The exciting end to The Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.
After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.
Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.
Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?
Beautiful, painful, and inevitable.
It is hard to put my feelings about this book into words. This trilogy leapt out to me and caught hold of my imagination and my heart. I have not felt such enthusiasm for reading in a very long time. But the phenomenal writing of this series has made that feeling real for me once again. Here we have an author whose deep understanding of military strategy, politics, and history shines through in a setting and characters so fully realized that I cannot bear to see them gone. The saddest part of this story is that it is over. I long for more writings in this fantasy historical world of Kuang's creation. It is so much more than allegory, despite its numerous applications of historic references and events. They only serve to strengthen the text's believability. The book makes a fine allegory, but it does so much more than that. It created a world and compelled me to care about it. It birthed characters who still live on in my mind, and whose personalities, motives, and fates were so much more than allegorical tropes—they burned with unique life, and I learned to love and hate various characters, the latter of which not because they were poorly written, but because they were so real. They felt like real people, and I felt real emotions toward them. In short: this work is phenomenal. Brace yourself for an emotional journey, and then do yourself a favor and read The Poppy War trilogy.
PS: If you read the audio book, you're in for a treat. Emily Woo Zeller does an outstanding job bringing the words of this tale to life with flawless pronunciation and beautifully emotive narration. She is a genuinely talented narrator, and a true joy to listen to.