The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2)
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.

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2) Details

TitleThe Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 8th, 2019
PublisherHarper Voyager
Rating
GenreFantasy, Adult, Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War, #2) Review

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    WTF...I was nervous going into this book that it wouldn't be as great as the first one but here we are...Love the world, love the magic system, love the characters' development and where the story is going. I really liked how the world keeps getting bigger and more complex.I can't wait to see what the last book will bring!
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  • Chaima ✨ شيماء
    January 1, 1970
    ✨Full review now posted HERE on my blog ✨Most sequels: [some characters may die, but all the mains are okay]Kuang, writing this book: DEATH. EVERYONE DIES. PAIN AND SUFFERING.
  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Omg!!!!! I have this pre-ordered and was going to read with my group and reread first one. I will just reread them ALL later! Netgalley came through!! I almost fell over!! So it’s on baby! REVIEW: DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! That ending! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! This will be a short review. I'm not going to spoil anything but you can skim over some of the quotes as you might consider them as a spoiler.The Dragon Republic starts out with a bang; right out of the gates as I like to say. Rin is messed the hel Omg!!!!! I have this pre-ordered and was going to read with my group and reread first one. I will just reread them ALL later! Netgalley came through!! I almost fell over!! So it’s on baby! REVIEW: DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! That ending! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! This will be a short review. I'm not going to spoil anything but you can skim over some of the quotes as you might consider them as a spoiler.The Dragon Republic starts out with a bang; right out of the gates as I like to say. Rin is messed the hell up! She's fighting Opium addiction and trying to control her power. I had so many moments that I felt for her, so many moments I wanted to strangle her for being so stupid and childish. But most of all, I loved watching her grow in this book. Rin went through some sh•t people. Not just Rin but her whole crew; whom I adored. Trying to seek revenge on your enemies while fighting an opium addiction seemed damn near impossible and you could feel every moment with Rin. (at least I did) And trying to fight losing control of your powers. This is what the balance of power looked like now. People like her waved a hand and millions were crushed within the confines of some elemental disaster, flung off the chessboard of the world like irrelevant pieces. People like her-shamans, all of them-were like children stomping around over entire cities as if they were mud castles, glass houses, fungible entities that could be targeted and demolished.•••••Once upon a time at Sinegard, back when Master Jiang had been trying to help her shut her mind to the Phoenix, he'd taught her techniques to clear her thoughts and disappear into a void that imitated nonexistence. He'd taught her how to think like she was dead. •••••Suni rubbed circles on her back while she spat blood-speckled phlem on the planks. When she was done, he smoothed her vomit-covered hair out of her eyes as she sucked in air in great, racking sobs. "You're so strong," he said. "Whatever you're seeing, whatever you're feeling, it's not as strong as you are." Rin has some wonderful friends but a world that is trying to tear her apart from the inside out. Rin and her crew are trying to take down the evil Empress but they are getting swindled left and right. They end up with the Dragon Warlord trying to fight against others. People are killed, used, abused. Rin is lied to and watches innocent people die; watches people that she knows die. It seems like nothing is ever going to get better. BUT. There just might be a spark of hope in people she didn't even consider. There are things brewing. Will Rin and her people be able to bring the world down around the evilness. Wait and see. Finally, spoke the Phoenix. The god's voice was dimmed by the Seal, but Rin could hear clearly every ring of its laughter. My darling little Speerly. At last we agree. •••••"They're are not the strongest force in the world," Rin said. She felt the god's presence in the back of her mind-eager, delighted, and at last perfectly aligned with her intentions. Together, spoke the Phoenix, we will burn down this world. She slammed down her fist against the table. "I am." I think these books are wonderful and the author nailed it in both books so far. For me, there was no second book syndrome. No holds barred, an incredible tale of hate, war and friendship. ***This is an uncorrected proof of the book and any quotes will be changed if they are not correct in the finished copy. I would like to thank Netgalley and the Publisher for a digital copy of this wonderful book for review.***Mel ♥MY BLOG
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  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.4.5/5 starsThe newest rising queen of fantasy is back with her newest book, The Dragon Republic, and it managed to live up to my super high expectations.Can we first appreciate just how damn gorgeous the cover of this book is? JungShan has created another spectacular cover-selling ink illustration and I’m confident that many readers will pick up the book/series even if they don’t know anything about it. The same situat ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.4.5/5 starsThe newest rising queen of fantasy is back with her newest book, The Dragon Republic, and it managed to live up to my super high expectations.Can we first appreciate just how damn gorgeous the cover of this book is? JungShan has created another spectacular cover-selling ink illustration and I’m confident that many readers will pick up the book/series even if they don’t know anything about it. The same situation as its predecessor, the quality of the content of the book did justice to the beautiful cover art and vice versa. I’m pretty sure practically everyone who knows me on bookish social media knows how much I loved The Poppy War. I even created a Twitter account just to wish the author a congratulatory message on her debut’s publication day. If you don’t know/remember, here’s a short snippet of what I said about the first book:“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year… a book that will go down as one of the best grimdark/military fantasy debuts of all time. [...] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.” Yeah… suffice to say that I highly loved the first book. Since then, The Poppy War has also garnered well-deserved praises, nominations, and awards; my high expectations towards its sequel were inevitable and I’m glad to say that after reading this book, my worry was unfounded and Kuang entranced me once again with her newest installment.No story summary from me; if you want to know the plot, read the official synopsis of the book at your own risk. Following the catastrophic conclusion of the first book, The Dragon Republic plunges Rin and her companions into a brand new war. In the first installment, Kuang divided her storytelling clearly into two sections; a coming-of-age battle school fantasy for the first half and a grim military fantasy for the second half. Unlike other series like The Kingkiller Chronicle or Harry Potter, where the characters continue training in schools, The Dragon Republic threw away the battle school concept completely, turning the book completely into a cleverly crafted military fantasy. Full of darkness, tactics, shifting allegiances, war and death, Kuang continues her trademark of delivering a superb story that vividly explores the horrors of war. I loved