Overall The Dragon Republic was a good continuation even though it lacked a bit of the magic from the first book.
The Poppy War ended with such a bang,Overall The Dragon Republic was a good continuation even though it lacked a bit of the magic from the first book.
The Poppy War ended with such a bang, I kind of expected this second book to maintain that epic, large-scale momentum. Instead it kind of regressed and had more of a narrow focus on characters and their various relationships and connections. The larger conflict of the series did eventually make some good progress (in a way I really liked), but overall not a lot for the page count. I’ll admit I wasn’t in much of a hurry to pick this up after finishing the first one. The main draw of PW was the testing/schooling/training aspects and I was skeptical the author would be able to keep my interest without that huge selling point. As it turns out, I still quite enjoyed the book even though there were a few specific things that kept me from loving it.
I did not particularly like the main character’s growth arc (or lack thereof) in this novel. In the first book she was an understated badass who was willing to burn herself bloody to instigate change. Flaws aside, one thing that could always be said about her is that she knew what she wanted and fought with everything she had to get it. To have her suddenly become a pawn who just bends over at everyone else’s whims was really disappointing. I mean, this girl ::insert spoiler on what happened at the end of the first book:: clearly has the world at her fingertips but can’t stand up to a few petty rulers? It just didn’t make any sense. I know there were a few factors at play surrounding her mental health and PTSD, but it’s how easily she gave in and accepted pathetic threats and ultimatums as the only possible choices that bothered me. She was so passive! And I didn’t like how stagnant it made the story. This was not the same character. Plenty of things were happening TO her, but not a whole lot happened BECAUSE of her, and that distinction is why I rated the book sort of low.
I also got kind of tired of hearing her dwell on certain tragic events from the first book. It reminded me a bit of YA love stories where the MC’s whole world is a boy and nothing else really matters. I wouldn’t have minded it as much had it not lasted almost the entire book. Angsty. That’s the word I’m looking for. The book felt angsty.
One thing I really love about the series is the writing. Kuang is a brilliant writer who knows how convey the deep emotions of her characters in a way that makes me feel it in my gut. I can blather all day about criticisms of plot, but when it comes down to it I’ll not soon forget how this series has made me feel so far. It’s rather gut-wrenching. I also am fascinated with the overall idea for the story and can’t wait to see where she takes it in the final book. Although it has elements I’ve seen before, I’ve never read anything quite like it, and the originality is very refreshing. I’ve heard the final book is one of the better trilogy-enders out there, so I’ll definitely be reading on to see how she wraps everting up.
Recommendations: a breath of fresh air in the market, the series continued well in this second book. Not quite as strong as the first novel, it still had beautiful writing, lots of action, and a few memorable moments. I’d hand the series to fantasy fans who value originality and cultural diversity in books.
I must be more of a cover snob than I thought because had I not received a review copy (for audio production quality) I would have never picked this uI must be more of a cover snob than I thought because had I not received a review copy (for audio production quality) I would have never picked this up. Although I will say it fits the story perfectly.
It was a fun story. More a series of episodes (I remember hearing that this author specializes in web-serials, so that makes sense), it felt like reading a bunch of novellas with a solid through-line.
A boring (self-proclaimed), awkward white collar worker turned vampire was a funny duality. The character didn’t change much, which was a delight. It was a twist on an overdone genre that I’ve never seen before and I quite liked it. It was also pretty nerd-tastic (a good thing), and one of my favorite stories from the bunch had a whole LARPing section. The writing was conversational, sardonic, and self-depreciating. A very clear voice that made the characters likable and the experience of reading about them fun and light-hearted.
Really, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the book. While it didn’t knock my socks off, it was a nice little splice of fun amidst my other reading. I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing. I find myself much more interested in his Superpowereds series, but we’ll see.
Recommendations: the sardonic voice and short episodic nature of this story makes it easy to recommend. It’s a lot of fun without a lot of commitment. I think it would be great for people who want to read more but struggle with time or motivation. It’s quite satisfying to read short stories like this from start to finish in a single setting. And the through-line of the plot in each one will keep you coming back to see what happens next.
Yes, I picked this up because I binged the show on Netflix and now everything in my house must become a rainbow.
I was hoping the book would offer detaYes, I picked this up because I binged the show on Netflix and now everything in my house must become a rainbow.
I was hoping the book would offer detailed strategies to organize a home. Something that I could take and apply to my own space. Unfortunately, while it did discuss a clear step method, it lacked a bit of real-world application. More an exhibition on how they organized other people’s stuff, it’s more helpful for those individuals who already know how to organize to the same obsessive degree as the hosts themselves. However if you’re just getting the ball rolling this book does not cover any of the basics. And in fact might even discourage you because of how picture-perfect all of the examples.
All that said, if you’re just trying to find more organization porn to sustain you until a second season comes out, this fits the bill nicely. It was very satisfying to see finished projects and hear the details on how they completed them. And the rainbow organizing? I’d heard of it before but never really thought it practical. But then I went thought and rearranged my kid’s books and it elevated the energy of the space by at least 200%. It’s so appeasing! And we actually have an easier time finding books than when it was just arranged by author.
Overall, the steps in their method (edit, categorize, contain, and maintain) is very practical to follow. The book will reiterate over and over again that you should do these steps but gives very little detail on how to do them. Literally every other organizing book I’ve read digs deeper into these concepts. The authors also spends a good 1/3 of the book just chatting about themselves, their famous clients, and how much they each love organizing. Granted, it was in a cheeky, entertaining manner, but for my personal wants and needs it took waaaayy too long to get to the substance of the book.
Recommendations: while entertaining and very visually appealing, the book doesn’t go into much depth on how to actually execute their steps. More a celebration of their works and the logic behind their methods, this is more for entertainment than it is for self help / house improvement. If you’re like me and you just enjoy reading about organizing, this is stellar. If you’re hoping to learn how to develop organization skills, there are much more thorough books on the market.