The Dragon Republic

The Dragon Republic

The searing follow-up to 2018’s most celebrated fantasy debut – THE POPPY WAR.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 Emp...

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Title:The Dragon Republic
Author:R.F. Kuang
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Dragon Republic Reviews

  • Petrik

    Can we first appreciate just how damn gorgeous the cover of this book is? JungShan has created another spectacular cover-selling ink illustration and I’m confident that many readers will pick up the book/series even if they don’t know anything about it. The same situat

    Can we first appreciate just how damn gorgeous the cover of this book is? JungShan has created another spectacular cover-selling ink illustration and I’m confident that many readers will pick up the book/series even if they don’t know anything about it. The same situation as its predecessor, the quality of the content of the book did justice to the beautiful cover art and vice versa. I’m pretty sure practically everyone who knows me on bookish social media knows how much I loved

    I even created a Twitter account just to wish the author a congratulatory message on her debut’s publication day. If you don’t know/remember, here’s a short snippet of what I said about the first book:

    “I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year… a book that will go down as one of the best grimdark/military fantasy debuts of all time. [...] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.”

    Yeah… suffice to say that I highly loved the first book. Since then,

    has also garnered well-deserved praises, nominations, and awards; my high expectations towards its sequel were inevitable and I’m glad to say that after reading this book, my worry was unfounded and Kuang entranced me once again with her newest installment.

    No story summary from me; if you want to know the plot, read the official synopsis of the book at your own risk. Following the catastrophic conclusion of the first book,

    plunges Rin and her companions into a brand new war. In the first installment, Kuang divided her storytelling clearly into two sections; a coming-of-age battle school fantasy for the first half and a grim military fantasy for the second half. Unlike other series like

    or

    , where the characters continue training in schools,

    threw away the battle school concept completely, turning the book completely into a cleverly crafted military fantasy. Full of darkness, tactics, shifting allegiances, war and death, Kuang continues her trademark of delivering a superb story that vividly explores the horrors of war. I loved Kuang’s prose in the first book, which is why I found it to be incredibly satisfying to read her stunning improvement in prose within this novel. This is a significantly bigger book than

    , it’s almost 700 pages long and yet there wasn’t any moment that felt boring or dull. The engaging narrative and prose captivated me thoroughly from cover to cover; the second half in particular—especially the last 20%, more on this later—was simply amazing and pulse-pounding. War changes everyone indiscriminately; no one came out of it unscathed mentally or physically. The escalating and harrowing effects or aftermath of war were shown expertly through the well-developed characterizations.

    As with its predecessor, the narrative was told exclusively through Rin’s perspective. The events of the first book have left Rin riddled with guilt, regret, and anger. To say that Rin is angry is seriously putting it mildly. She’s angry at the world, at herself, at her friends, at everything. War has changed her and her companions, and yet they still can’t catch a break; peace remains firmly lodged out of grasp and unforgettable loss continues to happen. This is a grim book, written with more mature and refined prose; the character’s darkness and personality elicited emotional responses of all kinds from me. I mentioned in my review of the first book that that Rin is one of my favorite heroines in fantasy because I found her to be very well-written and her personality traits were really clear. That being said, something you have to know is that Rin is inspired by Mao Zedong, Rin does make questionable decisions. She has no impulse control, and she does a lot of stupid things because of her anger and what happened to her. In her path toward overcoming legacy, opium addiction, and accepting her power, Kuang deconstructs Rin’s character completely down to her core, presenting her at her worst for almost the entirety of the first half. I’ll admit that in the first half, there were moments where I wanted to slap her several times, and in my honest opinion, this period of time could’ve been shortened a bit. However, seeing her at her worst did make her the fruition of her character development in the second half stronger. This situation reminded me of

    by R.J. Barker, another book I really loved which involved the main character being driven heavily by darkness and rage, but came out all the better once the character was able to overcome it. I highly praise Kuang for her characterization for Rin and the side characters. Most of the side characters helped immensely in bringing moments of heartwarming and light to balance Rin’s life; their interactions were charming, compelling, and I loved reading about them.

    The world-building has also moved further beyond Nikara and the Mugenese federation. The new race, Hesperian, came into play here. Hesperian is a race of Westerners, most likely an allusion Germany during World War II, and their arrival brought technologies, arquebuses, airships, and more expansion to the world-building. Not only was the world-building expanded, but Kuang also provided revelations and more in-depth lore to the history of her world.