Kuang’s prose in the first book, which is why I found it to be incredibly satisfying to read her stunning improvement in prose within this novel. This is a significantly bigger book than The Poppy War, it’s almost 700 pages long and yet there wasn’t any moment that felt boring or dull. The engaging narrative and prose captivated me thoroughly from cover to cover; the second half in particular—especially the last 20%, more on this later—was simply amazing and pulse-pounding. War changes everyone indiscriminately; no one came out of it unscathed mentally or physically. The escalating and harrowing effects or aftermath of war were shown expertly through the well-developed characterizations. “You will die thinking I have abandoned you all. But I do not hesitate to say that I value the lives of my people far more than I have ever valued you.” As with its predecessor, the narrative was told exclusively through Rin’s perspective. The events of the first book have left Rin riddled with guilt, regret, and anger. To say that Rin is angry is seriously putting it mildly. She’s angry at the world, at herself, at her friends, at everything. War has changed her and her companions, and yet they still can’t catch a break; peace remains firmly lodged out of grasp and unforgettable loss continues to happen. This is a grim book, written with more mature and refined prose; the character’s darkness and personality elicited emotional responses of all kinds from me. I mentioned in my review of the first book that that Rin is one of my favorite heroines in fantasy because I found her to be very well-written and her personality traits were really clear. That being said, something you have to know is that Rin is inspired by Mao Zedong, Rin does make questionable decisions. She has no impulse control, and she does a lot of stupid things because of her anger and what happened to her. In her path toward overcoming legacy, opium addiction, and accepting her power, Kuang deconstructs Rin’s character completely down to her core, presenting her at her worst for almost the entirety of the first half. I’ll admit that in the first half, there were moments where I wanted to slap her several times, and in my honest opinion, this period of time could’ve been shortened a bit. However, seeing her at her worst did make her the fruition of her character development in the second half stronger. This situation reminded me of Blood of Assassins by R.J. Barker, another book I really loved which involved the main character being driven heavily by darkness and rage, but came out all the better once the character was able to overcome it. I highly praise Kuang for her characterization for Rin and the side characters. Most of the side characters helped immensely in bringing moments of heartwarming and light to balance Rin’s life; their interactions were charming, compelling, and I loved reading about them.The world-building has also moved further beyond Nikara and the Mugenese federation. The new race, Hesperian, came into play here. Hesperian is a race of Westerners, most likely an allusion Germany during World War II, and their arrival brought technologies, arquebuses, airships, and more expansion to the world-building. Not only was the world-building expanded, but Kuang also provided revelations and more in-depth lore to the history of her world. One last thing before I close this review: I would like to applaud Kuang’s imaginative and destructive depiction of the magical battle scenes. The action sequences were simply magnificent and the last 20% of the book demonstrates Kuang’s best battle scenes and closing sequences so far. It was insanely breathtaking, by showing the power of a vermillion myth and the gods, the clash of the blazing rage and overwhelming cyclone were extremely well-executed. The actions and character’s decisions constantly delivered immense implications for future events of the series. Kuang truly ignited her skill in writing great military fantasy within the last 20% and I honestly can’t wait for more. The gripping naval warfare, brilliant aerial-combat, tension-packed elemental battle, and the unflinching infernal torrent of powers were vividly realized and felt cinematic to read. “This was what the balance of power looked like now. People like her waved a hand and millions were crushed within the confines of some elemental disaster, flung off the chessboard of the world like irrelevant pieces.” I don’t think I have anything else to say without spoiling any events from the series. If you loved The Poppy War, I honestly think that you have nothing to worry about. The Dragon Republic is an unputdownable sequel that deflects the infamous middle book syndrome with brutal precision. With The Dragon Republic, Kuang has proven that her debut wasn't a one-hit wonder, further establishing herself as the new rising queen of fantasy. The architect behind Jade City said: “Brace yourself.” Let me just add that you’ll have to find an adamantium building to hold on to. The might and rage of the Phoenix knows no limit, and Rin's newest journey will mercilessly incinerate your heart up to the last page. Rebecca Kuang and this series is truly a treasure for Asian-inspired military fantasy and I simply can't wait to read the conclusion of this trilogy.Sidenote:The dark atmosphere in this book was truly palpable, bad things happen, a LOT. Make sure you’re in the right mood and headspace before you read this book. Also, #FireDick happened, literally.Official release date: August 8th, 2019 (UK) and August 6th, 2019 (US)You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    "combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect."YES. I am so ready.ARC provided in exchange for honest review 🐉
  • R.F. Kuang
    January 1, 1970
    get ready
  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    this book is a black hole - it consumes everything in its path and leaves no survivors. if youve read 'the poppy war,' you already know this series was headed for inevitable darkness. this is a bleak, unforgiving installment of betrayal, heartbreak, loss, and anger. i know many readers wont like the relentless tone of this novel, but i love it. appreciate it, even. i think kuang expertly captures the feelings and atmosphere of war, regardless of how miserable it may make the reader. i also love this book is a black hole - it consumes everything in its path and leaves no survivors. if youve read 'the poppy war,' you already know this series was headed for inevitable darkness. this is a bleak, unforgiving installment of betrayal, heartbreak, loss, and anger. i know many readers wont like the relentless tone of this novel, but i love it. appreciate it, even. i think kuang expertly captures the feelings and atmosphere of war, regardless of how miserable it may make the reader. i also love how rins character is developing. she definitely lives in that morally gray/middle area, but the reader exists in that area right along with her. even if i didnt agree with some of the choices she made, i could definitely understand and empathise with her. the writing is a delight, as well. it feels so fresh, which should be impossible given the subject material. but the writing takes a historical influence and makes it feel modern.    the only thing preventing me from giving this five stars is the fact that the plot is so war/politics/strategy heavy. which is such a silly thing to complain about, i know. i know this is a war-based historical fiction fantasy novel/series, but its the fantasy elements that really draw me into the story and sell it. i wish i could enjoy the war aspect more, but my eyes tend to glaze over long paragraph of tactical descriptions. thats no fault of the books, though. overall, this is a brilliant sequel. i can tell kuang has grown as a writer since her debut. she was strong before, but now she is straight up lethal and i fully expect the next book in the series to be the death of me. ↠ 4.5 stars
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  • James Tivendale
    January 1, 1970
