Book Review

The Dragon Republic

Book Title: The Dragon Republic

Series: The Poppy War #2

Author:  R. F. Kuang

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41118857-the-dragon-republic

Release Date:  8/6/19

Star Rating:

 Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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.

I have to admit I had trouble connecting with this very popular series.  I think the main reason why I had difficulty with it was I paid a little too much attention to comments from readers and bloggers.  They opined over the tragedy and their love of the main character, but I had major issues with the main character.  Not because she was badly written, no I am very impressed with the author’s ability, but more because she is an absolute psychopath and mass murderer and does not deserve the readers affection.  Maybe I’m a little too black/white with how I feel about her but I couldn’t understand how this girl was coming off as lovable or admirable in any way.

It wasn’t until I heard an interview with the author (shout out to Reading Women Podcast btw) that I found that how I felt about Rin was exactly as the author intended.  She is a complete monster and the author explores how those in power with those kinds of qualities affect a country and a people for ill no matter what they tell themselves their true intentions are.  (sorry, I know that is a confusing sentence).  I realized I was not intended to admire Rin and because of that, I was able to return to the books, re-read them and appreciate them better.  Now I still don’t like Rin, but I have to admit she is fascinating.  I will probably re-read the novels again in the future, now that I’ve gotten over my own hang-ups about the book.  If you’re a fan of villains and how they shape the world around them, this is the series for you.

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