The Poppy War: A Novel by R. F KuangThe Poppy War: A Novel by R. F Kuang

The Poppy War: A Novel

byR. F Kuang

Hardcover | May 1, 2018

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“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 of 2018 pick!

Washington Post "5 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel of 2018" pick!

A Bustle "30 Best Fiction Books of 2018" 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.

Title:The Poppy War: A NovelFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:544 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.47 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 1.47 inPublished:May 1, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062662562

ISBN - 13:9780062662569


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Refreshing Addition to the Fantasy Genre I loved this adult fantasy take on the orphan accepted to magic school trope that we see so often in middle grade/YA fantasy books - this book is not about the magical orphan who has minimal strife at their school as compared to life at home. No, every part of Rin's life is hard and this book is a master class in showing work ethic. She studies so hard to get into Sinegard, forsaking sleep and embracing self-harm in the form of burning herself - only to get to campus and discover she is years behind. I'm not advocating self harm as a study aid, btws - I'm just saying that the emphasis in this book is on merit and struggle rather than being imbued with a secret special-ness. The world building is excellent - we visit so many areas of Nikara and each settlement/city/magical mountain, are so easy to visualize. The build up to war and the war scenes are tense, full of strategy, and the reality of loss and destruction. Most important of all, this novel feels original and not just a blatant rip off of LOTR. The blend of Chinese history with fantastical elements is so well done, and I am very happy that a sequel has been announced. Lastly, I will say that I read a number of reviews prior to picking up the Poppy War with content warnings about rape and atrocities etc. - and yes, the story does have everything mentioned in the content warnings BUT they're not present in an exploitative manner, which is what I was expecting because of how prevalent the warnings are. This is simply a novel of war that doesn't mask the reality of war - not the foray into torture porn I was worried it could be.
Date published: 2018-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Poppy War The Poppy War by R.F Kuang - Looks like: shadowed ink - Sounds like: the battle cry of devastated people - Tastes like: gruel and ash - Smells like: fire and blood - Feels like: the destructions of war and the rediscoveries of inner strength
Date published: 2018-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW this book is so good! A lot of really heavy and difficult topics discussed in this book, it's not for the faint of heart
Date published: 2018-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not bad I loved the first half of the book, in the school, but when it moved away I definitely liked it less. Still a very good book.
Date published: 2018-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New Favourite Series! This book has everything for me: adventure, action, a kick-ass female MC who works hard to get what she wants, AND THERE'S NO ROMANCE!! New favourite series, and highly recommend!! TW: genocide, abuse of all kinds, rape, etc...
Date published: 2018-07-18

Editorial Reviews

“This novel has already rocketed up to the top of my list of favorite fantasy reads of all time. It was everything I wanted and more.”