    I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Dragon Republic in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank R.F. Kuang and Harper Voyager.The Dragon Republic is a phenomenal follow-up to what was one of my highest rated fantasy books of 2018, and I think this exceeds the debut in almost everyway.Rin is a drug-addled individual who has the monstrous, murderous and perhaps demented power of the Phoenix at her fingertips. We join her here as the commander of the Cike; potentially orchestrat I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Dragon Republic in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank R.F. Kuang and Harper Voyager.The Dragon Republic is a phenomenal follow-up to what was one of my highest rated fantasy books of 2018, and I think this exceeds the debut in almost everyway.Rin is a drug-addled individual who has the monstrous, murderous and perhaps demented power of the Phoenix at her fingertips. We join her here as the commander of the Cike; potentially orchestrating her shamans who can wield the extraordinary power of certain Gods. Those few "lucky" enough to be able to manipulate such absurd yet undeniably powerful magical abilities have to look forward to one of two eventualities. Death or utter madness as the Gods seem to easily overpower their hosts so that these shamans will no longer be able to control their actions. Since the finale of The Poppy War, Rin has built a steady but not completely trustworthy relationship with a Pirate Queen. Rin completes tasks for her under an agreement that she will be supported when she turns her attention to the bigger picture. Which, of course, is getting her revenge by murdering the Empress. This Oriental-influenced dark fantasy epic features a huge world, all the political intrigue you could hope for, expertly presented dramatic moments, smooth dialogue, and also, the narrative often leaves the reader wondering if the person about to be betrayed is going to betray the betrayer beforehand. You'll have no idea who to trust and something intense and unpredictable happens at least every sixty pages. It features the majority of the ensemble from The Poppy War but since those events began approximately four years ago these characters have changed so much following their involvement in the last war. One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the relationships between Rin and a lot of the major characters. These include the genius strategist Nikay, the twins Chaghan and Qara, and her sort of father figure The Dragon Warlord. All the above being stated though, nowhere near the majority of the ensemble who started The Dragon Republic make it to the end so be warned. Many of your most loved players will die. Possibly in horrible fashion. A main character from the first novel who was one of my favourites returns but I don't want to mention his name just in case that approaches spoiler territory. His and Rin's chemistry is dynamic, to say the least. Love, hatred, respect, admiration, disgust, misunderstanding. My reading of Rin personally, as the novel is still presented solely from her point of view, reflected the above-mentioned feelings. Half the time I adored her and the other half I couldn't follow her train of thought when considering consequences. She's a brilliant and complex protagonist who is drug-addicted, recruited for a cause not her own, she loses something important to her, acquires dramatic new abilities all whilst having a God whispering in her ear and a vendetta to complete. It's as much of a headfuck for the reader as it must be for Rin herself so congratulations to Kuang for presenting it this way.R.F. Kuang is the brightest new star in adult fantasy which I guess is an oxymoron as she writes some of the darkest material around right now. The Dragon Republic truly ups the Grimdark ante. There are some utterly gruesome moments. There is a huge amount of chaotic war action presented throughout and all the nastiness that comes with it. The rebellion events in the novel take over 14 months so we're witnesses to amazing naval battles, sieges, land and guerilla warfare, and even a race that flaunt plasma-like weapons and have built airships. The latter may seem out of place if you've just read this review but it fits in with the overall narrative and will make perfect sense when you get to this story. Although young, Kuang has a knack for writing some of the best fantasy and makes it seem effortless. She will be mentioned alongside names such as Lynch, Lawrence, and Sapkowski for awesomeness very soon. To conclude, what happens at the end of this book is spectacular and the pieces are now set on the metaphorical chess board for what will be a monumental last outing in this series. "Between us we have the fire and the water," she said quietly. "I'm quite sure that together we can take on the wind."
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  • Hamad
    January 1, 1970
    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book PrescriptionActual Rating: 4.5 stars “You will be the spear that brings this empire down.” 🌟 The Poppy War was one of my favorite 10 books last year. This book is one of my most anticipated books for this year, I was so happy when I was given an ARC through Edelweiss from the publisher (Thanks a million) and I did not read it immediately because I was scared of being disappointed! Kuang proved that she is Queen of Fantasy again a This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book PrescriptionActual Rating: 4.5 stars “You will be the spear that brings this empire down.” 🌟 The Poppy War was one of my favorite 10 books last year. This book is one of my most anticipated books for this year, I was so happy when I was given an ARC through Edelweiss from the publisher (Thanks a million) and I did not read it immediately because I was scared of being disappointed! Kuang proved that she is Queen of Fantasy again and I was left satisfied!!🌟 I will never get over the fact that this book was written by an author who’s the same age as me but she did it when she was 19, which is mind blowing! There are improvements in the writing to be honest but I slightly prefer book 1 and I will explain why here.🌟 The author has a great prose and although I find these kind of books harder to read than YA ones, I was not bored at all and I found myself wanting more and more! The second half was better than the first half but all of it were good, there is a very good half and an even better one! I did not read TPW before jumping into this one which I regret doing and I think next year I will be re-reading both before diving into book 3 so I can get all the details and not miss anything as this is becoming one of my series books of all times.🌟 The characters were great, I like how Rin is still morally grey, how she has motives and she feels real! She is not annoying and I feel myself sympathizing with her too sometimes. Here is one of the things I liked better in book 1, the cast was a bit more fun to read and I just LOVE the school setting which of course was not here given that they finished that in book 1. However, try not getting attached to any characters because you never know who dies here!🌟 The first book had some time jumps but this book mostly happens in one period of time. That was something I also liked in book 1. The world is expanded here and the political intrigue is even more complex and 2 maps were provided and I think there is room for more expansion!🌟 The plot twists were great and the book still goes into dark places and you need to be in the right mind set to read it! I suck at providing TW so I hope someone else does! I just had to stop from the shock sometimes and I was like “Who hurt you Kuang, whyyyyyyyy??” and I mean this in the best possible way!🌟 Summary and Prescription: If you liked book 1 then you will probably like this book 2, if you did not read book 1, then what are you waiting for? this is one of the best fantasy books that I recently read and I encourage all fantasy fans to do so but beware of the heavy things it deal with.
