ARC Book Review: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang

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The searing follow-up to 2018’s most celebrated fantasy debut – THE POPPY WAR.

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.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. 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 sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.

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My Rating: ★★★★★ – 5 star

TWs: violence (so much, though not as bad as The Poppy War), classism, racism, rape (discussion of it and attempted rape), drug use and addiction, death, maiming

These are most definitely NOT all of the trigger warnings, though these are ones I’ve recorded. Please look into more complete lists of trigger warnings so you can decide if this book is for you.

“Brace yourself,” Fonda Lee says in her blurb for this book. And she’s right. The Dragon Republic goes all out from page 1, pushing the boundaries of its world further and introducing more major players – along with the return of some familiar ones. Secrets and betrayals abound in this book, making it not only as brutal as The Poppy War, but many times more heartbreaking.

Continue reading “ARC Book Review: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang”

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Recommendations // Four Adult Fantasies You Should Be Reading

Hello humans. Hope all of you are having a good day!

I’m officially trying to blog on a regular basis again…and I have to say, I’m excited for what I’ve planned for the blog! You know that website change I was talking about a few months back…?

Anyway, I’m really excited for today’s post! I realized I’ve been reading more and more adult books lately, and I don’t really scream about them as much as I do for YA books. So I decided to spotlight four Adult books today – all fantasies – two of which I’ve read and loved (they’re both actually on my all-time favorites list!) and two of which fellow bloggers have been repeatedly recommending (read: shoving in my face for me to read). And, of course, all of them feature diverse casts because fantasy can be diverse too!

So without further ado, I shall commence screaming. Continue reading “Recommendations // Four Adult Fantasies You Should Be Reading”

Book Review [Rewritten] // The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang

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35068705When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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**Quick note: I’ve rewritten parts of this review and given it some updated graphics. Hope you all enjoy. 🙂

My Rating: ★★★★★ – 5 stars

TWs: violence (a LOT – please don’t take this lightly), classism, racism, rape (not actually described, but extremely graphic descriptions of horrors leading up to it), animal death and cruelty, drug use and addiction, self-harm (by main character), sexism, death (very graphic descriptions of it), maiming

This is a very brutal and very dark book. Please make sure you’re in the right head-space to read this. These are all the trigger warnings I found, but I know this list is incomplete, so I recommend checking both Melanie’s and Fadwa’s reviews to see more complete lists of trigger warnings.

Thanks to The Poppy War, I got an average of three hours of sleep over the course of two days. Because I made a mistake. That mistake was reading the first few pages the day before I had to take two tests, turn in a bunch of homework, and try not to die. And then I added reading this book to the pile because it was so. Amazingly. Addicting. And thus the aforementioned lack of sleep happened.

So. It appears I have a new favorite book.

Continue reading “Book Review [Rewritten] // The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang”