Book Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

This fantasy is about a young girl Rin who lives in poverty, who lives with her horrible adoptive family who sell drugs to make ends meet, when a proposal of marriage comes, she is determined to get into the most elite military school Sinegard to escape. She aces the test and while there, she is put to the test because she is not like the rest of the students, she also discovers she has shaman powers, all this happens while there is a threat of war, that turns nasty. It shows that war isn’t about glory and winning, it shows how frighting it is, how controlling, how ordinary people get hurt. It is an amazing book.

It’s a pretty dark book as well, it’s not a soft, fuzzy feeling book.

Some Trigger warnings for self harm, drug use, rape ect.

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I really enjoyed reading The Poppy War, the book is set in a fantastical world based on early 20th Century China. It is fast paced, and so well written, it kept me at the edge of my seat, I didn’t want to put the book down. One of the main things I liked about it was, there was no romance in this book, most fantasy books have some element of romance, or sometimes are built around a romance, but this book didn’t have any of that. It was about Rin as a character and her development, as well as the politics of the world, it was a nice refreshing change to read a fantasy book like this.

Rin as a character was really interesting, I loved reading about her progress and how she felt and saw situations. I liked most of the characters she interacted with, and how each of them had their own development within the story. Rin is a woman who is really driven and will do anything to succeed. She works her ass off to get where she wants to get, I really admired her for that.

My only criticism for the book is at some points in the book a lot of time passes within one paragraph, and it made me wonder what had happened durning that time, did she learn anything new, how she felt about it. I think if R.F. Kuang expanded some of these things then it would have made a much more interesting time scale, and we may have learnt something more about Rin.

On Goodreads I gave this 4.5 stars.

If you have any questions about the book, let me know in the comments, and I will try my best to answer them for you.

Thanks Bookworms.


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