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  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Fang Runin? Her weed? I roll that. Her hand? I hold that. Her back? I got that. Her wife? I am that. Needs someone to die for her? I'll do that “Between us, we have the fire and the water,” she said quietly. “I’m quite sure that together, we can take on the wind.” I HAVE NO FREAKIN GODDAMN WORDSHere I am thinking nothing can be more epic than The Poppy War and R.F Kuang comes and smacks me across the face with THIS BOOK. The BREADTH this world has. THE DEPTH these characters have. THE COMPLEXITY Fang Runin? Her weed? I roll that. Her hand? I hold that. Her back? I got that. Her wife? I am that. Needs someone to die for her? I'll do that “Between us, we have the fire and the water,” she said quietly. “I’m quite sure that together, we can take on the wind.” I HAVE NO FREAKIN GODDAMN WORDSHere I am thinking nothing can be more epic than The Poppy War and R.F Kuang comes and smacks me across the face with THIS BOOK. The BREADTH this world has. THE DEPTH these characters have. THE COMPLEXITY of morality and relationships in this series. the HISTORICAL REFERENCING that underpin this series creating an interesting mirror of our own world. The TWISTS, TURNS AND INCREDIBLE PLOT that has given so much intricacy in this second book. The entire time reading this I just couldn't stop thinking about how no one I've read writes fantasy like R.F Kuang. She truly owns my whole assALSO, we're not gonna think about all those Zutara dynamics and how she really fucked me up with that water and fire metaphor I'm really not strong enoughDeserved 5 star for Kitay making a dick joke about Nezha regardless of anything else tbhReview to come
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  • Natalie Monroe
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars “Between us, we have the fire and the water,” she said quietly. “I’m quite sure that together, we can take on the wind.” In one of my status updates, I asked, "Is it possible to be sexually attracted to a book?" The answer is yes. Unequivocally yes.Those of you that might have been worried The Dragon Republic suffers from Second Book Syndrome can rest easy. There's mountains of overarching plot in this baby. It picks up pretty soon after the events of the last book. Rin is commander of 4.5 stars “Between us, we have the fire and the water,” she said quietly. “I’m quite sure that together, we can take on the wind.” In one of my status updates, I asked, "Is it possible to be sexually attracted to a book?" The answer is yes. Unequivocally yes.Those of you that might have been worried The Dragon Republic suffers from Second Book Syndrome can rest easy. There's mountains of overarching plot in this baby. It picks up pretty soon after the events of the last book. Rin is commander of the Cike now that Altan is dead and has turned assassin for Moag, the self-proclaimed pirate queen, in exchange for troops and resources to take on Empress Daji. That falls apart rather quickly though and Rin soon finds herself thrown back into war—behind the Dragon Warlord, Nezha's father, as he plans a coup. There are so many twists. Some I called ages ago, like (view spoiler)[ Nezha being alive and is a shaman, (hide spoiler)] but they were very neatly foreshadowed and didn't take away my enjoyment of the novel.Hesperians finally make an appearance, after being vaguely referenced last book. Their religion Makerism is essentially Judeo-Christianity. One Maker against the forces of Chaos. The Pantheon with 64 gods, to them, is barbaric and unholy. Hesperians don't exactly come off looking well here, but it is accurate to history. They were the first colonialists, way back before Japan invaded China in the mid-nineteenth century. Their role in this book can be summed up by one gif from Pocahontas:Rin continues to be one of the most morally complex characters I've ever had the pleasure to read. She's never just one thing. Take her relationship with Altan, for instance. It's incredibly complicated. She loves him, lusts after him, fears him, worships him, hates him, is involuntarily bonded with him through their shared Speerly heritage. Kuang never attempts to dilute it. It and Rin is gloriously messy, and I am one hundred percent here for it. Emotions and relationships are very rarely just one shade, and Kuang depicts it so well. My favorite cinnamon roll Kitay is back, too. I’m glad he gets off his high horse a bit. At the end of the first book, he’s rightfully horrified at what Rin did, but comes off as a tad self-righteous. He becomes more morally complicated here, which makes me sad (my pure boy!) but also pleased. They grow up so fast.I hope they're giving out ARCS for the final book because I can't wait another year to find out what happens next.ARC provided by Edelweiss
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  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
    January 1, 1970
    “War doesn't determine who's right. War determines who remains.” -Rin, The Poppy War.Just got my copy, so that means if this is anywhere near as good as the first book, I probably won't leave the house for the next few days until I've fished it. Review to come.
