eARC Review: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2), by R. F. Kuang

the dragon republic r f kuangRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Fantasy


I received an eARC for this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Third Poppy War is over, but it does not feel like victory to Rin. She has become more and more dependent on opium, her senses dulled as she tries to control the Phoenix god and not lose her sanity to the horrors she saw and committed during the war. If she assassinates this one last target, the Pirate Empress Moag will lend her the ships and army to kill Daji – but it won’t be so simple. There are bigger players who want Rin by their side as a weapon. As the stakes become even higher than before, Rin must find out who she can trust and what she is willing to sacrifice.

The Poppy War is, by far, one of the best epic fantasy series I’ve ever read. It’s explosive, grim and very dark, throwing each character into the deepest despair they can imagine and then a bit further down. You sometimes can see the twists coming, but still you hold your breath and hope you’re wrong. By the end of the book, it was so incredibly intense I devoured it and could barely think of ever picking up another book again.

Rin remains one of the best-written characters in fantasy of all time. R. F. Kuang puts so much heart into her, so much pain and rage and hope, it’s glorious to read.

What stops me from giving the book a full 5-star rating is the slower middle part, which went on and on about religious differences and a thinly-veiled criticism of Christianism, which I don’t mind in itself, it’s just that it felt endless and since we already know where it’s heading, I just wanted to flip through the pages until we got back into action.

Otherwise, this is a masterfully written book. I still loved the first one more (as first books go…) and I can barely wait for the third, which has such a promising plot – so if this is the book I end up enjoying “the least”, then this is a 5-star series for sure.

8 thoughts on “eARC Review: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2), by R. F. Kuang

  1. I completely agree with you here! And honestly I can’t wait for the third book as I have no clue which direction this will take. I am still hoping for a certain ship but it seems it has sunk ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a really good trilogy! And if you wait till mid next year you don’t have to suffer waiting for the next books because I think the 3rd one comes out on the 2nd semester of 2020. 😀


  2. I definitely had more problems with this book than you did, but the whole part with the Hesperians was one of them for me too – the parallels with Christianity and white saviorism were starting to get a little too on the nose after a while; like the metaphor was at least sort of subtle at first, and then it just dragged on and on and on while making the same point over and over. The whole book kind of dragged for me up until the excellent ending… but I’m really looking forward to the third book! Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that was pretty boring. I must say the ending was a full 5 stars for me – R. F. Kuang loves to destroy us emotionally in the last chapters & she’s really good at it, too.

      But yeah the middle part dragged on a bit. I wonder how final the eARC version I read was – if they cut a bit of that out of the final review. You read the ARC too, right?

      That third book tho!!!!! Where it at!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I did read the ARC! And I got it way earlier this year – I want to say around March or something like that? So there was ample time for them to continue editing before the final printing. If I ever reread this series I’ll definitely check this one out from the library. I really hope they cut a bit…


  3. Pingback: The Sunday Snuggle W44/2019: October Wrap Up | Naty's Bookshelf

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