Review: The Poppy War, by R. F. Kuang

the poppy war r f kuangRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Fantasy, Adult Fiction


The Poppy War tells the story of Rin, who against all odds passes the Keju and got a placing in Sinegard, the most prestigious military school. As she trains to become a soldier, the Third Poppy War is going to start, and it might cost her everything: her friends, her blood, her humanity.

This is an intense fantasy story! This book is an epic based on Chinese history, more specifically on the Opium Wars. Before you decide if you want to read this, do know that this is an adult book, a very, very dark story and full of trigger warnings, especially for drug addiction and violence.

Rin is such a unique character – she is strong, intelligent, proud. She is an orphan raised by foster parents who made her work on their shop – which sold opium illegally. She has seen addicts all her life. And then she passes the Keju on first place, and earns a place in a prestigious military school, and has to put even more effort into not being kicked out there, where she suffers much discrimination for being a girl, dark and poor. But as she grows as a powerful soldier and discovers her power of shamanism, a war is brewing – the third Poppy War.

The plot is so rich that I recommend to read this book in several installments, as a lot of things happen. The pacing is just right – not too slow as sometimes books that start with the main characters finding their power and studying can be. No, this books’ plot thickens and darkens like a snowball falling downhill and turning into mud, dirt and blood. Oh my god, this book is among the darkest I’ve ever read. Despite having a young main character (Rin is 14 in the beginning of the book), this is NOT a young adult genre.

I really enjoyed reading it, savored every word and had my heart broken over and over. I highly recommend The Poppy War!

11 thoughts on “Review: The Poppy War, by R. F. Kuang

  1. Pingback: My TBR for the @AsianReadathon + Recommendations by Genre #representasian | Naty's Bookshelf

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