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  • Umairah | Sereadipity
    January 1, 1970
    The Dragon Republic was the brutally brilliant sequel to The Poppy War and it was just as amazing as the first book (maybe even more so). It was a book that most certainly didn't pull its punches.Click here for my review of The Poppy War!Trigger Warnings: Self harm, suicide, substance abuse, torture, basically every possible trigger warning! Plot: 5/5Characters: 5/5Writing: 5/5*Contains spoilers for The Poppy War*I've actually been struggling to write this review for a while. Not because I didn' The Dragon Republic was the brutally brilliant sequel to The Poppy War and it was just as amazing as the first book (maybe even more so). It was a book that most certainly didn't pull its punches.Click here for my review of The Poppy War!Trigger Warnings: Self harm, suicide, substance abuse, torture, basically every possible trigger warning! Plot: 5/5Characters: 5/5Writing: 5/5*Contains spoilers for The Poppy War*I've actually been struggling to write this review for a while. Not because I didn't like it or I have nothing to say, but because it was such a wonderfully complex book and my emotions surrounding it are so vast and complicated I found it hard to condense them into one review!In this book, Rin was flung into a civil war whilst battling an opium addiction and a raging god. The best way I could describe Rin's character is as one giant ball of conflicting emotions. Anger, love, grief, hope, fear, despair all furiously grappling for space in her heart.She isn't a good person but a part of me is still rooting for her. And that's why she's such a brilliant anti-hero.Her opium addiction was handled very well and given all the time it needed. Her journey to sobriety was extremely difficult and she wouldn't have achieved it without the support of others. I also think it contributed to her character arc as stopping opium almost represented her stopping trying to escape from who she was and what she had done.In the beginning, it felt like Rin was detaching herself from her atrocious actions at the end of The Poppy War. Yes, she had won the war but she didn't want to understand that victory isn't always worth its cost. She was allowing her deep and festering anger to fuel her, to excuse her from thinking and feeling and hurting. But over the course of the book she started to not necessarily feel guilty but accept the magnitude of what she had single handedly destroyed. The anger was still there (was and always will be there) but it was directed towards the people who actually deserved her terrifying rage.It saddened me to see how much war had scarred Kitay and how he struggled to come to terms with what he had seen and done. I loved his friendship with Rin and the way they understood each other on a profound level.I liked how this book went more in depth with the word building and it revealed more about the characters' backgrounds and motives. The arrival of the Hesperians added another dimension to the book, especially with the introduction of their naval technology and arquebuses. However, I found the way the Hesperians thought they were superior and the way they analysed the Nikara to see if they were 'ready for civilisation' really disgusting and demeaning but at the same time I know that this reflects history.The Dragon Republic was a fascinating military fantasy with themes of greed, power and the many ways to make a monster. It didn't glorify war or try to lessen the impact of its brutality, resulting in a shocking, cruel and at times upsetting but very real read. If you enjoyed The Poppy War, you'll enjoy this book even more!Thank you you to Harper Voyager for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Harper Collins/Voyager and Netgalley.This book was so much better than the first. So much action this time! I confess that I didn't even finish the first book, but now I may just to back and do that. Looking forward to book 3.
  • Amy Imogene Reads
    January 1, 1970
    5! stars!The Poppy War was good, this one is betterThe Poppy War was brutal, this one is ruthlessThe Poppy War enticed, this one demandedThe Poppy War sparked the war, this one incinerated the battlefieldThere was nothing I did not love about The Dragon Republic.Plot: ★★★★★Pacing: ★★★★Character growth: ★★★★★War/Gore Factor: ★★★★★ (yeah it's still rough.)The Dragon Republic is the explosive follow-up to R.F. Kuang's insanely talented debut novel, The Poppy War, and it does not disappoint—in fact, 5! stars!The Poppy War was good, this one is betterThe Poppy War was brutal, this one is ruthlessThe Poppy War enticed, this one demandedThe Poppy War sparked the war, this one incinerated the battlefieldThere was nothing I did not love about The Dragon Republic.Plot: ★★★★★Pacing: ★★★★Character growth: ★★★★★War/Gore Factor: ★★★★★ (yeah it's still rough.)The Dragon Republic is the explosive follow-up to R.F. Kuang's insanely talented debut novel, The Poppy War, and it does not disappoint—in fact, it packs double the punch. Haven't read the first book? Stop! Go find it! Read it! Love it! Then come back here! See if you agree with what I thought! Warning: it's going to spoil aspects of The Poppy War in order to cover its goodness.Fang Runin (Rin) is not doing so well. At the end of The Poppy War, she's just watched her Cike commander/shaman/troubled love interest Altan sacrifice himself to the flames of the vengeful Phoenix god, and in her grief-torn rage she sets fire to an entire island. (An. Entire. Island.) She singlehandedly ended the Third Poppy War against the Mugunese...by killing an entire population in one swoop. As we entire The Dragon Republic, Rin's struggling with the emotional backlash of that decision and sliding the slippery slope down to PTSD-inflicted opium addiction. She's shaky, hard to control, and hard to predict. The Phoenix is winning. Her characteristic ego is flailing. The last thing she wants is to be in control of the Cike, a small band of powerful shamans who are also held on the precipice of madness in order to commune with their gods and reap the supernatural powers. She's making poor decisions, and it shows. What can a soldier do when her commander abandons her? She finds a new commander, a new war, and a new path toward vengeance. But is lending her war-ending powers to another puppeteer the answer to this game? I can't say I was expecting this novel to unfold in this way it did—mainly due to the fact that the plot was impossible to predict. It had a lot more boats than I was expecting, and appealed to the inner pirate/adventurer in me. It introduced aspects of Western civilization-inflicted colonialism parallels that were disturbing to read and disturbing to reflect upon. In traditional Kuang style, it reflected aspects of China's history that will make your heart ache, and your conscience guilty. It reflected on female roles in the military, gender imbalances, and sexual violence as a result of war. I really appreciated these inclusions. It's not a pretty story, but it is a necessary one—and in the context of this fantasy world it has the potential for a glorious re-do. I can't wait for Rin to burn it down. Also, the sheer amount of game-changing moments in this novel left me in a state of perpetual tension. Who will betray whom, and when, and how? Who will die next? How will Rin's characteristic impulsiveness react to this latest reveal? And where will Rin and Nezha's wonderful hate-to-maybe-more dynamic go as they dance around their lies and truths?Like the first novel in the series, The Dragon Republic has a lot to say. It was brutal, it was vicious, it was nauseating. It took no prisoners and no one's life was sacred. But, it was also poignant, original, and absolutely thrilling. I can't wait to see where Kuang takes Rin next—it's going to be an explosive journey.*****Original notes: Honestly can't contain my excitement - ARC approved!! Thank you so much to Harper Collins - Harper Voyager via NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
    January 1, 1970
