Cover Image: The Dragon Republic

The Dragon Republic

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Well damn... RF Kuang is coming for your wig, your wife, your dog, your feelings, your patio furniture - she wants it all. This book is completely brutal and pulls no punches (I would say it's even darker than the first book), which I really appreciate about it. This is not a book that glorifies war or the choices that leaders make in the course of shaping the future of nations. This is a book that looks at war as a loss no matter who comes out on top, and it's not afraid to bring the horror of what is really happening right up into the reader's face. I think the highs of this book are probably higher than The Poppy War, but I do think it suffers from even more pacing issues than the first book. With those in balance, I'd land on a 4 star for this book, just as I gave the first book 4 stars.

That said, this is definitely not a sophomore slump and THAT ENDING THOUGH. Cannot wait for the conclusion of this trilogy.
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FAIR WARNING! There will be spoilers here, because some folks show up that we never expected to see again.

The Poppy War was my all time favorite read last year. It's brutal, it's grim, but it's so damn good. I read it for a book club and I think maybe five of us finished it? It's a beast, for sure.

This picks up a few weeks after the events of The Poppy War, with Rin leading the rest of the Cike on an assassination trip. That's right, the best soldiers in all of Nikan are now just mercenaries for a pirate queen.

Rin is struggling. That's putting it lightly, honestly. She's not even really holding it together after she literally burned the entirety of the Federation of Mugen, witnessed Altan's death, and is dealing with a killer opium addiction. Kuang is putting Rin through it, but in a way, it doesn't feel overly abusive? Like, Rin is dealing with these things because of choices she made. These are all direct consequences of her actions. And it doesn't shy away from PTSD at all.

We learn more about Hesparia, or, Europe. We learn about the missionaries, the outrageous racism (that honestly is accurate in regards to ideologies of the area/time). Sister Petra is the absolute WORST.

We see more of Nezha, that glorious cocky asshole. We learn more about his family.

And the Viperess. The true monster of the story. Rin's whole goal now is to kill her for starting another war and killing the only connection she had to her past.

A haunting look at PTSD following the events of The Poppy War, The Dragon Republic is an incredible sequel that doesn't suffer from second-book-syndrome in any way. I give it 5 out of 5 tridents.
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This was a great follow up to The Poppy War. It vividly details the aftermath of war. It shows us how brutal it can be for those fighting it and of course for those displaced by it. I loved these characters and while I was a bit frustrated with Rin several times, I loved her strength and resilience.  This series will be a fun one to discuss with a  book group at my library!
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“People will seek to use you or destroy you. If you want to live, you must pick a side. So do not shirk from war, child. Do not flinch from suffering. When you hear screaming, run toward it.”

I loved R.F. Kuang’s debut novel, The Poppy War, and gave it 5 stars. Kuang’s sequel, The Dragon Republic, is, believe it or not, even better. The Dragon Republic has done away with the military school of its predecessor, and has thrown us right into battle. This book is gruesome and unapologetic about its description of war and its aftereffects. This books is incredibly clever and detailed. The amount of research that must have gone into this book is evident in every page. I loved the strategies, shifting alliances, and battle scenes. This book is completely engaging right from the start.

Rin’s character development has only grown in the sequel. In the beginning of the novel, we see Rin at her lowest point. She’s guilt ridden from the events of the conclusion of The Poppy War, opium addicted, and hell bent on revenge. She and the Cike soon meet the Dragon Warlord and become involved in a scheme to kill the Empress and establish the country as a republic. Rin is only all too happy to embroil herself in another war. I really love the complexity of Rin’s character, and her internal struggle of morality really showcases her depth.  The secondary characters are equally well thought out and endearing, especially her old classmates Kitay and Venka.

Overall, The Dragon Republic is a dark, intense read that had me hooked until the very end. A worthy sequel to Kuang’s debut.

“Think about it,” Daji whispered, tracing cool fingers over Rin’s cheek. “Figure out who you’re fighting for. And when you know, come find me.”
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I DNF'd this book after 60%. It's more or less the same vibe of the first book, but with a lot less drama. I didn't really care for Rin in this book. She's whiny and helpless, and this book is a lot slower with not as much interesting world-building.
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When I heard countless people talking about how awesome The Poppy War series by R.F Kuang was, I knew I had to check it out. Despite not being the biggest adult fantasy person, I picked it up expecting to be blown away, which is what happened (kind of). I ended up loving it enough to read the second book in the series

Without featuring spoilers, The Dragon Republic picks up from where The Poppy War takes off, and I enjoyed it more than I did the Poppy War. I think the thing that makes this series such an interesting one is the way in which Kuang writes her characters. Rin, in particular, is such a layered character in the sense that there are so many sides to her. You can't help but root for her, despite the fact that she makes mistakes and does questionable things. The side characters too, especially nezha, supply some great moments - I loved getting to take a look into  his backstory, and his complicated relationship with Rin. 

