REVIEW: The Dragon Republic – R. F. Kuang (ARC)

41118857Title: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2)
Author: R. F. Kuang
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.

This review took me forever to write, because I couldn’t quite put into words the perfection of this book. There is no second book syndrome here, and no need to worry that it won’t live up to the hype: The Dragon Republic shines just as bright – if not more – than The Poppy War. Once again, R. F. Kuang has written a masterful fantasy story. 

Grimdark fantasies can be difficult to get through, but R. F. Kuang does an excellent job blending the darker aspects of the novel with lighter elements and some humorous dialogue. There’s a lot more political maneuvering happening in this book, as well as the consequences of actions taken in The Poppy War begin to make an appearance.

I think I enjoyed The Dragon Republic immensely more than The Poppy War for one major reason: the characters. New characters are introduced in this book that are essential to the story, such as The Dragon Warlord (Nezha’s father). I really enjoyed the complexity of his character and found myself easily understanding Rin’s reasoning for supporting him. Along with new faces, a couple of my favorite characters return from The Poppy War: Kitay and Nezha (!!!). The three of them are together for a good chunk of the book, it was amazing to watch Rin’s relationships with each of them deepen and grow. They really take center stage in this book, which I think is why I loved the book so much. Also, I don’t want to get too spoilery, but R. F. Kuang really gave me the fuel for my ship and my shipper heart was so thankful. ❤️

“Fire and water looked so lovely together. It was a pity they destroyed each other by nature.”

My original review was much different than this, because R. F. Kuang pulls a plot twist out of nowhere and nearly destroyed my will to live. The entire book is action-packed and fast-paced, but the tension really builds during the last few chapters with an ending that is going to sucker punch you in the face. Holy shit. I have no idea what to expect in the next book, but it is riding at the top of my list for most anticipated releases for next year. I’m going to spend my wait obsessively thinking about Rin/Nezha and crying into the void.

The Dragon Republic gave me a serious book hangover. Similar to The Poppy War, this stellar sequel is full of non-stop action, amazing morally-complex characters, political intrigue, and worldbuilding unlike any other. The world is not ready for this book.

 

 

#ARCstravaganza: The Dragon Republic – R. F. Kuang

Happy Monday! #ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme now hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile where readers can show off their wonderful ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and spread the word about upcoming releases. For more information about this meme and its origins check out this post.


ABOUT THE BOOK

41118857Title: The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2)
Author: R. F. Kuang
Release: August 6, 2019

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.


I was so excited that I was approved for this ARC because this is literally the first time I’ve ever been approved for anything on Edelweiss and it also happens to be one of my most anticipated releases for this year! Are you excited for The Dragon Republic? Have you read The Poppy War? Let me know in the comments!

#ARCstravaganza: Dark Shores – Danielle L. Jensen

Happy Monday! #ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme now hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile where readers can show off their wonderful ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and spread the word about upcoming releases. For more information about this meme and its origins check out this post


ABOUT THE BOOK

41438037Title: Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Release Date: May 7, 2019

A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense, a ship beholden to the Goddess of the Seas. Her people are born of the waves, and they alone know how to cross the impassable oceans between East and West. 

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his only family, and even they don’t know the secret he’s been hiding since childhood.

A DANGEROUS QUEST
When a power-hungry ruler captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they help him conquer the unknown West, the two are forced into an unlikely–and unwilling– alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

REVIEW: The Kingdom of Copper – S. A. Chakraborty (ARC)

39855052Title: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2)
Author: S. A. Chakraborty
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter (and also a huge thank you to Harper Voyager for the surprise that showed up on my doorstep on release day!)

A while ago, I read some slight spoilers about this on Twitter (my fault entirely) and ever since I was in such a knot of anxiety about reading the book. One of the fears of reading a sequel to a book that quickly became such a favorite, is that the second one won’t live up to the enjoyment of the first. I am here to tell you that there is nothing to worry about: The Kingdom of Copper is an excellent second installment full of all the same wonderful things that made The City of Brass one of my favorite books. 

S. A. Chakraborty’s writing continues to seriously impress me. I was very easily and quickly pulled back into this mesmerizing story full of djinn, political intrigue, and morally complex characters. This book is not small, and yet I had no problem flying through the pages. The main characters remain one of the strongest aspects of the story, and honestly one of the reasons I love these books so much.

Nahri – Now married to the son of her enemy, she’s trying to make the best out of the situation she finds herself in. Her devotion to her people, her resourcefulness and intelligence, and her determination to set things right not just for the Daeva, but also for the shafits, make her such a well-rounded character and I still really adore her. 

Dara – Once again brought back to life and made into a weapon, he struggles between what he knows is right and what he believes he needs to do. He’s trying his best, but his best is still not good enough (get your shit together, Dara). Despite his (many) mistakes, I would still happily lay down my life for this Daeva warrior. He could kill me a hundred times and I would thank him each time. 

Ali – In my opinion, he had the most character growth out of anyone. He grew on me so much during this book. After struggling between his warring loyalties, he’s finally come to terms with what he believes and is now willing to stand up for those beliefs. He’s such multidimensional character and I’m so interested in where his character is headed next. 

The only complaint I had was in regards to Dara and Nahri. Their bond and slow-burn feelings in The City of Brass were such an integral part to the story, and obviously I love a good romance like that. However, they don’t even interact again until less than a hundred pages left in The Kingdom of Copper. On the one hand, despite being discouraged by this, I think it was important for both of them to grow as characters and develop on their own. When they finally do meet, though, it was…underwhelming? I was expecting much more than what I was given, but I’m hopeful for what happens in the next book! 

I could go on and on about how much I love these books. The Kingdom of Copper was an impressive sequel to a stunning debut. It was impossible to put down and I fell in love with the characters and the world of Daevabad all over again. I’m already counting down the days until book three’s release. I cannot recommend these books enough. If you haven’t read this series yet, please do. You will not be disappointed.