    "You asked how large my sorrow is, and I answered, like a river in spring flowing east."Poor Rin..This book is dark and hit home in so many places within my weak heart. Rin is dealing with the aftermath of the decisions she made in The Poppy War. We all know they weren't the brightest and Kuang REALLY delves into that in this sequel. She is addicted to opium, has severe PTSD, she cuts herself and leaves the wounds open because she thinks pain is her only option. As well as other characters who d "You asked how large my sorrow is, and I answered, like a river in spring flowing east."Poor Rin..This book is dark and hit home in so many places within my weak heart. Rin is dealing with the aftermath of the decisions she made in The Poppy War. We all know they weren't the brightest and Kuang REALLY delves into that in this sequel. She is addicted to opium, has severe PTSD, she cuts herself and leaves the wounds open because she thinks pain is her only option. As well as other characters who do the same in different morbid ways. Yeah, it's depressing and you just feel for them and want to give everyone a hug.The main point of this plot without spoilers is Rin is having to choose which group of people to trust to help her get revenge. One group in particular wants to build a republic. Overthrow the Warlord system. Restructure how governance works across the Empire."The question isn't whether democracy could work," Rin said. "That doesn't matter. The question is whether we enlist."The Dragon Republic adds a whole new element we didn't see in its predecessor. Navy battles on the high seas! Our characters have to deal with monsoons, seasickness, and enemy cannons. Now we can't forget about the Gods in this world. Kuang delves into many religions in this installment. One branch that is prominent here are the 64 Gods Rin has grown up to believe. Some characters in this world are marked by one of those Gods. Those marked get a certain type of ability in relation to the God that marks them. They are referred to as Shamans. AND WE HAVE A TWIST HERE PEOPLE THAT I CAN'T WAIT TO HIT YOU IN THE FACE.Now I do have a negative that showed up as I was reading. You guys should have saw me gushing on Instagram how amazing this book was and yes, it still is amazing but toward the middle, I found that same pacing issue that was apparent in The Poppy War. It's still packed with action-filled battle scenes and warfare but the pace came to an abrupt halt and it stopped having that addictive quality.One of the big issues reviewers had in The Poppy War was Rin and I hate to say it, but she still makes REALLY dumb decisions and it never bothered me previously. This book though actually had me RAGING at TWO things she does and it bothered me so much.. let's try to ignore that for now.All in all, this book does not suffer from the 'second book' woes. The action sequences that Kuang put upon the pages of this book was bloody, visceral, and impactful in grabbing my attention. Both the arcane magic and the divine power unleashed in full force during this book were superbly written, creating one memorably vivid and exhilarating conclusion.Is it the end? You'll have to see for yourself.My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/hollyheartsbooks
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  • ♠️ TABI ♠️
    January 1, 1970
    YES I SCREAMED WHEN I SAW NETGALLEY GAVE ME THIS OKAY YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I AM READY TO BE DESTROYED BY THE SEQUEL TO MY TOP FAVORITE BOOK
  • sanchez
    January 1, 1970
    TWs: violence (so much, though not as bad as The Poppy War), classism, racism, rape (discussion of it and attempted rape), drug use and addiction, death, maimingThese are most definitely NOT all of the trigger warnings, though these are ones I’ve recorded. Please look into more complete lists of trigger warnings so you can decide if this book is for you.“Brace yourself,” Fonda Lee says in her blurb for this book. And she’s right. The Dragon Republic goes all out from page 1, pushing the boundari TWs: violence (so much, though not as bad as The Poppy War), classism, racism, rape (discussion of it and attempted rape), drug use and addiction, death, maimingThese are most definitely NOT all of the trigger warnings, though these are ones I’ve recorded. Please look into more complete lists of trigger warnings so you can decide if this book is for you.“Brace yourself,” Fonda Lee says in her blurb for this book. And she’s right. The Dragon Republic goes all out from page 1, pushing the boundaries of its world further and introducing more major players – along with the return of some familiar ones. Secrets and betrayals abound in this book, making it not only as brutal as The Poppy War, but many times more heartbreaking.*There are spoilers for The Poppy War ahead. Proceed with caution.* "I just don't want the world to break you." The book begins with Rin and Altan’s crew on the run, still reeling from the events from the last book. Rin especially is worse for wear. She’s grieving for the people she’s lost, and the Phoenix refuses to leave her alone. But when a person she thought dead shows up, she gets drawn back into a war for the future of Nikan. Only this one isn’t against enemies outside her country, it’s against enemies within. A still-recovering Nikan is being torn apart by civil war right after it barely survived the Third Poppy War.Once again, Rin’s characterization was phenomenal. You can see the toll her actions have taken on her – how what she did at the end of The Poppy War haunts her. She looks for absolution, she doesn’t want to feel its weight on her shoulders, she doesn’t want to take responsibility for it. But there is no excusing her actions – she won a war, yes, but at a terrible cost, and she has to learn to live with it. She’s not the same girl she was in The Poppy War – she’s committed atrocities beyond comprehension, much less forgiveness – but she’s still determined and breathing, which says so much, after everything’s she’s been through.Rin’s actions in The Poppy War have consequences beyond her conscience though. She is addicted to opium, to the point where she dreads sobriety. And this book handles her opium addiction very well, and very realistically. I’ve heard many reviewers mention this, but I’ll say it again: her battle against her opium addiction is given the attention and development it deserves. The book takes care in showing how it affects her, and does so in a very respectful manner, which is all we can ask for.Another unintended affect of Rin’s actions was how they’ve suddenly thrusted her into the spotlight. Many people realize just how much raw destructive power Rin has – and that her power makes her a valuable ally to have. The war that breaks out is just as fraught with politics as it is with blood, and Rin finds herself having to navigate an increasingly more complicated political arena, filled with people who want to use her as weapon. "This was what the balance of power looked like now. People like her waved a hand and millions were crushed within the confines of some elemental disaster, flung off the chessboard of the world like irrelevant pieces." The presence of Hesperians also complicates matters further. International politics make their way into Nikan’s civil war, which furthers to broaden the scope of the world, giving it more nuance and depth.The development of the other characters, besides Rin, is phenomenal as well. The characters have their own motivations and political alliances, their own pasts and decisions to make, and this book really showcases that. Kitay, Altan, even Empress Su Daji, are fleshed out further. And [REDACTED] returns, and his backstory and life are given more attention as well.Out of all of these character’s arc, it was Kitay’s that saddened me the most. His character arc from The Poppy War to The Dragon Republic was so heartbreaking because he was – and truthfully still is – the kindest, sweetest person in the book. But this war was not kind to him, and he changed in response. He has so much anger and resentment festering within him, so much that Rin recognizes herself in him…and that change is scary and sad to see.(I’m also, truthfully, scared for him. Specifically, I’m scared for what Rin may do to him. She said something I found to be a little bit foreboding in this book, and I hope it isn’t foreshadowing anything.)Altan is…whew.This book brings so many more facts about Altan to light, and they are not savory. I found him to be terrible but understandable in The Poppy War, but this book shattered every perception I’ve ever had of him and reconstructed him in a way that I can’t look at without feeling disgust. I can’t believe I ever liked him. I mean, he’s still understandable. But he’s beyond redeemable.The ending of this book ended me. This is the type of ending that will bring you to your knees. It’s as damaging as it is shocking, and it promises pain and bloodshed. There’s a war brewing in the next book, but the conflict that will be at the very center, the one that will hurt your heart, is the one between former friends. "Fire and water looked so lovely together. It was a pity they destroyed each other by nature." This is actually kind of embarrassing, but I saw this quote in my notes while writing this review and I nearly started crying.Make no mistake, there’s no discernible romance in this book. This book is much too complex for that. (And I definitely don’t ship any of the characters together – there’s only so much you can put another person through before forfeiting a chance of a relationship with them.) But I think…in another life for these characters, it may have been in the cards for them.I think that in another life, a lot of things would’ve been in the cards for all of the characters.The Dragon Republic is building this series up to its inevitable conclusion, laying the groundwork for a destructive finale. I can’t see an ending for Rin at this point that will end with her being happy or, at the very least, getting some much-needed peace, but I’m desperately hoping for one. She is an objectively terrible person, yes – but she’s one that has had terrible things done to her, so many, that I can’t help but root for her anyway.Anyway, I’ll be waiting for the final installment in Rin’s saga of suffering desperately, aggressively rereading books one and two before then. Though I do worry for it. Because since The Poppy War was brutal, and The Dragon Republic was devastating, then the last book can only be heartbreaking.