The main issue I have with these books (hence the 4 star rating) is the pacing. I struggle a lot with slow books, especially ones that are slow in the beginning, which I feel like both these books suffer from. I also feel like these books can be a tad too dark for me, and I often feel like I have to take a break from reading them to read something else. This, however, is in no way the author's fault, but is something I as a reader deal with. The writing, then, is exquisite, despite its tough subject matter. 

All in all, I enjoy these books and can 100% say they are top quality, but there are certain aspects that will not let me add this to my favorites shelf. I'll look forward to the next R.F Kuang book though, since this series is unlike anything I have ever read!
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Review posted on Goodreads:

I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review

To start, I absolutely adored The Poppy War. It brought an entirely new perspective to the genre that I had never seen before, and was genuinely surprised at how compelling Rin was to me despite how often I was mad at her. It's quite possible I liked Dragon Republic just as much as Poppy War, if not more. Like the first, this book warrants some pretty massive trigger warnings for things like suicide, sexual assault, drug abuse, highly specific descriptions of war and battle scenes, and manipulation/gaslighting from a father figure. 

REMINDER: This is not a YA novel. The Poppy War wasn't either. Don't give it to a teen.

That’s not to say this is a story that shouldn’t be told. The anti-colonialist ties in this book are impossible to ignore, and the book is all the better for it. Kuang intricately reveals the threatening forces of colonization, religious missionaries, racism, and xenophobia that the Nikarans encounter. Readers view a glimpse of the tedious and horrific stripping of culture, land, and power from the Nikarans through small but significant steps until they’re almost completely lost. I’m so incredibly grateful to be reading a story as powerful as this, told in the perspective of people like the Nikarans, rather than the colonizers. 

Some fantastic friends make glorious and sputtering returns to the story. Some friends will never be seen again, and everyone’s loyalties are tested in vicious ways. R.F. Kuang definitely ripped my heart out a bunch of times over the course of this book and I’m all the more grateful for it. 

Kuang takes time and care to show the effects of all the hurt that Rin has had to endure, and it takes time. Rin has PTSD, she’s a drug addict, and she’s a teen. She’s not going to make the brightest of decisions, and she’s not going to make them at the most convenient of times. Sometimes that’s kind of how being a teen works. Because of this, the middle of the book definitely took more time and effort to read than the beginning and end. I don’t mind it though, I feel that the information and growth that happened were important and meaningful. 

Act III was simply amazing. There was so much power, fear, and desperation, I couldn’t stop reading. The massive scale of the entire scene, brought about by fantastic world building was breathtaking. There were clever plans, devious folks with nefarious goals, and supposedly benevolent leaders who could end the lives of thousands by simply breathing a sentence. Watching Rin tight-rope through these encounters kept me perpetually on the edge of my seat. I would absolutely recommend this book to others, and am incredibly excited for book 3!
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This book really did a number on me and I mean that in the best possible way. I absolutely love The Poppy War, it was one of my favorite books from last year. When I love a book so much, I often go into a sequel with a little bit of worry--will it live up to the greatness of the first one? The answer to that is, thankfully, yes. And not only that, I think this surpasses the first book in a lot of ways.

Like the first book, this one has three parts to it, each roughly a third of the book. In the first section, Rin is busy dealing with the aftermath of the events that occurred at the ending of The Poppy War. Thanks to Rin, victory is theirs. But it's a hollow one, and the war most assuredly isn't over. The Cike are in shambles and Rin is struggling with her guilt, her grief, and a sense of inadequacy to be any good to them, let alone their leader. Not to mention she has a terrible drug addiction which is slowly killing her. Rin's a girl who really needs to get herself together. But, you also can't help feeling for her, the weight of all of these things bearing down on her, and you kind of understand why it's easier to just pass the time in a drug filled haze rather then try to confront the pain of reality.

