The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that ha...

Details The Poppy War

TitleThe Poppy War
Release DateMay 1st, 2018
PublisherHarper Voyager
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Adult

Reviews The Poppy War

  • Petrik
    ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year. No no, scratch that understatement. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you a review for The Poppy War, a book that will go down as one of the best grimdark/military fantasy debuts of all time.Once in a while, there comes a book that you just know will be a fantastic book just from the pr...
  • James Lafayette Tivendale
    I received an advanced reader copy of The Poppy War from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank R. F. Kuang and Harper Voyager for this opportunity. Rin is a war orphan who works at her foster parents' shop and their main income is created by dealing drugs. Only just into her teenage years, Rin is offered a proposal to marry and bear children for an unattractive gentleman three times her age who has no redeeming qua...
  • Melanie
    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.RTC very, very soon!
  • R.F. Kuang
    Hi, there!THE POPPY WAR is my book, so I'm obviously a bit biased. I wrote it over three months during the winter of 2015, signed with an agent in February 2016, and sold the book to Harper Voyager during my birthday weekend in May 2016. It's been nearly two years since then, so I'm terribly excited for it to finally go out in the world! I'm going to use this space to tell you a little about THE POPPY WAR in case you're wondering whether you migh...
  • Kaitlin
    *I was sent this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*First up, trigger warnings for:- Rape- Self Harm- Substance abuse- Torture- Genocide- RacismYes, this is one pretty daaaaark book!I am so pleased I requested this one because it turned out to be exactly the kind of Asian-inspired fantasy I like. It's a story which starts in a rural province following a young war orphan, Rin. Rin lives with her adoptive family, work...
  • Hannah
    That was seriously impressive; I knew I needed to read this as soon as I saw the brilliant cover. The book has also garnered a serious amount of buzz and as such I was beyond thrilled to have the chance to read this early. I was then a bit apprehensive when the first reviews came in and they all emphasized the dark nature of this book – I usually like my fantasy to be not super violent. And don’t get me wrong, this book (especially its second...
  • Sana
    'I mean, we kill people on order, but on the whole we're quite nice.'*HOW HOW HOW IS THIS JUST THE FIRST BOOK IN THE TRILOGY AND A DEBUT AT THAT? It is simply so well-written and basically packs at least two books in one since it happens over a span of three or so years.Rin is just goals. She's now one of my favorite main characters because of how fucking badass she is. From page 1 till the last page (or as I read somewhere 'to the bitter end' wh...
  • Anna Stephens
    An original and engrossing tale of the coming of age of a talented young soldier amid the horrors of invasion and genocide. This is a really strong military fantasy debut, set in an intriguing Chinese-style setting that makes for a breath of fresh air in fantasy. The book splits neatly in two - Rin's acceptance to and first three years at the Sinegard military academy - and then the early termination of her studies when the Nikara empire is invad...
  • Bryan Camp
    So THE POPPY WAR starts out as kind of an inverted Mulan. There’s a matchmaker scene, and family decisions which force our main character, Rin to pursue a path that leads to the military. Kuang makes it clear right from the jump, though, that this is no Disney movie. Auntie Fang is a dark, dark woman. Rin’s options are bad and worse. And there’s sure as hell no clever dragons or lucky crickets to smooth her path. In fact, all throughout the...
  • Julie
    My official review:"A thrilling, action-packed fantasy of gods and mythology, THE POPPY WAR is equal parts military epic and exploration of the morally complex choices humanity must make in the name of victory. The ambitious heroine's rise from poverty to ruthless military commander makes for a gripping read, and I eagerly await the next installment."
  • Kelsea
    Somehow, I've gushed about this to everyone I know on bookstagram but I haven't officially reviewed it. Oops!This is the best fantasy book I've read this year and wow was it a pleasant surprise! I was fortunate enough to attend Emerald City Comic Con this year. When I made a purchase at the University Bookstore booth, they handed me this free ARC with purchase. I knew nothing about it, but hey - obligation-free ARC. Cool.At home, I surveyed my AR...
  • Eri (Airy Reads)
    I AM ON THE FLOOR I CANNOT EVENI need the rest of this trilogy desperately like wow damnnn the author really went there
  • Brynn
    This was incredible. Kuang makes world-building look completely effortless, and yet there are so many carefully crafted layers of history and myth here. While in some fantasy this happens at the expense of the characters, the characters here are vibrant and complex, as are the relationships among them. And, to top it off, this book satisfied my never-ending need for complicated female characters who could be seen as "monstrous" in Rin; I can't wa...
  • Heather
    Ever since I first read Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind, I've waited for a fantasy novel that could match it in terms of world-building, scope, and scale. R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War has ended that wait. The novel begins in familiar territory: Rin, an orphan, seeks a better life and has the talent and work ethic to achieve it. She not only passes the Keju, an academic placement test, but gains entrance into Sinegard, the premiere military ...
