The Poppy War is Electrifying and Impossible to Put Down | Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

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Fantasy lovers, get ready for this one! You've heard the hype. In the case of The Poppy War, it was SO deserving. I am completely obsessed. If you haven't read it yet, now's the time. Time to get ready for tomorrow's stop on The Dragon Republic blog tour!


When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5) 
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for participating in the blog tour/my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.   

You know that warm, buzzed feeling you get after reading a really great book? You can feel it in your fingertips? This is how I felt after closing The Poppy War. It's almost indescribable because, at the end of the day, it's merely a feeling. All I know is that R.F. Kuang knows how to craft a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seat.

The Poppy War is electrifying and engrossing. You'll find out quite quickly that it is nearly impossible to put down. It is dark and engulfing when it comes to that darkness. It is fast and at times brutal. In these moments of brutality, it is important to take care of yourself and proceed with caution. If you've got any triggering topics, I definitely recommend you look into the many trigger warnings that come hand in hand with The Poppy War before deciding to embark on reading it.

Aside from its skin crawling moments of bleak, horrific occurrences, the novel itself is one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time. To describe it, without spoilers, is nearly impossible but what I can say is that The Poppy War is utterly unforgettable, compelling and full of fantastical elements that will satiate readers.

(Not to mention the diversity featured within the novel.)

If you like deeply imaginative reads that still maintain a specific sense of real life complexities to them, The Poppy War is an absolute must-read. Kuang masterfully takes characters like Rin and breathes life into them that is unlike anything I've seen in recent memory. I found myself nearly losing days of my life to the pages of The Poppy War because of its stunning prose, but it was definitely the sort of novel one must take breaks from at times due to its content.

At the end of the day, I think this is what makes The Poppy War so brilliantly crafted. It bruises you in ways that seem unimaginable and grips at you until its final page. When you set it aside, you think, "What now?" And try to move forward. The Poppy War takes you into its pages and you return with pieces of it yourself.

For every stomach churn, for every heart thudding moment of fear or sadness, for every moment of hope, there are pages in which Kuang outdoes herself. Unexpected, fresh and intense to the highest degree, I can't sing The Poppy War's praises enough. You have to read this book to believe it.

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