Eventually Rin manages to get herself together enough to get involved in another war. Content to be used, she lets others use her. But that's the thing--she isn't content. Rin is smart, so very smart. She's just as capable at military strategy as any of the generals she works under. Her temper and her impulsiveness get her into trouble, as does her single-mindedness and her unwillingness to compromise. Even when she does finally compromise, it's grudgingly. She's such a beautifully complex and flawed character, and I love her to pieces even when I want to scream at her. I also love all of the relationships she has with other characters in the book, which really just serve to enforce how alone she is, and how alone she's always been. She's part of the Cike, she's their defacto leader, but she still feels like an outsider there as well. It's hard for her to trust people, as to be expected. She has a really interesting character arc here, where her progress comes back to bite her later. Welp!

The pacing of this one was pretty good. I did think the beginning and middle section were more steady, but compared to the last third of the book they felt slow because things really ramp up towards the end. One thing after another starts happening and sometimes I found myself thinking 'wait, did that just happen?' and had to go back and reread because there's so much going on. There's some pretty great twists and turns and unexpected surprises, which I loved as a reader, but also left me feeling shocked and completely discombobulated. Thanks, book, for all the feelings.

I love how Kuang, once again, didn't pull any punches or try to sugarcoat things. This book is just straight up about how war is hell, humans are trash, everyone is capable of the worst kind of evil, and also no one is ever on the right side because there is no right side (see humans are trash statement). We get to see some of the worst of humanity again in this book and sometimes it's the characters we're rooting for. Let's unpack that 'no one is on the right side because there is no right side'. The 'sides' are just people who want something fighting other people who want the same thing--in this case, mostly that thing is to be in charge and shape the world in their own vision because they think they know what's best for everyone else. Power is part of that because it goes along with the territory. But what you really have here is an ideological battle played out in epic scale, and it's not until too late that Rin begins to realize this. Rin is too focused on her own vengeance and being a cog in a machine, a good little soldier, because she thinks that's all she's good for. It's a bit heartbreaking when you see her finally figuring things out, looking at the bigger picture and putting all the pieces together.

Even though this book is dark, and deals with many dark things, it's not one of those books that is grim just for the sake of being grim. The darkness in this book is very deliberate and serves a purpose, reminding us that we're not so far removed from this side of humanity. This, too, is us, if we let it be. But, even when everything is terrible there's still people willing to fight for what they believe in, whatever that may be, filled with hope for a better future. So it's not really nihilistic in any way. And yet, every side has the same sense of hope of one day bringing their vision of order to the world, and they're willing to do terrible things to get there. Hope is a great and terrible thing.

Overall, I loved The Dragon Republic, it was a fantastic follow up and it's left me a bit breathless waiting for the final book. 5/5 stars.

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The Dragon Republic is The Poppy War x10000000. The scale of the politics and action is multiplied enormously in this sequel, and the pages are full of plot twists that help to flesh out the world we're reading about.
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This is the continuing story of Fang Runin, after the… uh… the events of The Poppy War (I’ll try my best to avoid spoilers here). Rin is having a bit of a tough time with her shamanic powers, that of the Phoenix, one of the many, many gods of her people. She has the ability to call up fire, but with a god screaming in her head for the power to do it… well… it’s a bit difficult to not go a bit insane. Or, instead, to do what a great deal of people like her do to shut off most of their higher functions: opium.

The first part of this novel deals pretty heavily with drug abuse and recovery, and it was often times difficult to read, in that I have known people with drug problems, and so I truly felt for Rin here, as I have felt before for others.

The writing was fantastic. All kinds of twists and turns and ups and downs happened throughout this one, and I didn’t see most of them coming, but I ultimately sat glued to my seat much of the time. Although it took me a little more time to read than other books have lately, when I got to reading it, I was immersed and on the edge of my seat for most of my time with it. Kuang really knows how to ramp up the action and intrigue. This was a very difficult book to have to put down. Reading it when I was short on time/in a waiting room/on my lunch break was sometimes frustrating when my free time ended and I had to put it away.

The last quarter of this book was an absolute rollercoaster though. There wasn’t enough free time in the universe for how much I wanted to gobble it all down in one go. So good. Dat ending though. 😭😭😭😭😭

We got to see a few characters a little more closely, such as Nezha and Kitay, and I enjoyed that because I really liked them as characters throughout The Poppy War as well. We also get to see a little more closely into Chaghan and Qara’s people, and the nature of the bond between them, which was interesting. I loved some of the banter in this one too, usually between Kitay and Rin or Baji and… anyone, really. Rin and her relationship with both her peers and her powers was the driving force of this one for me though. Rin oftentimes makes rash decisions, and those decisions backfire realistically from time to time. There were times where I wanted to just say ‘Rin. No, that’s… no. Just no.’ at her. She is a protagonist who isn’t infallible, and I like that in a protagonist.

