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.