    One last thing before I close this review: I would like to applaud Kuang’s imaginative and destructive depiction of the magical battle scenes. The action sequences were simply magnificent and the last 20% of the book demonstrates Kuang’s best battle scenes and closing sequences so far. It was insanely breathtaking, by showing the power of a vermillion myth and the gods, the clash of the blazing rage and overwhelming cyclone were extremely well-executed. The actions and character’s decisions constantly delivered immense implications for future events of the series. Kuang truly ignited her skill in writing great military fantasy within the last 20% and I honestly can’t wait for more. The gripping naval warfare, brilliant aerial-combat, tension-packed elemental battle, and the unflinching infernal torrent of powers were vividly realized and felt cinematic to read.

    I don’t think I have anything else to say without spoiling any events from the series. If you loved

    , I honestly think that you have nothing to worry about.

    is an unputdownable sequel that deflects the infamous middle book syndrome with brutal precision. With

    , Kuang has proven that her debut wasn't a one-hit wonder, further establishing herself as the new rising queen of fantasy. The architect behind

    said: “Brace yourself.” Let me just add that you’ll have to find an adamantium building to hold on to. The might and rage of the Phoenix knows no limit, and Rin's newest journey will mercilessly incinerate your heart up to the last page. Rebecca Kuang and this series is truly a treasure for Asian-inspired military fantasy and I simply can't wait to read the conclusion of this trilogy.

  • ✨    jamieson   ✨

    Fang Runin? Her weed? I roll that. Her hand? I hold that. Her back? I got that. Her wife? I am that. Needs someone to die for her? I'll do that

    Here I am thinking nothing can be more epic than The Poppy War and R.F Kuang comes and smacks me across the face with THIS BOOK. The BREADTH this world has. THE DEPTH these characters have. THE COMPLEXITY

    Fang Runin? Her weed? I roll that. Her hand? I hold that. Her back? I got that. Her wife? I am that. Needs someone to die for her? I'll do that

    Here I am thinking nothing can be more epic than The Poppy War and R.F Kuang comes and smacks me across the face with THIS BOOK. The BREADTH this world has. THE DEPTH these characters have. THE COMPLEXITY of morality and relationships in this series. the HISTORICAL REFERENCING that underpin this series creating an interesting mirror of our own world. The TWISTS, TURNS AND INCREDIBLE PLOT that has given so much intricacy in this second book. The entire time reading this I just couldn't stop thinking about how no one I've read writes fantasy like R.F Kuang. She truly owns my whole ass

    ALSO, we're not gonna think about all those Zutara dynamics and how she really fucked me up with that water and fire metaphor I'm really not strong enough

    Deserved 5 star for Kitay making a dick joke about Nezha regardless of anything else tbh

    Review to come

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء

    [some characters may die, but all the mains are okay]

    DEATH. EVERYONE DIES. PAIN AND SUFFERING.

  • Hamad

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found

    🌟 The Poppy War was one of my favorite 10 books last year. This book is one of my most anticipated books for this year, I was so happy when I was given an ARC through Edelweiss from the publisher (Thanks a million) and I did not read it immediately because I was scared of being disappointed! Kuang proved that she is Queen of Fantasy again a

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found

    🌟 The Poppy War was one of my favorite 10 books last year. This book is one of my most anticipated books for this year, I was so happy when I was given an ARC through Edelweiss from the publisher (Thanks a million) and I did not read it immediately because I was scared of being disappointed! Kuang proved that she is Queen of Fantasy again and I was left satisfied!!

    🌟 I will never get over the fact that this book was written by an author who’s the same age as me but she did it when she was 19, which is mind blowing! There are improvements in the writing to be honest but I slightly prefer book 1 and I will explain why here.

    🌟 The author has a great prose and although I find these kind of books harder to read than YA ones, I was not bored at all and I found myself wanting more and more! The second half was better than the first half but all of it were good, there is a very good half and an even better one! I did not read TPW before jumping into this one which I regret doing and I think next year I will be re-reading both before diving into book 3 so I can get all the details and not miss anything as this is becoming one of my series books of all times.

    🌟 The characters were great, I like how Rin is still morally grey, how she has motives and she feels real! She is not annoying and I feel myself sympathizing with her too sometimes. Here is one of the things I liked better in book 1, the cast was a bit more fun to read and I just LOVE the school setting which of course was not here given that they finished that in book 1. However, try not getting attached to any characters because you never know who dies here!

