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The Poppy War

(The Poppy War #1)

by
4.08  ·  Rating details ·  8,176 Ratings  ·  2,073 Reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 544 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Harper Voyager
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R.F. Kuang There is no romance subplot or love triangle. There are relationships that could plausibly turn romantic, but they don't on the page.

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Emily May
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2018, favourites
“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”

Holy hell, what did I just read??

➽ A fantasy military school
➽ A rich world based on modern Chinese history
➽ Shamans and gods
➽ Detailed characterization leading to unforgettable characters
➽ Adorable, opium-smoking mentors

That's a basic list, but this book is all of that and SO MUCH MORE. I know 100% that The Poppy War will be one of my best reads of 2018.

Isn't it just so great when you find one of those books that completely drags you
...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Hands down Best Fantasy of 2018!

This was such an amazing read and cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of the trilogy. The books will be insta buys for me!

War, school, magic, no freaking romance... This book kept me on my toes.

I have no doubt this series will become huge and I'll make sure to rave about it until you all read it!

PS. Just wanted to add that there are trigger warnings for... well everything. Self harm, drug use, rape, etc. It's a pretty dark book!
Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)
A really good book has a beginning, a middle, and then it absolutely ends you. The Poppy War is a really good book. The kind of book that makes you want to take part in some ritualistic bonfire—it doesn’t even have to be ritualistic as long as you get to yell and scream and dance around it.

Look, I wish my pupils were at least heart-shaped so I could more accurately demonstrate my passion but if I ever die suddenly and don't have time to say anything profound, just know that my real last words wi
...more
Petrik
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Blood Song, grimdark/military fantasy fans
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 premise or the cover; this was one of those books for me
...more
R.F. Kuang
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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 might enjoy reading it. This book is not a romance sto
...more
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
The Nikara believed in strictly defined social roles, a rigid hierarchy that all were locked into at birth. Everything had its own place under heaven. Princelings became Warlords, cadets became soldiers, and orphan shopgirls from Tikany should be content with remaining orphan shopgirls from Tikany.

Well, fuck the heavenly order of things.
Epic. Spectacular. Breathtaking. This is the one of the best books I have ever read in my adult life. I literally could not put it down. I'm gushing, I know,
...more
Melanie
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melanie by: Petrik

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”

First and foremost, please go read one of my best friends in this entire world’s review: Petrik’s review is not only amazing, he is also an ownvoices Chinese reviewer. Next, I just want to warn you guys that this is a very dark book that is heavily inspired by the Nanking Massacre. Please use caution and know that this book has major trigger and content wa
...more
jessica
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘this book will seriously mess you up.’
- ancient chinese proverb

lets get down to business. there is a lot to unpack with this book, so im going to use this review as a way to process my thoughts. to begin, the story is broken down into three parts.

part one - this felt very YA to me. students are gathered at an elite school to train to become top soldiers for an imminent war. we get introductions to characters and decent world building. its very straight forward feel to this section.

part two - t
...more
James Tivendale
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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 qualities. She decides she needs to escape this prese
...more
Bookdragon Sean
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grimdark junkies
The Poppy War is not a book to be missed by fantasy fans and especially those who like it infused with copious amounts of blood, darkness and misery.

This isn’t some fluffy little tale about teenage romance and personal discovery (although it may seem that way in the beginning.) This is a book about reality. Now that’s an odd thing to say isn’t it? Reality? We’re talking about fantasy here. But do let me explain.

This is a book about the realities of war. War isn’t pretty. War isn’t about heroic
...more
Val Shameless ⚓️ Steamy Reads ⚓️
Low 3 Stars

Boy, did it take me forever to finish this thing.

I really wanted to love this book. One of my favorite reviewers adored it and sang it's praises, but it just didn't draw me in the way I thought it would.

The last 150 pages or so got really good (thus why I rated it 3 instead of the possible 2 I was planning on up until that point - not that it matters) and I smashed through them in one sitting; however, it still didn't save the entire book for me.

I felt that the world-building was lo
...more
Emma
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'm not going to lie, I struggled with this one. Right up to about 45% in I was wondering how the hell anyone was giving this 5 stars - not only was it not grimdark, it was borderline YA, and a rather blatant rip off of The Name of the Wind, including: super clever, good at EVERYTHING main character who gets a place at top university/college and proceeds to be trained/confused/challenged by quirky professor/lore master who is the only one who believes in/can do a specific type of magic etc etc. ...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

I can't believe this is a debut. I can't believe the author is in her early twenties. I can't believe humanity's history with war and violence is so deeply disturbing.

RTC.
Connor
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Connor by: Emily
Shelves: fantasy
My Video Review:
https://youtu.be/6hlv4tFLNRI


This novel started out so strong for me, and I can't believe how little I was enjoying it toward the end. This novel reads like two separate people wrote it. I loved the first 40 percent. I know people have compared The Poppy War to The Kingkiller Chronicle because of the academy setting and the fact that the main characters don't have much going on personality-wise. I get that criticism, but I was just enjoying the academy and the classes and everythi
...more
✨    jamieson   ✨
I have become something wonderful, she thought. I have become something terrible.

Was she now a goddess or a monster? Perhaps neither. Perhaps both.


