Bestselling author Piper J. Drake is probably most well known for her edgy contemporary romances, though she’s written in many different genres during her prolific career. But her latest upcoming novel feels like an exciting departure from what many readers likely expect from her.
A paranormal urban fantasy, Wings Cursed and Bound mixes modern magic with ancient lore to tell the story of Peeraphan, an ordinary woman who discovers she is actually Kinarree, a mythic bird princess of ancient Thai lore long thought extinct. And when she is entrapped in a deadly curse, she’ll find herself swept into a world of myth that she never knew existed—where she must learn to wield powers she can’t even entirely explain, and find her own kind of magic deep within herself.
Described as perfect for fans of authors like Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer Armentrout, the story intermingles traditional fairytale tropes with Thai and Southeast Asian mythology to create something original and compelling within the contemporary fantasy space.
Here’s how the publisher describes the story.
My wings unbound, I am the Thai bird princessThe kinnaree And no matter the cost, I will be free.
Peeraphan Rahttana lives her life in Seattle, unaware of the complicated magical world spinning just beyond the shadows and mist…until a violent clash outside her dance rehearsal has her literally whisked off her feet. Her darkly brooding rescuer, vampire Bennet Andrews, claims to represent a secret organization dedicated to locating objects of myth and magic, tucking them safely away where they can do no harm?but he’s too late to save Peeraphan from a deadly curse.
Yet Peeraphan isn’t what she seems. Wings unbound, she’s a Thai bird princess of legend…and while the curse won’t kill her outright, it’s only a matter of time. Determined, Bennett sweeps Peeraphan deeper into a supernatural world far beyond anything she ever imagined in a desperate bid to find a solution…and an explanation for the powers even she doesn’t know how to define.
Her world may have changed overnight, but Peeraphan knows one thing for certain: she can’t go back to living as a human anymore. Not when she’s felt what it’s like to fly with Bennet by her side. She’s determined to keep her wings and her freedom…and defy anyone who would try to take them from her again.
Wings Cursed and Bound won’t officially hit shelves until April 2023 but we’re thrilled to be able to exclusively reveal its (beautiful) cover below—and share an exclusive note from Piper J. Drake herself that offers a bit more context about both its story and the Thai and Southeast Asian mythology that helped inspired it.
Behind the Book with Piper J. Drake
My favorite story from Thai mythology has always been Manora, as told by my mother before bed time during my childhood. It was the story of a kinnaree, a bird princess, who ventured down from their home beyond the forests of the Himmaphan where many mythic beings and magical creatures lived. In a moment of vulnerability, she was taken captive. What followed was a story of love, court intrigue, returning home, and proving true love again.
The story has inspired fine art, literature, music, and dance in Thailand. I’ve gone to see the depictions of kinnaree in the murals on the walls surrounding the ancient palace of Wat Phra Khao and I learned to perform a Thai traditional dance of Manora Buchayan in college, because of my love for this story.
The theme of Manora has roots in early Sanskrit texts, some dating back to the third or fourth century CE. Versions of the story were created in various regions of Thailand over time. The love story of Suthon and Manora is also known in Lao, Khmer, Mon, Shan, and Burmese literature and traditional performances.
The art of storytelling, especially oral traditions, does mean stories evolve with the retelling.
I’ve always loved urban fantasies and paranormal romances. I have a thing for werewolves and absolutely felt the allure of the brooding vampire. I played chronicles/campaigns in the World of Darkness table-top role playing game with friends just after college.
When I was creating a series set in the present time, filled with magic, I wanted characters who were supernatural, as diverse and varied in identity as my circles of friends in real life, and I wanted characters that reflected my identity as Asian diaspora. So Peeraphan came to be, a Thai American woman who is also a throwback to a mythical being from Thai mythology. She isn’t Manora, but the story might provide the only hints Peeraphan has to who she is and what she can do.
She’s not alone as Asian diaspora. There’s a dragon of Southeast Asian origin. There’s fox demons with origins from two other regions of Asia with differing magical abilities. There are also objects of myth and magic throughout the book with origins from all around the world.
The entire Mythwoven series spins the legends, folktales, and mythology I’ve enjoyed all my life. I hope readers will enjoy Wings Once Cursed & Bound, featuring a heroine inspired by my all-time favorite Thai mythic story.
Wings Cursed and Bound
will be released on April 11, 2023.
Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.