    🌟 The first book had some time jumps but this book mostly happens in one period of time. That was something I also liked in book 1. The world is expanded here and the political intrigue is even more complex and 2 maps were provided and I think there is room for more expansion!

    🌟 The plot twists were great and the book still goes into dark places and you need to be in the right mind set to read it! I suck at providing TW so I hope someone else does! I just had to stop from the shock sometimes and I was like “Who hurt you Kuang, whyyyyyyyy??” and I mean this in the best possible way!

    🌟 Summary and Prescription: If you liked book 1 then you will probably like this book 2, if you did not read book 1, then what are you waiting for? this is one of the best fantasy books that I recently read and I encourage all fantasy fans to do so but beware of the heavy things it deal with.

  • R.F. Kuang

    get ready

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    WTF...

    I was nervous going into this book that it wouldn't be as great as the first one but here we are...

    Love the world, love the magic system, love the characters' development and where the story is going. I really liked how the world keeps getting bigger and more complex.

    I can't wait to see what the last book will bring!

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Omg!!!!! I have this pre-ordered and was going to read with my group and reread first one. I will just reread them ALL later! Netgalley came through!! I almost fell over!! So it’s on baby!

    REVIEW:

    DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! That ending! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!

    This will be a short review. I'm not going to spoil anything but you can skim over some of the quotes as you might consider them as a spoiler.

    The Dragon Republic starts out with a bang; right out of the gates as I like to say. Rin is messed the hel

    Omg!!!!! I have this pre-ordered and was going to read with my group and reread first one. I will just reread them ALL later! Netgalley came through!! I almost fell over!! So it’s on baby!

    REVIEW:

    DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! That ending! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!

    This will be a short review. I'm not going to spoil anything but you can skim over some of the quotes as you might consider them as a spoiler.

    The Dragon Republic starts out with a bang; right out of the gates as I like to say. Rin is messed the hell up! She's fighting Opium addiction and trying to control her power. I had so many moments that I felt for her, so many moments I wanted to strangle her for being so stupid and childish. But most of all, I loved watching her grow in this book. Rin went through some sh•t people. Not just Rin but her whole crew; whom I adored.

    Trying to seek revenge on your enemies while fighting an opium addiction seemed damn near impossible and you could feel every moment with Rin. (at least I did) And trying to fight losing control of your powers.

    Rin has some wonderful friends but a world that is trying to tear her apart from the inside out.

    Rin and her crew are trying to take down the evil Empress but they are getting swindled left and right. They end up with the Dragon Warlord trying to fight against others. People are killed, used, abused. Rin is lied to and watches innocent people die; watches people that she knows die. It seems like nothing is ever going to get better. BUT. There just might be a spark of hope in people she didn't even consider. There are things brewing. Will Rin and her people be able to bring the world down around the evilness. Wait and see.

    I think these books are wonderful and the author nailed it in both books so far. For me, there was no second book syndrome. No holds barred, an incredible tale of hate, war and friendship.

    ***This is an uncorrected proof of the book and any quotes will be changed if they are not correct in the finished copy. I would like to thank Netgalley and the Publisher for a digital copy of this wonderful book for review.***

    Mel ♥

  • James Tivendale

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Dragon Republic in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank R.F. Kuang and Harper Voyager.

    The Dragon Republic is a phenomenal follow-up to what was one of my highest rated fantasy books of 2018, and I think this exceeds the debut in almost everyway.

    Rin is a drug-addled individual who has the monstrous, murderous and perhaps demented power of the Phoenix at her fingertips. We join her here as the commander of the Cike; potentially orchestrat

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Dragon Republic in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank R.F. Kuang and Harper Voyager.

    The Dragon Republic is a phenomenal follow-up to what was one of my highest rated fantasy books of 2018, and I think this exceeds the debut in almost everyway.

    Rin is a drug-addled individual who has the monstrous, murderous and perhaps demented power of the Phoenix at her fingertips. We join her here as the commander of the Cike; potentially orchestrating her shamans who can wield the extraordinary power of certain Gods. Those few "lucky" enough to be able to manipulate such absurd yet undeniably powerful magical abilities have to look forward to one of two eventualities. Death or utter madness as the Gods seem to easily overpower their hosts so that these shamans will no longer be able to control their actions. Since the finale of The Poppy War, Rin has built a steady but not completely trustworthy relationship with a Pirate Queen. Rin completes tasks for her under an agreement that she will be supported when she turns her attention to the bigger picture. Which, of course, is getting her revenge by murdering the Empress.

