Title/Author: The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang (The Poppy War Book 2)
Publisher: Harper Voyager
In a nutshell:
Rin’s story continues in this acclaimed sequel to The Poppy War—an epic fantasy combining the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters.
The war is over.
The war has just begun.
Three times throughout its history, Nikan has fought for its survival in the bloody Poppy Wars. Though the third battle has just ended, shaman and warrior Rin cannot forget the atrocity she committed to save her people. Now she is on the run from her guilt, the opium addiction that holds her like a vice, and the murderous commands of the fiery Phoenix—the vengeful god who has blessed Rin with her fearsome power.
Though she does not want to live, she refuses to die until she avenges the traitorous Empress who betrayed Rin’s homeland to its enemies. Her only hope is to join forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who plots to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new republic.
But neither the Empress nor the Dragon Warlord are what they seem. The more Rin witnesses, the more she fears her love for Nikan will force her to use the Phoenix’s deadly power once more.
Because there is nothing Rin won’t sacrifice to save her country . . . and exact her vengeance.
Verdict: Definitely not a one-hit-wonder!
Oh wow. Wow. R.F. Kuang is a fantastic storyteller. I thought The Poppy War was great, but this…this took great to a whole new different level.
The sequel brings us back to where it ended, the end of the Poppy War 3. Rin is looking for an escape, a relief from its aftermath and what she has done in the war. At the same time she couldn’t just sit and wait for something to happen, especially not after what the Empress has done. Rin wants vengeance but she can’t do it alone, not when she can’t trust herself with her God. Enter the Dragon Republic.
But of course this isn’t an easy collaboration. Priorities differ, self interests get in the way, loyalties uncertain, trust becomes an issue. Is everyone who they say they are? Is everyone in the same boat? (Sorry, please forgive the pun)
This is not as plot-driven as its predecessor, but more character focused, which I like because I enjoy getting to know my characters better. I can’t help loving the Cike. I want to keep them safe at all times but alas their little shaman hearts hunger for blood.
And Kitay! I love intelligent, loyal Kitay. And I enjoy getting to know Rin through the challenges she faces as a soldier, a commander and a friend. I feel her anger, her frustration, confusion, and vulnerability. Her loyalty, power and passion are her asset as well as her liability. She keeps falling and failing, yet she keeps going!
I got to know the characters better; love some, loathe some, especially those who cloaked themselves so well in sheep’s clothing. Some of the characters I love were killed off. Yup. I was devastated!
This is a once-you-start-you-can’t-stop kind of book. Be prepared for a wild ride and some jaw-dropping moments. Some parts made me gasped so loudly that my 2yo asked me, what’s wrong mommy!
Now, the agony of waiting for the final installment. Please don’t make us wait too long, Kuang! I want to read more about Moag! I’m already liking her crew!
Thank you Netgalley and Harper Voyager for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? If you haven’t read it, do you intend to? Please share with me your thoughts!
Last but not least, thank you for stopping by! May the power of good books be with you always!