A grimdark fantasy. Fully adventurous and revolves around all kind of dark thingy such as abuse, rape, drug usage, genocide, racism, gods and shamans and magic. Amazingly epic but tragic! I was actually hesitate to read this book at first. My first impression was, what is so great about The Poppy War that everyone keep on recommending this book? PHEW. I only understand it once I grab the book and indulge myself into the other world; dark and cruel and very exhausting. So what is this book about?
The Poppy War Synopsis
The Poppy War is a grimdark fantasy novel grounded in the real-world Chinese history and culture and has a little bit conflict about war and politic based on Second-Sino Japanese War. It also revolves around religion and mythology about the practice of Shamanism.
Rin the protagonist, a poor orphan trains secretly for a test that will put her into the prestigious school; Sinegard Academy for the elite group with intention to leave her unfortunate past behind and create a new destiny for herself. But little do she now, she then faced a harsh world that she never imagined.
When a conflict arises between the Nikara Empire and their neighboring nation, the Federation of Mugen, Rin is called to the front lines and to set foot into a war. She must decide whether to make a deal with the gods to unleash her shamanic powers. Her decision may change the war but result in the loss of her humanity.
The Poppy War by R. F Kuang Review
I was wrong to judge the book by its cover while matter-of-factly, everything written by R. F Kuang is so great that I enjoyed reading this book until the very last page. But I don’t think The Poppy War would make everyone happy unless you are into a grimdark fantasy and you don’t mind having something so dark and heavy on your plate. I warn you there are few scenes that are very distracting and too cruel to digest and even myself had a hard time to process it into my brain. Adding on the fact that it’s truly happening for real somewhere in our world, it gets more saddening.
Rin is the weakest before and the strongest after. But I am somewhat annoying with her character development because up until the half pages of the book, she still doesn’t know what to do with herself. Too scared to embrace her gift thus producing so many unsettling scenes. I was so pissed off, really. It’s like that that one episode only talk about her alone, very self-contained and too dragging. But I guess that is how it supposed to be. We all takes forever to figure out ourselves, no?
The disturbing parts, phew it made me so mad and questioning myself why is this world so cruel? Why is the villain exist? They should stay and rot in hell forever bah. Really. Would you want to kill entire human population for the sake of your own want and need? What’s the point of satisfying all your desire if you earned it with all the innocent bloods?
Speaking of what I love about the book is it took me on a crazy and tragic journey which felt so real. And reading The Poppy War reminds me of Arlina Starkov from Grishaverse trilogy and Nadezhda Lapteva from Wicked Saints. They all share some sort of traits similarity and I really love them. Brave and bold despite their weakness. Every characters in The Poppy got it depths and the world-building is fantastic.I don’t remember getting bored in any pages except for having a mental breakdown lol.
I really recommended this book for anyone who loves grimdark fantasy or if you are into fantasy and can take dose of cruelty in your mind while reading. Disturbing but gripping enough. I am currently reading the sequel, The Dragon Republic, and hoping for magical.
Rating : ★★★★★
The Poppy War Trailer