Books Fantasy Reviews

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

October 8, 2020

The Poppy War, and RF Kuang's writing, in general, is utterly outstanding. I was gripped from the beginning, couldn't put the book down and was desperate for the second as soon as I finished this one.

I'll say it to begin with, the hugest of trigger warnings for this book - primarily rape/sexual assault, self harm, death.

This is not a happy story, at times it feels like there's no hope, even the kindest of people are turned into something other by the battles they face in this book. What it is, I feel, is a look into the power of war, of fighting another people. Sometimes even fighting with yourself. Rin is a character fuelled by need, forged by rage and tempered by nothing. She's unlike anyone I have ever read about. There are occasional glimpses of sentimentality and care but quickly they're gone. She's utterly savage and I adore her.

The way in which the plot moved in this book was fantastic. I couldn't predict the next stage of Rin's journey at all. She begins studying intensely to take a test called the Keju, essentially the test that determines a persons future as it decides which college they're best suited to. Rin ends up at Sinegard, the only free and also the military college. From there to story takes a turn into the realms of magic, gods and an age old war.

Every single character is fantastic. The ones you're supposed to hate you do so with a burning passion, the ones you love you adore and some are often both and often you feel them at the same time.

I can't express properly how truly phenomenal this book was. If you can cope with a real grimdark fantasy series I highly highly suggest you pick this up.


Name: The Poppy War

Author(s): R.F. Kuang

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Pages: 527

ISBN: 978-0-00-823984-8

Rating: 5/5

Have you read The Poppy War?

What did you think?

Thank-you for reading,

Katie x

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