So, all told, I absolutely loved this one, as I did the book before it, even when they hurt my feels (maybe especially then). At times, it deals with really tough subject matter, and it gets dark AF on the regular, but then, this book is inspired by actual history, and war, famine, drug abuse are a huge part of that history. You can see a lot of real life in this particular fantasy, which hit me right in all of my feelings, and that, to me, means stellar writing.

Thanks to the author, as well as Harper Voyager via NetGalley for the review copy.
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When I was approved for an ARC of The Dragon Republic, I was so excited and relieved to get my hands on it. The Poppy War was one of my favorite (if not my #1) book I've read this year so far and I'm happy to say its sequel did not disappoint! I am amazed by this series that has so much power over my feelings and emotions. 

I've already pre-ordered a copy to have on my shelves because let's face it, those books are beautiful and I'm going to re-read them sooner or later. 

In The Dragon Republic, we follow Rin and the Cike right after the events of the first book. I don't know if I can say anything without spoiling The Poppy War. I finished this book two hours ago and my thoughts are still reeling. My mind is still in this really well-developed world and with these characters who I gave a piece of my heart. 

This story are so well-done and well-written. I have to say however that I found the FMC, Rin, annoying (especially in the first 15%) but it didn't bother me that much. You might see her described as a whiny brat making tantrums in other reviews, but honestly, I don't care. I still love her and if you can push past that, then this book is just amazing. If you like fantasy, please give this series a try if you haven't already. 

When I first started it, I wasn't sure if this series was a duology or not and with that ending it's clearly not over and I'm so happy about that! However, that means I'll have to wait who knows how long to find out what's going to happen next. I cannot wait. OMG. 

The next book I'm going to read is going to have a hard time. I mean... how can you compare to this? You just can't. 

(Thank you so much to the publisher and Netgalley to let me read and review an e-ARC of this book)
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R. F. Kuang’s follow up novel of Poppy War, The Dragon Republic was EPIC! We return to Rin three months after the Poppy war has ended. She and her team are working assassination missions for a pirate smuggler. In return Rin will receive payment with ships and supplies so she and complete her mission, but things don’t work out as she plans. 

Kuang wasted no time going in full force in this sequel. Driven by the power of revenge Rin draws her focus through angry and the only thing she wants is to be is a solider. Moving past Nikara and the Mugenese federation, we are now introduced to the Hesperian’s. The Hesperian is a race of Westerners that bring technologies, arquebuses and airships into the story. 

Told though her perspective this fast pace fully charged novel will keep you wanting more. Full of darkness, tactics, shifting allegiances, war and death this is a must read if you love fantasy.  Thank you, Harper Collins/Harper Voyager, for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 5 out of 5
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While I really enjoyed The Poppy War, there were a few things that were a bit off for me, namely I felt no connection to Rin and the violence in the book came really close to crossing a line for me at one point (which is saying something because I’ve become pretty desensitized to violence in books at this point in my reading career). 

I feel like The Dragon Republic fixed those two problems. Rin, while still nowhere near the most lovable character, became more human. While I didn’t necessarily agree with her decisions all the time, I always understood where she was coming from and why she made the choices she made. I didn’t feel this in the first book, so I was really happy with the character development this time around.

The violence was also tamed down a bit which for me, at least, was a big plus. Maybe that makes me sound like a prude. However, as I mentioned before, there was a scene so brutal in The Poppy War that I almost had to quit the book. I can see how it was beneficial to the story, yet nonetheless, it shook me. If another scene like that had popped up in this book, I probably would have had to pull the plug. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, there was violence. Some real cringeworthy moments. But they didn’t make me feel the repulsion that I felt while reading the first book.

Also, the ending to this book was badass. The last two chapters had me staying up late into the night to finish. I can’t wait to see how book three plays out.
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This review can also be found on my blog!

CW: drug use, addiction, rape, cannibalism (briefly implied), PTSD, grief and violence

1. The Poppy War – 5/5

Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. The above gif is, honestly, my end reaction at the last few chapters because boy did this fuck me up.

So, welcome to my incoherent review that will be spoiler-y for the first book!

The book picks up pretty soon after the end of The Poppy War. Rin has destroyed everything and is now basically wanted by everyone. She won the war, but her win came at a huge cost for everyone. That’s what she’s learning now.

