The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang
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.
Book Review ★★★★★
I freaking love Rin. She is not even remotely perfect, and she makes horrible decisions and is sometimes ridiculously frustrating. and yet, I’m obsessed! She is one of the most complex characters I have ever read. She’s done some seriously messed up stuff, and I’m still rooting for her and will continue to do so in the next book (whenever it comes out, that is!)
I’m not going to lie. I’m not the biggest fan of war strategy and prolonged battle scenes. And there was a lot of that in this book. I don’t think it ever truly took me out of the story because I was bored, but instead it had me in awe. I’m so impressed with how much research I’m sure had to go into this book. It’s kind of crazy. There were so much naval war strategy talk where I was somehow not completely (?) lost.
I will say I love how complicated the war/enemy is in this book/series. “Who is the bad guy?” is definitely a questions worth asking while you read it. What are people’s true motivations? Who’s side are they on? Nothing is simple and nothing is black and white.
Rin takes awhile to ask these questions. Her growth in this book was just as good, if not better, than the last. She is so freaking frustrating! but not without reason. All of her actions have a clear source of motivation (even if she refuses to acknowledge it) Rin at the beginning of the book is a drastically different person than Rin at the end. I’m so proud of my lil bb Speerly. I’m so ready to watch you burn down all of those who deserve it the most.
It took me longer than usual to read this book, that is 100% due to the fact that I did not want it to be over. I’m legit mourning the fact that I have to wait who knows how long for the third book in this series.
I know the wait will be worth it but I am s u f f e r i n g from Rin withdrawls right now.
*Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Voyager for this review copy!