Part III: Eight diverse books that I’m excited for in 2019
- Part IV: Eight self-published or indie books we should all support in 2019
As a foreword, I want to emphasis how much I really, really restrained myself by limiting myself to only share eight books per list. But why eight? Well, I love the number eight, it’s lucky to me, and I need the good luck to get through and survive all these amazing reads this year.
1. The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco
Tea is a bone witch with the dark magic needed to raise the dead. She has used this magic to breathe life into those she has loved and lost…and those who would join her army against the deceitful royals. But Tea’s quest to conjure a shadowglass—to achieve immortality for the one person she loves most in the world—threatens to consume her heart.
Tea’s black heartsglass only grows darker with each new betrayal. And when she is left with new blood on her hands, Tea must answer to a power greater than the elder asha or even her conscience…
It’s finally here, friends. The conclusion to The Bone Witch trilogy. I liked The Bone Witch, I loved The Heart Forger, and I have a feeling that The Shadow Glass is going to wreck me with its epic conclusion.
Why should you read the previous books to read this: First of all, it’s about a necromancer – who can bring back giant monsters from the dead and control them. It’s about angry girls, revenge, and the blurry line between right and wrong. (Also, there’s a slow-burn romance that almost killed me.)
Releases on March 1st 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
2. Ruse by Cindy Pon
Jason Zhou, his friends, and Daiyu are still recovering from the aftermath of bombing Jin Corp headquarters. But Jin, the ruthless billionaire and Daiyu’s father, is out for blood. When Lingyi goes to Shanghai to help Jany Tsai, a childhood acquaintance in trouble, she doesn’t expect Jin to be involved. And when Jin has Jany murdered and steals the tech she had refused to sell him, Lingyi is the only one who has access to the encrypted info, putting her own life in jeopardy.
When Daiyu appears in Shanghai, Zhou is uncertain if it’s to confront him or in support of her father. Jin has proudly announced Daiyu will be by his side for the opening ceremony of Jin Tower, his first “vertical city.” And as hard as Zhou and his friends fight, Jin always gains the upper hand. Is this a game they can survive, much less win?
It’s no secret that I absolutely loved the first book, Want, which explored ideas like environmentalism, corruption, and inequality. Moreover, it was my favourite YA sci-fi read of 2017. Ruse is, without a doubt, a book that I absolutely cannot wait for, and I can’t wait to see where Pon will take the story next and what ideas and themes she’ll explore in Ruse.
Why should you read the previous book to read this: Want was a brilliant book with important and confronting social discourse, and holds up well without a sequel, but after reading Want, you’ll instantly adore its incredible cast of characters and their found family.
Releases March 12th 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
3. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse
It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things … she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a young girl with a strange clan power.
Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust … She vows to track down the White Locust, rescue Kai, and make things right between them both.
Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods, and, ultimately the White Locust himself.
Trail of Lightning, a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy with Native-American influences and mythology, was easily one of my favourite reads of 2018. So it’s great news to me, and other fans, that Storm of Locusts isn’t too long of a wait away. It’ll follow Maggie Hoskie, reluctant heroine and ruthless fighter, as she attempts to rescue her friend from new and dangerous forces.
Why should you read the previous book to read this: Besides supporting Native American literature, Trail of Lightning is a spectacular adventure that is simple at heart but has enough action and uniqueness to keep you intrigued. I promise that you’ll come to love Maggie Hoskie – to be honest, I want to read Storm of Locusts purely because of her.
Releases April 23rd 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
4. Jade War by Fonda Lee
On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.
Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals. Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.
Once again, it’s not secret that Jade City was my favourite book of 2018, so – of course! – its sequel, Jade War, is one of my most anticipated books of 2019. I’m both excited but nervous to read this; I feel so invested in this story, which is Asian-inspired, has elements of wuxia and crime family dramas, as well as its brilliant characters. If anyone kills my jade children, I will be sad forever.
Why should you read the previous book to read this: Without sounding like a broken record, this was my favourite book of 2018. Again, Asian-inspired urban fantasy! Awesome action sequences! Family politics! War! Amazing character development! Jade City is the whole package.
Releases May 7th 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
5. Not Your Backup by C.B. Lee
Emma Robledo has a few more responsibilities that the usual high school senior, but then again, she and her friends have left school to lead a fractured Resistance movement against a corrupt Heroes League of Heroes. Emma is the only member of a supercharged team without powers, she isn’t always taken seriously. A natural leader, Emma is determined to win this battle, and when that’s done, get back to school. As the Resistance moves to challenge the League, Emma realizes where her place is in this fight: at the front.