    This Oriental-influenced dark fantasy epic features a huge world, all the political intrigue you could hope for, expertly presented dramatic moments, smooth dialogue, and also, the narrative often leaves the reader wondering if the person about to be betrayed is going to betray the betrayer beforehand. You'll have no idea who to trust and something intense and unpredictable happens at least every sixty pages.

    It features the majority of the ensemble from The Poppy War but since those events began approximately four years ago these characters have changed so much following their involvement in the last war. One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the relationships between Rin and a lot of the major characters. These include the genius strategist Nikay, the twins Chaghan and Qara, and her sort of father figure The Dragon Warlord. All the above being stated though, nowhere near the majority of the ensemble who started The Dragon Republic make it to the end so be warned. Many of your most loved players will die. Possibly in horrible fashion.

    A main character from the first novel who was one of my favourites returns but I don't want to mention his name just in case that approaches spoiler territory. His and Rin's chemistry is dynamic, to say the least. Love, hatred, respect, admiration, disgust, misunderstanding. My reading of Rin personally, as the novel is still presented solely from her point of view, reflected the above-mentioned feelings. Half the time I adored her and the other half I couldn't follow her train of thought when considering consequences. She's a brilliant and complex protagonist who is drug-addicted, recruited for a cause not her own, she loses something important to her, acquires dramatic new abilities all whilst having a God whispering in her ear and a vendetta to complete. It's as much of a headfuck for the reader as it must be for Rin herself so congratulations to Kuang for presenting it this way.

    R.F. Kuang is the brightest new star in adult fantasy which I guess is an oxymoron as she writes some of the darkest material around right now. The Dragon Republic truly ups the Grimdark ante. There are some utterly gruesome moments. There is a huge amount of chaotic war action presented throughout and all the nastiness that comes with it. The rebellion events in the novel take over 14 months so we're witnesses to amazing naval battles, sieges, land and guerilla warfare, and even a race that flaunt plasma-like weapons and have built airships. The latter may seem out of place if you've just read this review but it fits in with the overall narrative and will make perfect sense when you get to this story. Although young, Kuang has a knack for writing some of the best fantasy and makes it seem effortless. She will be mentioned alongside names such as Lynch, Lawrence, and Sapkowski for awesomeness very soon. To conclude, what happens at the end of this book is spectacular and the pieces are now set on the metaphorical chess board for what will be a monumental last outing in this series.

    "Between us we have the fire and the water," she said quietly. "I'm quite sure that together we can take on the wind."

  • jessica

    this book is a black hole - it consumes everything in its path and leaves no survivors. 

    if youve read

    you already know this series was headed for inevitable darkness. this is a bleak, unforgiving installment of betrayal, heartbreak, loss, and anger. i know many readers wont like the relentless tone of this novel, but i love it. appreciate it, even. i think kuang expertly captures the feelings and atmosphere of war, regardless of how miserable it may make the reader. 

    i also love

    this book is a black hole - it consumes everything in its path and leaves no survivors. 

    if youve read

    you already know this series was headed for inevitable darkness. this is a bleak, unforgiving installment of betrayal, heartbreak, loss, and anger. i know many readers wont like the relentless tone of this novel, but i love it. appreciate it, even. i think kuang expertly captures the feelings and atmosphere of war, regardless of how miserable it may make the reader. 

    i also love how rins character is developing. she definitely lives in that morally gray/middle area, but the reader exists in that area right along with her. even if i didnt agree with some of the choices she made, i could definitely understand and empathise with her. 

    the writing is a delight, as well. it feels so fresh, which should be impossible given the subject material. but the writing takes a historical influence and makes it feel modern.    

    the only thing preventing me from giving this five stars is the fact that the plot is so war/politics/strategy heavy. which is such a silly thing to complain about, i know. i know this is a war-based historical fiction fantasy novel/series, but its the fantasy elements that really draw me into the story and sell it. i wish i could enjoy the war aspect more, but my eyes tend to glaze over long paragraph of tactical descriptions. thats no fault of the books, though. 

    overall, this is a brilliant sequel. i can tell kuang has grown as a writer since her debut. she was strong before, but now she is straight up lethal and i fully expect the next book in the series to be the death of me. 

  • Emily May

    "combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect."

    YES. I am so ready.

    🐉

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