I’ve finished my second series of the year! Can you believe it? Never have I been this up to date with my finishing series reading goal. Could this be the year I actually manage to finish 12 series? I finished The Burning God and with that the Poppy War series. And of course I wanted to share my thoughts on the final book as well. So let’s jump in!
The exciting end to The Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.
After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.
Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.
Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?
The Burning God (The Poppy War, #3) by R.F. Kuang
Published by Harper Voyager on 26/11/2020
In this final book we see Rin returning to the south. After the heart breaking end to book 2, The Dragon Republic, Rin slowly makes her way ‘home’ and gathers new allies along the way. She wants to defeat the Dragon Republic and the Hesperians and while trying to do so we see Rin struggle with a lot haha.
The Rin we met in book 1 is far removed from the Rin we see in this final book, but at the same time it makes totally sense and at her core she is still the same. She wants to prove herself, she never backs down and can be very rash. Throughout the book there are a lot of times where Rin makes questionable decisions but she’s on a trajectory she just can’t get off of anymore. I loved seeing the toll everything was taking on her psyche, even though it was hard and sad to read. It was also so interesting, and so well done.
“I‘m exactly what they deserve,” she said. “They don‘t want peace, they want revenge. I‘m it.”
I listened to the audiobook for this one and was in public when I listened to the end. Not a great choice haha. I desperately tried to hold in my tears as my heart was ripped into pieces. Towards the ending I had an idea where the story would go, but I figured there were 2 possibilities. Either would’ve been heartbreaking but I think this one was the best we could’ve hoped for haha.
“You can’t do this for me,” he said. “I won’t let you.”
“It’s not for you. It’s not a favor. It’s the cruelest thing I could do.”
I’m amazed by R.F. Kuangs writing. The first book I mostly remember for all the intense and dark things happening during the war. But this final book I will remember because it made me think a lot. The Hesperians are basically white, Western colonisers and it is maddening to see how they feel superior and are so self assured in that aspect. It’s another heartbreaking part of the book, knowing this happened for centuries and seeing some characters question their worth because of it was so incredibly hard.
There are also a lot of war and fighting scenes in this book. And I think they were really well written. I loved seeing the strategies play out and tried to guess what would happen but ended up surprised a lot of the times! This is definitely how you do a book like this and I’m already so excited for the next R.F. Kuang book I’ll be picking up!