In case you don’t know, Not Your Sidekick, the first book of the series, has a very special place in my heart; it was the first book where I saw my experience represented in a book. The series is about teens in the distant future where most people have superpowers. This book will center on Emma, the superpower-less and ace-spectrum teen of their trio of friends, and I can’t wait to get to know her better. I’ve been waiting for Not Your Backup for two years, so I can’t wait to read this!
Why should you read the previous books to read this: The first book, Not Your Sidekick, follows Jess, a Vietnamese/Chinese teen and daughter of the local superheroes who doesn’t have superpowers so gets an internship to gain experience instead, and the second book, Not Your Villain, follows Bells, a trans Black teen and budding superhero who is framed for crimes he didn’t commit. If that doesn’t sound cool… I don’t know what to tell you.
Releases June 4th 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
6. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears … The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
The Poppy War was ruthless, and by the sounds of the blurb, The Dragon Republic will be even more so – if that’s even possible. Following the devastating events of The Poppy War, I’m curious as to what Rin will decide to do next as well as where Kuang will take the series next. I love myself a good anti-heroine narrative, but haven’t had the chance to read about one in awhile… I’m hoping that The Dragon Republic will follow the dark bath The Poppy War has set for it. I want to see how Rin will handle her next decisions, and how far she’ll fall.
Why should you read the previous book to read this: I think you would deserve an award if you went through 2018 without hearing about this book. The Poppy War took the book world by storm – it’s brutal, based on history (the second Sino-Japanese War), and reads like the origin story of an anti-heroine.
Releases August 6th 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
7. The Battle by Karuna Riazi
Twelve-year-old Ahmad Mirza struggles to make friends at his new middle school, but when he’s paired with his classmate Winnie for a project, he is determined to impress her and make his very first friend. At home while they’re hard at work, a gift from big sister Farah—who is away at her first year in college—arrives. It’s a high-tech game called The Battle of Blood and Iron, a cross between a video game and board game, complete with virtual reality goggles. He thinks his sister has solved his friend problem—all kids love games. He convinces Winnie to play, but as soon as they unbox the game, time freezes all over New York City.
With time standing still and people frozen, all of humankind is at stake as Ahmad and Winnie face off with the MasterMind and the Architect, hoping to beat them at their own game before the evil plotters expand Paheli and take over the entire world.
In 2017, I had the pleasure of reading a middle-grade novel called The Gauntlet, a book I’d pitch as a spectacular blend of Jumanji and steampunk! I was pleased to hear that Riazi has a sequel to The Gauntlet, which will follow Farah’s younger brother whom she saved in the first book. I can’t wait to read The Battle, and see what dangerous adventure is in store for Ahmad.
Why should you read the previous book to read this: The Gauntlet is such a delight middle-grade novel that explores friendship, that everyone has their own strengths, and the importance of determination. Though significantly below my age level, The Gauntlet was so much fun and I recommend it to everyone of all ages.
Releases August 27th 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
8. Eclipse the Skies by Maura Milan
Eclipse the Skies by Maura Milan – Ia Cocha and her fellow Cadets are continuing their Academy training at Royal Star Force Headquarters when she discovers secret information that forces her to reexamine her past and origins. Meanwhile the enemies of the Commonwealth grow stronger.
Unfortunately there’s no cover out yet, but heck I’m super excited for this book. After reading Ignite the Stars, easily my favourite YA space-opera of all time, I knew I had to get on board this series. I’m curious to see where Milan will take the story next, and I am really intrigued by the prospect of space noodles? Space noodles? What does it mean? I NEED TO KNOW!!
Releases September 3rd 2019! Add this book on Goodreads.
What can you do with this list?
- First, you can pre-order these books. (Support your local indie booksellers!)
But I recognise that not everyone is in the position to pre-order, so here are some other things you can do!
- Add this book to your Goodreads.
- Read the first book/s of the series!
- Write your own blog post about these books. There may be people out there who don’t know that the sequels exist, so talking about them always helps.
- Include or talk about these books in your book club.
- Spread the word about the book. Talk about the books in your own platforms and tell your friends outside the book communities about it!
- Support the author. Retweet the author’s tweets about their books and follow them too!
- Recommend these books to your local library, if possible. I went through my list and discovered that my library hadn’t purchased most of the books. (An injustice!)
What sequels are you excited for?
Be sure to visit in a few days to read about my list of diverse debuts that you and I cannot miss in 2019!
Wow though. 2019 is going to be such a good reading year, friends, and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to survive some of the books above — either because I have a feeling their conclusions will be spectacular or I won’t know to do with myself after they are finished.
- What sequels are you looking forward to in 2019?
- Are you excited for any of the above books as well? Let’s scream together. 3, 2, 1!