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.
Review: 4 Stars
The Dragon Republic is the highly anticipated sequel to The Poppy War which was one of my favorite reads of 2019 so far. I am so thrilled that I got my hands on a copy of The Dragon Republic because I love the characters of this series and needed more of their story. In this installment many of our favorite characters are back to face both new and old enemies.
While the first book was incredibly difficult to summarize as it took place over a period of years and so much happened, this book was a little different in that aspect, as it focused on political and military issues. The first book also introduced us to so many characters and Rin went through quite a lot of change, where in this book we know everybody and while they do grow and change, it didn’t feel as drastic. This book is primarily a military fantasy, and while I loved that part of The Poppy War, I also really loved the military school setting and watching Rin struggle to discover who she was and what she could do. Of course with any sequel you expect it not to be as great as the first book, and where The Poppy War absolutely blew my mind, The Dragon Republic was a great continuation.
“Because when you have this much power, it’s selfish to sit on it just because you’re scared.”
I felt like we got to know some of the other members of the Cike better, like Chagan and Ramsa. I love this ragtag mix of shamans, Chagan always calls Rin out on her stubborn bullshit and Ramsa was a great comic relief. We also gt to know Kitay a bit better. I really enjoyed seeing him become more of a main character because he is so intelligent and cunning and I felt like having him as more of a central fixture really added to the plot. I also thought that the book did a great job representing drug addiction and what it is really like, without demonizing it too much. Rin struggled hard against her opium addiction and I’m so glad that aspect of the story was done well.
The nice thing about opium was that once she’d inhaled it, everything stopped mattering; and for hours at a time, carved out into her world, she could stop dealing with the responsibility of existence.
The thing that I love about this series is that the writing is so great that the books are so compulsively readable. I devour these 500 to 600 page books in absolutely no time at all. I am so attached to all of these characters and I love the story lines. I feel like I am constantly searching for high fantasy books like this with amazing character development and intricate plots set in worlds that feel real, have layers of political issues and compelling fantasy elements. While The Dragon Republic wasn’t as amazing as The Poppy War it was still an incredible read. I am glad that this isn’t the end of the series, but sad that I have to wait for the next book in the series, because I got to read this book right after finishing The Poppy War.