  • Tam
    I requested a copy of this book off NetGalley because the cover was beautiful and the premise intriguing. The Poppy War is a story based on Chinese culture and draws inspiration from the Sino-Japanese war, and also deals with opium and drug use/abuse. This is the story of an orphan girl, the last survivors of a murdered race, of war and its horrors.In short, The Poppy War is very well written. I can see it becoming very popular and doing quite we...
  • USOM
    Initially, I was attracted to The Poppy War just for it's world building and premise. But what I actually loved is that this book took it's time. Kuang knows how to get into each of these cracks, to really sink into events. That's not to say this book is slow, there's plenty of action, but each element seems carefully considered. And what ended up actually propelling me through the book is Rin - our main character. What I loved about Rin is that ...
  • charlotte
    (view spoiler)[ She was no victim of destiny. She was the last Speerly, commander of the Cike, and a shaman who called the gods to do her bidding.And she would call the gods to do such terrible things. (hide spoiler)]Galley provided by publisherTW: graphic descriptions of rape, violence, gore, torture; self harm; substance abuse; war related violence and gore (descriptions of desecrated corpses in particular)You know those books where you finish...
  • Mia
    Thank you again, Rebecca, for this beautiful ARC!Where do I begin??????????Let's start with trigger warnings because necessary things are necessary, man. I'm sorry, I don't make the rules:Self harm.Substance abuse/mention/consumption. Rape mentions. ):Uhhhhhhhh, I hope that's it and I'm not missing anything. Comment if I did!This story follows Rin, a young war orphan who grew up in what is considered the lower class. She studies her way to the to...
  • Emma (howlsmovinglibrary)
    I received a free ARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Honestly, this may be the most difficult review I have to write. This book is, in many ways and without doubt, a five star read. The first half was enough for me to believe that it might genuinely be one of my favourite reads of 2018. But I cannot truly give this book five stars based on my own reading experience. The second half of this book contains some of the most triggerin...
  • Tsana Dolichva
    The Poppy War by R F Kuang is the author's debut novel and, I have just learned, the first in a trilogy. It's a fantasy book set in an Asian-inspired part of its world (compared with the multitude of fantasy books set in European-inspired parts of their worlds), and follows a teenage girl as she goes from being a poor rural shop girl to playing a prominent role in the titular war.This book is many things, and long enough to fit them all in. It st...
  • Zaiba
    Welp.That's honestly all I can bring myself to say about THE POPPY WAR, a brutal, breathtaking, DARK AS FUCK fantasy epic inspired by the Sino-Japanese War and some of the larger historical and cultural questions that have long haunted the region. I'll try to contextualize that helpless monosyllable exclamation, but seriously, welp is all that needs saying.First of all, be warned: the book jacket summary really covers the first third of the book....
  • Mike
    4.5 out of 5 starsMy thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.Wow, this was a gem of a debut novel. I have never read a book that evolves so thoroughly from beginning to end. What starts as a traditional fantasy school story quickly devolves into a very grim tale of war and subjugation. I had read author R.F. Kuang’s warning that this book was incredibly violent and “not a YA fantasy s...
  • Michael Mammay
    Let me say this up front...this is NOT a YA book. It has a young protagonist, but don't let that fool you. This is perhaps the most brutal fantasy book I've ever read.With that out of the way, it's wonderful. The best fantasy I've read this year. The writing is exceptional, the subject matter complex, dark, and engaging. It's a fantasized version of a war between Japan and China, with gods and magic thrown in. There are a lot of the normal tropes...
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show
    In a secondary fantasy world inspired by early 20th Century China, a young woman’s determination and drive to succeed and excel at any cost runs into the horrors of war, conflict and ancient, suppressed forces in R. F. Kuang’s excellent debut novel, The Poppy War. -PWFull review at:
  • Lisa
    full review to come shortly
  • J.A. Ironside
    ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewHere is what happened: you called a god, and the god answeredHave you ever read any Chinese or Japanese fairy tales the way they were meant to be read (rather than when a western translator has frigged around with them to make them fit a western mindset)? They can get seriously loopy and often the actions of the hero can seem quite arbitrary. The ending is nearly always ambivalent. While ...
  • Amy Morgan
    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. Rin is a war orphan adopted by shopkeepers who basically take her in because they have no choice. They use her to run their undercover opium operation and to take care of their son. When Rin finds out her adoptive family plans to marry her off to make even more of a profit off of her and be rid of her at the same time, Rin decides to try and pass the Keju the Empire-wide test to find the most t...