Book 1 - The Poppy War

The Poppy War

A Novel

    • 4.3 • 829 Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year [...] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.” -- Booknest

A Library Journal, Paste Magazine, Vulture, BookBub, and ENTROPY Best Books pick!

Washington Post "5 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel" pick!

A Bustle "30 Best Fiction Books" pick!

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

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.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
May 1
Harper Voyager

Customer Reviews

Gavpat ,


Regardless of your beliefs in eastern or western culture - the discussion on free will is on fascinating display with some fun personalities and strong heroin at the center.

Dmoneyzilla223388 ,

Fantastic book

I absolutely adore this book and series especially in the realistic portrayal of violence and evil that mirrors real events in China before and during world war 2. There’s no sugarcoating the way the characters are negatively effected and how badly the suffer in the midst of this terrible war.

SlideLees ,

Rin isn’t a good person

Spoiler alert: I loved his novel wholeheartedly, I hear the next books only get better. Still on the first few pages of the second book, i just needed to get this down.

Rin’s story is captivating and grueling. Rooted in so much history and struggle; it’s easy to see where the historical influence came in during the creation of the story.

The disturbing details and descriptions of a relentless war against a major enemy reflect the horrors of the Japanese occupation during WW2.

This story is told in such a morbid and beautiful manner that it’s hard to look away. All the tiny flaws can be overlooked in favor of the marvelous characterization. Altan and Rin felt so genuinely passionate as characters, i felt myself feeling the anger they felt.

By the end of the book you’ll realize what war and desperation do to a young fragile mind. Rin can be argued to be a fragile person at heart, doing drastic things just to put an end to her suffering. Her final act in this novel only serves to prove this point.

It is because of her actions that I truly fell in love with this character. Not that I agree with her, but that through RFKuang’s writing, I could empathize with someone who had destroyed an entire country of innocent people.

In the midst of tragedy and war, would you still be compassionate?

More Books Like This


More Books by R. F. Kuang


Customers Also Bought


Other Books in This Series