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Book Review: The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Book Review: The Dragon Republic by R. F. KuangThe Dragon Republic by R F Kuang
Series: The Poppy War #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 8th August 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Borrowed, Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars
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 Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.</br></br>

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.</br></br>

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

I don’t even know where to start with this review. I put off reading The Dragon Republic for almost a year. A YEAR. I adored The Poppy War and after THAT. ENDING. I knew I had to be in the right headspace for the sequel. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Then I finally though screw it, and picked The Dragon Republic up and never looked back.

Rin is still going through a lot of crap. After the way The Poppy War ended, I wasn’t too sure what to think or expect of her character. She did some awful things, and I think it takes a very talented writer to pull off a character in such a way that Kuang did. Honestly, Rin’s character development (or, sometimes, lack thereof) is done wonderously and it makes so much sense. She has grown in lots of ways, but in others she’s still the same ol’ Rin, leaving lots of room for her to continue to grow and work on her sh*t in the final book in the trilogy.

I do have a bone to pick with Kuang, though, because she completely destroyed my ship. Like, blew it out of the harbour. I’m mad and angry and super sad. And yet I’m still clinging onto the fact that it might resurface somewhat in the third book. PLEASE GIVE ME THIS.

In all seriousness, the only issue I have with this series so far is that Rin has, like, no female friends. All her close friends are guys, and she often shuts out female characters and looks down on them and belittles them. I really hope that this is addressed and tackled in the third book, as I think it’s the only downfall of the series for me. I don’t want to read about a badass main character if they don’t have any badass female friends! GIVE ME FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS, DAMMIT.

Read the book. That is all I wish to say on the matter.

Book Review: The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

Book Review: The Empire of Gold by S. A. ChakrabortyThe Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty
Series: Daevabad #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 11th June 2020
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

The Empire of Gold is, without a doubt, one of the best conclusions I’ve ever read. The City of Brass is one of the best series I’ve ever read, and I’m very glad that Chakraborty wrapped it up in this way. It’s full on perfection, so read my review below to hear my somewhat rambly thoughts on it.

If you’re interested, I’ve also uploaded a video review on Booktube, in which I almost cry on camera, get really protective of Nahri, and gush about how proud I am of everyone.

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Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena BarronKingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Series: Kingdom of Souls #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd September 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

Here’s my review of Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron! I’m very excited to have the opportunity to review Kingdom of Souls, which I thought was a great fantasy debut.

I have so many thoughts on this one! I’m going to try to be as coherent as possible. And no, that doesn’t mean this was a five star read (not quite!) but it ended up being a very solid four star one!

I read this book in two days. Partly because I had to (deadlines!) and partly because by the mid-way point I was kind of hooked. After about fifty percent, the book starts to kick off and I just could not put it down. But I should probably start from the beginning first.

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DNF: Beyond Redemption by Michael R.Fletcher

DNF: Beyond Redemption by Michael R.FletcherBeyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 16th June 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: DNF

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn't an axiom, it's a force of nature. What the masses believe is. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.

Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control.

But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates—The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left—have their own nefarious plans for the young god.

As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one's delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath.

The question, then, is: Who will rule there?

This is going to be an incredibly short review. Not even a review, really, just more of a brief explanation as to why I couldn’t make it past the first fifty pages. Spoiler: It was the writing style. It was all very bland. We were thrown into this world with little explanation, and then we were told what the characters were doing. Not shown. Told. And they weren’t doing anything interesting either, just talking a lot about a load of nonsense. The German names and words were also off-putting. I didn’t like it.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: June 4, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.

An Ember in the Ashes completely hooked me with that synopsis. After hearing about a book set in a Rome-like world, I had my eyes set on it and I waited eagerly for its release. I’m happy to say that An Ember in the Ashes didn’t disappoint. Continue reading