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The Poppy War ~ R. F. Kuang

August 5, 2019

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Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

ISBN: 9780062662569

544 pages

Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Ok, I fell head over heels in love with The Poppy War.

It was called “the best fantasy book of the year”, in 2018 and that was not wrong.

The epic story follows poor village girl, Rin, as she casts off the expectations of marriage and servitude to trade them in for scholarship and war strategy.

She leaves her village behind, having aced the entrance exam to prestigious Sinegard but making her way through the grueling military school is hardly as easy as sitting for an exam. She’s poor, country, and otherwise different from the rich, trained, military brats who have been bred for this their whole lives.

She does manage to make a few friends and ekes out a relatively normal student existence, finding herself knee deep in legends and folk lore studies while the rest of her classmates dismiss the path as antiquated nonsense.

As her tenure at the school marches on, the war they are training for rages and grows around them, leaving little room for doubt as to the importance of their study material.

All of this makes for an incredible ride, coupled with Kuang’s brilliant talent for story telling. Kuang, a lore and legend scholar to rival her fictional Rin, studied Chinese history at Georgetown and it shows in her sparkling and well crafted fictional telling of a less tangible world.

There is also a great deal of attention paid to the very real and modern opiate crisis but you’ll have to wait for my review of the second book in this series (coming tomorrow), to get into that in depth. Stay tuned for more!

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