The Undoing of Arlo Knott

The Undoing of Arlo Knott - Bibliophilegr review

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

At thirteen, among pain and regret for his mother’s passing, Arlo Knott realizes that he has an extraordinary ability: he can reverse his most recent action. His power, at this point, comes with limitations. He has to remember exactly what was done in order to reverse it, and it must be the most recent happening. But it’s still a tremendous ability. Is this his free pass card into a life with no serious mistakes or dangers? Or can this lead to repercussions?

Soon enough, Arlo will realize that for every choice, there’s a price to pay. Even for him, and even as, while getting older, his ability seems to be growing. You can’t leave skeletons in your closet forever, and Arlo will have to understand that sooner or later. Meanwhile, strange results of his ability will come to haunt him.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott is a beautiful, hard-breaking, mind-shattering story of a person that holds an unthinkable, for today’s standards, power: to undo the actions that didn’t turn out well, while living the what-ifs that the rest of humanity can only ponder about.

Arlo himself is a peculiar character, driven by intelligence as much as by grief. Not always making the right choices (even with the power he holds in his hands), he goes through a life that’s equally intriguing and tragic, with small spots of sunshine in between. Arlo shows us what the human mind (and soul) are capable of: both in a positive and a negative scope. And his story doesn’t cease to amaze, from the beginning to the very last page.

Heather Child has carefully constructed a true masterpiece. I would gladly read this story over and over without ceasing to be absorbed by its details. This is a book you’ll want on your 2019 list – in fact, why not read it now? This is a choice you won’t regret.

Epic tales of fantasy: The Dragon Republic

The Dragon Republic - Bibliophilegr review

Rin has saved the Empire form destruction. But at what cost?

Distraught, feeling guilty and lost, and addicted to opium, Rin is still mourning Altan’s death. But she still has to lead the Cike. And if she wants to assassinate the Empress, she needs to survive. Soon, she decides to join the Dragon Warlord and his forces against the Empress.

After the Poppy War comes the Dragon Republic


But this time, it’s not a war that protects the Empire from an outside force. This is a civil war. A destructive power that’s a means to an end. And not everyone can be trusted.

The much-anticipated sequel to The Poppy War is finally here, and R. F. Kuang hasn’t disappointed. Picking up exactly where we left, we find our main hero in her hardest state possible. But Kuang has managed to portray this with such honesty and realism, that you can’t help but love even the darkest parts of Rin’s story.

The reader comes back to an Empire that might have won the war, but is on the verge of crumbling. Rin, disillusioned, has now taken a turn for the worse, assassinating the Empress being the only thing in her mind. But when she comes across old friends and a new commander, hope will rise once again.

Maybe Rin has found a way to master the god that lives inside her. She might have even found a noble cause to follow. But not everyone is honest, not everyone is a friend, and goals always come hand in hand with great sacrifice. And Rin already knows that all too well.

An epic fantasy tale or a dark story? Both

R. F. Kuang has already proven that she is very good at researching and creating an Empire from scratch. It should come as no surprise that she portrays the environment around Rin so well. And yet, she doesn’t cease to amaze the reader. Indeed, she’s leveled up her narration game.

On The Poppy War, she strategically arranged her pawns. On The Dragon Republic, it’s time to get them moving. And move them she does – not in the ways that one would expect. That is one of the greatest assets of Kuang: she keeps a fantasy world realistic enough to be liked, magical enough to engage us, and unpredictable enough to keep us on our toes. The result is a world of magic, warfare, pain, suffering, love, bravery, freedom and enslavement, horrors and miracles.

Granted, The Poppy War involved much more humor in its world building. Yes, the Dragon Republic is much darker. But it is darker times we’re facing, in this novel. And it makes a perfect fit.

All in all, The Dragon Republic is a great second book in the series, portraying perfectly an empire at chaos, as well as the destruction, despair, and also the hope that follow. Definitely a recommended read for all fans of fantasy epic fiction.