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  • Delirious Disquisitions
    January 1, 1970
    I'm fucking spent. This was exhilarating.
  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY SMOKESLOOK AT THIS COVER!!!((screams and runs to Amazon to preorder))
  • Candie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!This book had me hooked! I loved it. Those last 100 pages or so!! Wow, I cannot wait for book three. I was a bit whatever going into it because I didn't love the first book as much as everyone else. I thought it was good, but that's it. I could not get over the similarities to the Name of The Wind. I loved how it was a completely different story line from the first book. Not just another year, with another problem, at the same school. Same characters but completely different book. I ab 4.5 stars!This book had me hooked! I loved it. Those last 100 pages or so!! Wow, I cannot wait for book three. I was a bit whatever going into it because I didn't love the first book as much as everyone else. I thought it was good, but that's it. I could not get over the similarities to the Name of The Wind. I loved how it was a completely different story line from the first book. Not just another year, with another problem, at the same school. Same characters but completely different book. I absolutely noticed a difference in the writing style in this book over the first one, especially in how she developed the characters, and I thought it was fantastic.I love the characters. They are all so individual and I really like them all. I didn't just like a few and the rest are just there and I barely remember their names. The characters were very real and I loved how they kept questioning the "right" thing to do. Even as an outsider looking in it was hard to say. Is there always a right way? In a lot of fantasy books I often find that the main characters just know the right thing to do, because they are just so selfless, and always choose what is best for the world overall. Eye roll! This often actually really annoys me. This one was not like that. It was a constant struggle of making bad choices and trying to figure out what the right choices were. I loved that internal struggle and growth. This book really expanded the world and made it much more complex. In the first book I felt like the switch from the school setting to outside of it didn't flow very well and I kind of missed the school. Not so in this book, I am loving everyone out in this awesome world. There is a lot of military and political talk that can be quite long. I really enjoyed it but I feel like some people may find it boring. It is not a super fast paced book for most of the book. I liked that though. The slow everyday planning helped me get more connected to the characters and build the suspense and emotional connections for the last portion of the book. I don't think I liked the religious explanation parts. I get how they added to the book but I found them kind of boring. I think that's a personal preference though not the writing, and it really isn't a large portion of the book. And the swear words drove me crazy! Tigers tits? Great tortoise? It was just very hard to take those sayings seriously. My last small annoyance I have to mention, and I find this in a lot of fantasy and YA books especially, but the focus on beauty and describing all of the characters as either beautiful or not. What does that even mean? It's very annoying. And hating beauty. And the main character being different and not beautiful. For example the Lily girls. They were super skinny and beautiful and Rin hated them. Called them whores. She hated Dajis beauty and wanted to ruin her porcelain skin. Why not say she hated her because she murders people or is evil?? I mean I could think of a lot more valid reason to write that statement. But Rin, "She had always known that nothing could make her attractive; not with her mud colored skin, sullen face and short jagged hair". Why does that make her unattractive? Can't we just describe what the person looks like? Black hair? Blue eyes? Tall? Why does the description have to be beautiful? Especially for some and not others. And why do we have to hate that? Everyone is beautiful and it shouldn't be something we hate about people. Okay rant over. :) Anyway, I loved the book and definitely recommend this series so far to the fantasy lovers out there!! R.F. Kuang is a great writer.