The book’s plot was fucking insane. If I thought the first one had intrigue, this one was fucking madness. We got multiple people trying to pull Rin to their side so they can use her powers to swing the war in their favor. The biggest one is the Dragon Warlord, Nezha’s father, who she throws her lot in with once she realizes there’s really nothing that she can do. Except, really, Rin doesn’t like to be controlled in the least.

And then there’s Rin over there trying to figure out what she wants while she’s dealing with the grief of losing Altan. Now she’s the last of the Speerlies and has to put that burden on her, along with all that she’s done and seen. Which is a lot because Rin has gone down a long path, then there’s even more in this book.

What I really loved about this book was how the characters grew and allegiances were cemented. It was beautiful to read that because it was so lovely to see the survivors band together even if they don’t really like each other very much still.

Then, there’s the world. It expands so much in this book! You get to see more of Nikan and the various people who live in it, getting along and fighting as you can expect. Plus, you get to see new religions and people, like the Hesperians (who are basically the Europeans trying to colonize China and push Christianity as the one and true religion). You also get to see more and new gods in the pantheon in action as the walls are broken down.

I mean, this book was just so fucking fantastic on so many levels.

One thing that killed me was the fact that the ARC doesn’t have the character list completed. There’s a space for it, but it’s not done yet so I didn’t have that helping me out. And, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m horrible with names in books. Especially epic fantasy. I kept getting characters lost since so much happens in this book and you’re introduced to so many new people in the course of the book. So, be prepared for that! This is epic fantasy at its finest. And, unlike GRRM or Brandon Sanderson, there’s an end in sight since this is only a trilogy.

I just loved this book so much and I feel so lucky that I got an ARC of it. It’s been on my must have list since I finished the first book and now I’m just mostly dead waiting for the final book to finish me off.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced review of this book.  I also won the paperback ARC from Goodreads. That was my motivation to read these books. 

I was so excited to get the advanced review of this.

This book is book 2 to the Poppy War series. This book was so amazing!!!!! That ending!!! The world building and development was very well done. I can not wait to see where the author goes from here. I loved the characters of the story. I don't really want to give to much information because if you have not read book one, I don't want to spoil this book. I just highly suggest picking up this series.
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After being betrayed by the Empress, Rin and the Cike are on the run and in mourning. Motivated only by revenge and opium, Rin finds a new ally who promises to improve the lives of the people and help Rin destroy the Vipress. More sweeping, bloody battles ensue, familier to readers of The Poppy War. Characters from the first book return and others die. The mysterious Hesperians enter the picture, with their own complex motivations. While exciting and engaging, The Dragon Republic spends a great deal of time arranging characters and events to set up the next story and is ultimately somewhat unsatisfying. Many of Rin's choices are obvious far in advance and the casual culling of the Cike is juxtaposed with more of Rin's school chums resurfacing.
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Continuation of the poppy war series.  Didn't feel it was quite as strong as the last book, but still enjoyable, with the same level of manipulative and Machiavellian characters.  Would recommend to most fantasy/sci fi readers, particularly those who like the political and war aspects of clashing kingdoms and empires.
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I love love loved The Poppy War, so I was ecstatic to have gotten a Net Galley copy for the sequel. But 10% in and I'm not sure if the same author wrote it.

Rin may have had her faults in the first book, but I can sympathize with her and understand her motivations. But the sequel starts off with Rin as a completely different person from the one we've known. She acts like a brat despite being captain, and all she can think about is opium. She's basically a useless toddler. I get that she has a drug problem and a God problem, but pages of her wanting to get high and then getting high, is not interesting to read about. And her "I want revenge and kill everyone" thing just gets tiresome. She's no longer a sympathetic character and I found her extremely annoying. 

Worse off, there are so many inconsistencies in the story right off the bat, and the writing reads like a first draft, so cringe worthy, and not anywhere close to a finished piece. Maybe the finished copy will fix everything? Some sentences don't make any sense, the number of adverbs just shows how lazy the writing is, and why all the profanity all of a sudden? I have no issue with profanity when the situation calls for it, or if it's a stylistic choice, but characters are using them just because, and only the word "f*ck", as if it's all they know. It's like a kid who just learned their first bad word and now uses it everywhere because he thinks it's provocative. 

