Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Name: The Poppy War
Author: R.F. Kuang
Type: Book 1 of The Poppy War Series
Genre: Adult, War, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
“Children ceased to be children when you put a sword in their hands. When you taught them to fight a war, then you armed them and put them on the front lines, they were not children anymore. They were soldiers.”
A tantalizing story of finding yourself during wartime. The Poppy War by far is one of the most unique stories I have ever read. Based on real life events that occurred in Chinese History, it sets a story that is complex and gory. Although, I felt that my lack of history knowledge acted as a barrier in diving really deeply in the story, it is one incredibly written Adult Fantasy.
The Poppy War follows Rin, an orphan who is not supposed to succeed or want anything out of the ordinary out of her life. However, her biggest concern is getting married and thus she starts training for an exam she's not supposed to pass, however Rin proves everyone wrong. Ending up with the best grades and with a place in one of the toughest military academies: Sinegard.
The story is divided between Rin and her process of getting to the Academy and surviving being from a poor town, while having to compete with rich, trained soldiers, and the actual challenge of fighting in a war she wasn't ready for. As the story takes place in such a expanse chronological time period, it does seem much at times and since the writing is tough and gory (for a reason) it made the book hard to swallow. I definitely wouldn't say this is an easy or fast read. However, I believe it is made this way for a reason. As it is based on Chinese History, and discusses many horrid events like genocide and war it showcases a truth that many are not aware of. Paralleled with magic and drug use, it tells a very colorful and intriguing story.
The characters are well built and have a thorough storyline to them. However, one of my issues was not connecting with the main character. For the first part of the book (while she's in the Academy) I really didn't like her attitude. She was in a way very selfish and self sabotaging. However, I must say that by the second half of the book I found the groove of the story and felt hooked.
I am definitely going to continue reading the story, and I hope that unlike this first book, I can be intrigued by the plot from the beginning.
--- 3.5 stars ---