|| Book Review || The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang ||
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, War
Age category: Young Adult, Adult
Release Date: August 8th 2019
Version Read: Paperback
The searing follow-up to 2018’s most celebrated fantasy debut – THE POPPY WAR.
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.
I loved The Poppy War. I love The Dragon Republic even more.
In this book Rin is completely messed up. She wants blood, she wants vengeance but she is also still fighting to control her own power and is spending most of her time high as a kite on opium, an addiction that is quickly taking control of her and leaving her less than useless to her comrades in the Cike.
I really felt for Rin in this book more than I did in the first book. I still want to throttle her for her terrible decisions but not quite as much as I did.
Rin and the Cike are trying to take down the evil Empress who has betrayed her people and is tearing their country apart piece by piece and selling it off to the invading Mugenese.
Rin finds Nehza’s father Vaisra on the same side and is absolutely pulled in by his dream of a republic where the country can vote for what it wants and have a government instead of a monarchy.
The thing about Rin is that she is still a child really and with everything she has done and been through it is easy to forget that sometimes. She doesn’t know what she’s doing and she just wants someone to tell her what to do. She hates being in command and being the reason people are dying around her. She doesn’t want the responsibility and so with Vaisra she really does see him through rose tinted glasses for a lot of this book.
As the reader you can tell something isn’t quite right with what Rin is being told and you so desperately want and need her to see what is right in front of her face but she loves the idea of Vaisra as a leader and she has it in her head that the Empress is bad, evil and wrong for the country but as it turns out there is a lot more to both of those characters than you would think.
We are introduced to the Hesperian’s in this book as well and I could just tell from the start that I didn’t like them at all. They consider themselves to be the advanced race and they spend most of this book standing by and watching the Nikara tear each other to pieces before deciding whether it is worth bringing their airships and technology to end the war.
The Hesperian’s consider the Nikara to be less intelligent overall and are particularly interested in Shamanism and experimenting on Shamans like Rin to discover what causes the power to manifest in the way that it does. It is all very interesting!
I won’t go into any further detail so as not to risk spoilers because SO much happened in this book that it is difficult to even comprehend.
This book is an absolute whirlwind of emotion, shock and horror. If it’s even possible it is even more gut wrenching than the first book and that is saying something!
The sheer scale of the world building, character development and darkness is off the scale good. It is dark, grim, horrific, terrible and absolutely brilliant to read.