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  • Dannii Elle
    January 1, 1970
    I GOT AN ARC! I GOT AN ARC! I GOT AN ARC! I GOT AN ARC! I GOT AN ARC!Please see below for this accurate representation of my face right now:
  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    The mindset that any one person is fundamentally inferior to another is infuriating. The sheer arrogance of such a notion is one of the most abhorrent qualities a human can possess. Whether it’s due to a slightly different shade of skin pigmentation, or a preference of which obscure mythical book passage to follow, or which side of an imaginary line you were conceived on, wars have been started over it all by the small-minded and ignorant. Many of these horrific themes are present in R. F. Kuang The mindset that any one person is fundamentally inferior to another is infuriating. The sheer arrogance of such a notion is one of the most abhorrent qualities a human can possess. Whether it’s due to a slightly different shade of skin pigmentation, or a preference of which obscure mythical book passage to follow, or which side of an imaginary line you were conceived on, wars have been started over it all by the small-minded and ignorant. Many of these horrific themes are present in R. F. Kuang’s The Dragon Republic, in which Rin’s humanity is called into question due to her ethnicity and religious beliefs. It is a powerful, yet depressingly familiar tale that is not to be missed. “But I’ve seen how power works… It’s not about who you are, it’s about how they see you. And once you’re mud in this country, you’re always mud.”When we last left Rin, she was reeling from the consequences of her actions that ended the Third Poppy War. After learning that a person of power sold her country out, she has made it her mission to lead her Cike team into removing this figurehead and taking vengeance on those responsible for the millions of Nikaran deaths. The Dragon Republic begins three months after the Third Poppy War has ended, and Rin and her team of gifted Cike companions are running assassination missions for a pirate smuggler. As payment, Rin would receive enough ships and supplies to make a run at their target. The situation doesn’t play out like it should, and now Rin finds herself conscripted to a new ally with dreams of turning Nikara into a democratic republic. Not a true democratic republic, of course – the only vote that the people get to decide is whether to join their new governors or die. (“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…”) With allegiances constantly being tested and betrayals around every corner, Rin faces her greatest challenges yet in securing safety for herself and her people. With much of the world-building and mythology already in place, The Dragon Republic wastes no time in providing a laser-focused story that lasts the entirety of the book. It’s tough not to compare this sequel to the original, but I will say that the uneven tonal shifts of the first book have been rectified. This is a grim world, and its effects on Rin are ever-present. Remorse for her actions is non-existent, and she relies on anger to drown out any wandering thoughts. Her identity is entirely wrapped up in being a soldier. She does not know what to do with her life if she didn’t have a war to fight, so she clings on to the nearest rebellious cause without knowing the full history behind it. Her war is personal, not political; she’s driven by her thirst for revenge instead of considering the greater needs of those around her. Rin’s journey is one of self-discovery and purpose, and it is fascinating to witness.“In the heat of battle, human life could be reduced to the barest mechanics of existence—arms and legs, mobility and vulnerability, vital points to be identified, isolated, and destroyed.”This is a story of self-worth and determination, of finding value in life when your strengths are stripped away. It shines a light on some of the worst aspects of humanity which are sadly still reflective of our current society. It is a story of tragedy and loss, of anger and hypocrisy, of perseverance and triumph. Kuang excels at wreaking emotional havoc while delivering a powerful meditation on war and survival. It is a compelling follow-up to a landmark debut, so make sure you visit The Dragon Republic.
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  • Rebecca Roanhorse
    January 1, 1970
    A grueling and dark journey through human ambition, divine madness, and war with all its consequences (both on a grand scale and a very personal one). If you read the Poppy War (which you should) you know what to expect - death, betrayal, wonder, magic, grit and, above all, complex characters in a masterfully realized Fantasy world. There are no heroes here. Just people trying to do their best while caught up in the machinations of empire and the desires of gods.This is war-driven epic fantasy a A grueling and dark journey through human ambition, divine madness, and war with all its consequences (both on a grand scale and a very personal one). If you read the Poppy War (which you should) you know what to expect - death, betrayal, wonder, magic, grit and, above all, complex characters in a masterfully realized Fantasy world. There are no heroes here. Just people trying to do their best while caught up in the machinations of empire and the desires of gods.This is war-driven epic fantasy at its finest. Kuang's grasp on Chinese history (and naval tactics) is impressive, but then she's a PhD Candidate in the field. But don't let that mislead you into thinking this is at all dry. The pacing never flags, the battles are unpredictible, the consequences all too real, the characters suprising and humanly flawed. A must-read for epic fantasy fans.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I was never going to love The Dragon Republic as much as The Poppy War, so let's get that out of the way; The Poppy War is a book of two halves, and I preferred the first. However, it was still a 5 star read for me (review here), and with Kuang's assertions on Twitter that The Dragon Republic was an objectively superior book, I was still cautiously optimistic about the sequel. And I didn't hate it, but I'm disappointed.Pacing is an issue in both of these books; in The Poppy War, things happen to I was never going to love The Dragon Republic as much as The Poppy War, so let's get that out of the way; The Poppy War is a book of two halves, and I preferred the first. However, it was still a 5 star read for me (review here), and with Kuang's assertions on Twitter that The Dragon Republic was an objectively superior book, I was still cautiously optimistic about the sequel. And I didn't hate it, but I'm disappointed.Pacing is an issue in both of these books; in The Poppy War, things happen too fast; it feels like two books crammed into one. But I really didn't mind that - I read a lot of literary fiction, so when I venture into genre fiction it's with entirely different expectations and needs to be met - I like a bit of nonstop action in my fantasy as long as it doesn't get too overwhelming, which I don't think it did. But with The Dragon Republic the issue is the exact opposite. Nothing - and I cannot stress this enough - happens for the first three quarters of this book. Where The Poppy War feels like two books for the price of one, The Dragon Republic feels like a novella stretched out thin across 500 pages. Things of course do happen, technically, but there is so much filler. Stakes feel low (a problem that The Poppy War certainly did not have), because for the major part of this book, it feels like you're spinning your wheels and still waiting for the main players to enter the ring.But let's talk about what I did like: the characters and the setting are some of my favorites from any fantasy series that I have ever read. The returning characters are as complex, endearing, and frustrating as ever, and the new characters shine as well - Vaisra in particular is a brilliant creation. And if The Dragon Republic has one thing that's superior to The Poppy War, it's the world building and the magic system, which is infinitely more fleshed out here with some truly fascinating developments. It took me three months to read this, but I want to stress that every time I did pick it up, I enjoyed it. The issue is that I just seldom reached for it. I really hope this is just second book syndrome, and I do think one thing that Kuang was able to achieve with this book was laying a really solid foundation for whatever is to come next (and with that ending, I can promise you that the third book is going to destroy me). But even though I would still recommend this series wholeheartedly, this just wasn't as good as The Poppy War, much as it pains me to say it.Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Voyager for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    Y’all...
  • Shaun Hutchinson
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful. A fantastic followup to The Poppy War.
  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    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 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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  • MeaganCM
    January 1, 1970
    LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL COVER!
  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    I AM NOT OKAY
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