Last point, the story is just not interesting. Rin has a goal in mind but doesn't strategize in anyway. It just seems the author had no clue how to begin this book and didn't think through the rest of the story beyond where the first one ended. There is one scene, after which I stopped reading, where Rin threatens a woman who is helping her, that just completely took me out of the story. Rin is not a kid anymore, and after all that she had been through, you'd think she would know how to deal with people and situations better. Instead, she acts like an impetuous and ungrateful little brat, just because she has the power of the Phoenix.

I'm DNFing this at 10%, unless someone tells me it gets a lot better later. Right now, it's just too frustrating to continue. It's a shame because The Poppy War was one of my favorites of 2018. But there are better written books out there so I'm letting this one go for now.
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The only thing I liked about this book was the world building. I think the mythology and world was interesting and I really liked it. But I didn't like how they used addiction and drug use as a plot device. I was excited when Rin was getting sober around 20% into the book but then two chapters later they had her high on opium again. That really bothered me because if she's an addict shes not going to be okay with using again after finally getting sober. I understand that it's their connection to the gods, but I just couldn't get past that.
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This is my very first ARC review (yeehaw!) – thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

As with so many other amazing authors, I first heard about R.F. Kuang while attending Sirens Con this year. People were raving about her first book – The Poppy War – and I finally had the chance to start reading the series in April. On GoodReads, Kuang describes the series as: “If you liked Avatar: The Last Airbender but always wished it were a little darker and more fucked-up, you might like this.” And fucked-up it is!

Grimdark wartime fiction isn’t usually my ideal genre, but Kuang is just so good at constructing the world of her story and the characters that inhabit it. I didn’t find The Dragon Republic to be as overwhelmingly violent as The Poppy War (which grapples with The Rape of Nanjing, an extremely violent massacre during the Second Sino-Japanase War) but the sequel definitely doesn’t shy away from the violence and horrors of war. Kuang does an excellent job of balancing the fucked-up things with a lot of darkly funny dialogue, which I appreciated so much (the character interactions were really what kept me going when I got too overwhelmed by the violence).

The first half of the book took about two weeks for me to get through – there’s a lot of necessary fallout from the ending of The Poppy War that Kuang has to deal with before moving us forward in The Dragon Republic. The Third Poppy War is over, but no one is satisfied by its conclusion. Vaisa, the Dragon Warlord (and Nezha’s father), wants to conquer Nikara, unseat Empress Daji, and turn the country into a Republic. Rin and the Cike have been trying to assassinate Daji on their own, and so after a bit of convincing they join forces with Vaisa and begin their military campaign against the Empire. As this unfolds, we learn two very important things: 1) the Mugenese army is still alive and 2) the Hesperians (the verrrrry untrustworthy Western powerhouse mentioned briefly in the first book) arrive and may/may not agree to assist Vaisa’s army.

While all of this is geopolitical maneuvering is happening, Kuang also forces Rin to grapple with her addiction to opium, come to terms with the destruction she wrought on Mugen, and, deal with her grief from Altan’s death. I’ll admit it – I really hated Rin’s character in the first half of the book (though I think we’re supposed to!!). She’s impulsive, irresponsible, and sooooo self-centered. There were quite a few times where I felt like throwing my ereader across the room, because she was being so freakin’ reckless!! But, this being said, all of this made me love her so much more in the latter half!

When I reached the 60% mark (thanks ereader) the pacing of The Dragon Republic really picked up again and I had such a hard time putting it down! Rin has a truly breathtaking character arc in this book, and it was beautiful watching her evolve throughout the story. I particularly loved the way Run’s relationship to the fire/the Phoenix (and, in effect, her own anger/rage) matured in this book – there were quite a few moments where I got all teared up thinking about how much Rin had changed since The Poppy War.

Of course, Rin couldn’t have done any of this without the help of the Cike, Kitay, or Nezha (!!!), all of whom I was soooo excited to have back on the page. Ramsa, Baji, and Suni were such a delight to read, and I was so thrilled to get more backstory for Chagan and Qara. Nezha and Kitay in particular take center-stage in The Dragon Republic (both in terms of plot and their relationship to Rin), and I’m very excited to see what happens with them next.

The Dragon Republic is such an amazing follow-up to The Poppy War. While it was a bit of a slow burn at the beginning, I was internally screaming throughout the entire final quarter of the book. (Seriously – shit gets WILD). I’m so excited for the third installment in the series (whenever that is!). But for now, I’m content with filling that void by crying about Rin/Nezha and daydreaming about firebending. Pre-order your copy of The Dragon Republic ASAP!!

9 Tiger’s tits out of 10!!!
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