Ms Kuang sat down and penned the fantasy of the YEAR and I am out here giving her mad respect. Taking inspiration from her study of Chinese history, specifically the Opium Wars, the Sino-Japanese wars and the Rape of Nanking, Kuang presents The Poppy War, a grimdark military fantasy set in the Nikara empire, based on the Chinese empire. If you want
...more
Piera
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book was incredible and is a new favourite fantasy!
*Would not recommend for young/sensitive readers - very graphic
Review available on my channel - www.youtube.com/pieraforde
❄️Nani❄️
2.5⭐

Loved it when I first read but the more time passes the more I recall many of the problems I overlooked what with all the excitement of finally reading it.

First part was incredibly enjoyable. Second part is where everything went haywire. Too many inconsistencies with the mc and in the pacing.

This book is NOT your run of the mill fantasy. Be mindful of trigger warnings for... well, everything.
...more
Hamad
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hamad by: Lily ☁️
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

BR with The Empress

War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who remains.”

🌟 The Poppy War, more like a war on tropes. Seriously people, this was an annihilation for all the tropes I read before.

🌟 I am forever Thankful for Lily for suggesting a BR of this. I have been skipping a lot of books that I think are hyped but not to my liking. This was among them because I thought it was more a historical fiction and I
...more
Lily ☁️
3 1/2 stars

This book is not a standalone, but part of a trilogy!! (Be right back changing it to a series here, so other Goodreads users won’t be misled, like I was.)

Also, I only just found out that the author of this book is twenty-one (21!!!) years old. I am shook & in complete, and utter disbelief. How??

// buddy read with a Backman stan


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Whitney Atkinson
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
tw/ gore, genocide, graphic rape & assault/abuse/mutilation, drug use/addiction

4.5 stars?

My review of this book is entirely contingent on the fact that I rarely read adult fantasy, so the density, length, and content of this book was out of my comfort zone. If you read this genre more often and love stories with morally ambiguous characters and storylines spanning many years and detailing war politics and countries at war, this would be right up your alley. At the moment, I'm split between l
...more
Sabrina The Trash Queen
May 24, 2018 marked it as to-read
I have very very high expectations for this.
I only read fantastic reviews for this debut, and I hope it lives up to it. 💚🤞
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/05/03/...

Sometimes I find it difficult to write a review for a book that I loved wholeheartedly, mainly because of all the emotions I’m feeling and it’s as if every single one of them is vying to burst forth from me all at the same time. The Poppy War is one of those books. There’s so much I want to say about it, like why it’s so awesome, why it spoke so strongly to me, and why you should drop everything and read it at once. Really
...more
Kaitlin
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
*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
- Racism
Yes, 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, working in the shop and trying to stay out of their wa
...more
Acqua
2.5 stars.

The Poppy War is a high fantasy book inspired by the Sino-Japanese wars. It's told from the point of view of Rin, a peasant from the Rooster Province who, through hard work and sleepless nights, managed to get into Sinegard, an elite military academy.

I really wanted to like this. In a way, I did, but I also really didn't like this. To start making sense, I'll tell you a quick summary of my thoughts: this book is divided into three parts. When I think about Part I, which is almost half
...more
Lily
* 7/26/18 * UPDATED with Chinese cultural references *

4.5 stars

The fact that this book exists amazes me.

Rebecca Kuang is only 21-years old. She is a Marshall Scholar studying Chinese history at Cambridge. She has penned a military fantasy inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War. She is my hero. She is everything I want to be in life and yes, I've already sent her an egregiously long email expressing my admiration (and yes, unbelievably, she emailed back!!!!).

The story follows Rin, a dark-skin
...more
Scott  Hitchcock
Although not listed as book 1 I hope this is a series. What a great opening statement. This book is a GrimDark and Historical Fiction blend that delivers on both an action and empathetic level.

If you're expect YA because the characters are young you'll be very disappointed. This is no more YA than Broken Kingdom and Jorg or Nevernight and Mia. These characters are dark, pained and utterly compelling. The author takes you into their pain and the atrocities of this world, our world.

The magic and
...more
Hannah
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy
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 half) is beyond brutal – but it is so well-written th ...more
Paul O'Neill
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
EDIT-Upon reflection, downgrading to three stars

Hmmm... this is such a hard book to review. I’m giving it a tentative [four] stars now but I may change my mind later. The only reason it’s getting an extra star is that the story acts as a pretty fantastic metaphor and has a message, which all good books do.

There were three parts to this book, and they didn’t blend very well with each other at all. Part one was fantastic, part two would have been completely overhauled if I was the editor and part
...more
Christina
"This is why we are strong. We draw our strength from centuries and centuries of unforgotten injustices. Our task-- our very reason for being-- is to make those deaths mean something. After us, there will be no Speer. Only a memory."


Things I liked:

》The intertwining of the magic system and with religion. I love unique magic systems and this aspect of the world was so interesting.

"The Phoenix isn't only the god of fire," he said. "It is the god of revenge. And there is a power, born of centu
...more
Dannii Elle
Listen to the hype. The hype does not lie.

Rin is an impoverished orphan from the outer-edges of her realm. There is nothing particularly exemplary about her as an individual and nothing particularly note-worthy about her life in general, as sorrowful as her circumstances might be. But all that is about to change.

Eager for an interruption to her mundane existence and desperate for an alteration to her future fate, that would see her wed to the highest bidder, she, through sheer strength of will a
...more
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