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The Poppy War

af R. F. Kuang

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

Serier: The Poppy War (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4,3211332,670 (3.86)117
Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

An AudioFile Magazine Best Audiobook of 2018!

A Library Journal, Paste Magazine, and ENTROPY Best Books of 2018 pick!

Washington Post "5 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel of 2018" pick!

A Bustle "30 Best Fiction Books of 2018" pick!

"I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year [...] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang's] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin." ?? Booknest

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China's twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu's Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy.

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 had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard??the most elite military school in Nikan??was even more surprising.

But surprises aren't always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power??an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive??and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin's shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may alre… (mere)

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» Se også 117 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 129 (næste | vis alle)
I thought it was a very good book, but bit difficult towards the end. This is very much not a young adult book. I need to read reviews more thoroughly before I start books, since I went in thinking if was a Harry Potter type of thing with a scrappy upstart who goes to magic school! VERY MUCH NOT THAT AT ALL. Let's see, there was drug addiction. Genocide. Violence. War crimes. More drug addiction. More violence. More genocide. Yikes. Parents, if your children are reading this book it is really for adult audiences, with adult themes.

I liked the use of Chinese mythology and the historical context. The author based some of the book on events of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which I spent some time reading about when I finished the book. I will certainly read the next book in the series.

( )
  Greenfrog342 | Jan 22, 2024 |
A wonderful start to a series with tons of potential. It was very easy to get sucked into the story, and I found myself reading a good chunk of it in one sitting. The writing is accessible and engaging. You get a wonderful sense of Rin's desperation and her masochistic, obsessive drive to push herself beyond normal limitations. "Pain in exchange for power" is an overarching theme of the novel. Rin's early actions foreshadow the significantly larger stakes that unfold later in the novel. She's not an idol. She's not a pure hero that people would necessarily want to emulate. She's a highly flawed survivor who hangs out in that moral grey zone that's fun to roll around in.

The novel is split between a competitive academy setting and brutal warfare. Both sections of the novel have a distinct tone. Readers may find themselves preferring one above the other. The two settings are linked together by one of the story's strongest elements: shamanism and magic. The way this novel handles the use of "magic" is refreshing in its peril, as utilizing it comes with considerable and potentially cataclysmic repercussions. You quickly understand why they're referred to as "The Poppy Wars." The Poppy War itself is brutal, unforgiving, and heavily inspired by real life events in all their horror. Kuang pulls none of her punches in these grim sections.

My only critique lies in the fact that it doesn't always feel like a self-contained story that will naturally build into something more complex. You can easily see that elements of the story are left hanging for future sequels to resolve. Teasing is good, though some of the unresolved elements are pretty major and/or are rapidly introduced and then just as rapidly dropped in the last quarter of the novel. So it's less like teasing and more like someone smacking you in the back of the head and then running away really fast. Some of the B-string characters also take a hit here, especially Rin's merry band of superhero shamans, as they are introduced too quickly to really build comprehensive personalities and backstories.

All in all, though, it's a highly satisfying and enjoyable read. I especially like how the ending isn't conventional. I won't spoil anything, but you expect the "good guys" to behave in certain ways courtesy of excessive TV shows and novels dealing with these struggles. Rin, in keeping with her masochistic and borderline manic character, ignores all of these expectations and does her own thing with all the repercussions that comes with. And it's a highly refreshing tease of things to come.

Definitely looking forward to the sequels.

"Hello, I am praying," and "Please leave," formed into one of my favorite dialogue exchanges in a long time. ( )
  b00kdarling87 | Jan 7, 2024 |
i need the next book immediately. holy crap. when i started this book i told people it seemed to be part harry potter/chosen one goes to school and part avatar, then it turned into a mulan mix. and then the x-men a little bit?
having finished, it was ultimately its own thing standing (burning?) separate and brilliant. goodness. such sadness, such sorrow, such incredible writing. ( )
  lindywilson | Jan 3, 2024 |
You know those sword and sorcery fantasies where one lowly girl is destined to succeed against all the odds and, with the assistance of one or two special powers and a band of eccentric but loyal companions, lead the forces of light to push back the numerically superior forces of evil?

Well, this isn't one of those fantasies.

In fact, it isn't really a sword and sorcery fantasy at all. It's an alternative history of the Second Sino-Japanese war with the addition of a small number of Chinese Shamans who can weaponise the power of the Gods.

There is a lowly girl at the centre of the story. Her name is Rin. She's an unloved war orphan, physically abused by her guardians. They don't make her sleep under the stairs like Harry Potter. They beat her, starve her, and use her in their illegal opium business until she becomes old enough to marry off at a profit. But Rin's not driven by fate or a belief in her own destiny. She's powered by deep-seated anger and a determination to survive, whatever the cost.

By a mixture of bribery, hard work and a refusal to quit, Rin makes it to a prestigious military academy where, to no one's surprise, she is not treated well but where she demonstrates extraordinary skill and determination.

It does sound a little like a normal sword and sorcery saga doesn't it? There's even a charming Shadow Puppet show to explain the local mythical version of history. But nothing here is romanticised. Nothing is about doing the right thing in the face of evil. It's about learning to focus your anger to ensure your survival.

In this hierarchical, competitive, paranoid and violent society, war is not a heroic game. It's a no holds barred fight for survival. When war arrives before Rin gets to graduate and she and her classmates are thrown, unprepared, into the middle of it, Rin sums up the martial mindset when she gives her view on why their old enemy from the longbow islands is invading her country, Nikar. She says:

"Because they're crammed on that tiny island and they think Nikar should be theirs. Because they fought us once and they almost won... what does it matter? They're coming and we're staying and at the end of the day whoever is still alive is the side that wins. War doesn't determine who is right. War determines who remains."

Even though I could see that this was an alternative history of China and even though I knew how grim that history was, I was still shocked when, in Part 2 of the book, the author gives graphic, unflinching accounts of genocidal atrocities. These are not images that would ever find their way into a David Edding book. They're also not images I wanted to have burned across my imagination with no warning.

Are you familiar with the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1937, on the citizens of Nanjing (sometimes written Nanking) in the six weeks after the Battle of Nanjing? No? It's usually called the Nanjing Massacre or The Rape of Nanjing. Look it up. The details are horrific.

The Nanjing Massacre seems to be the source material that the author drew on when describing the atrocities committed by the army invading Nikar. The descriptions are graphic, detailed and prolonged. As far as I can see she hasn't had to make any of them up. They all happened in Nanjing.

There's nothing exploitative or ghoulish in the way the atrocities are described, just factual statements of what Rin and her people see when they enter the city and first-hand accounts from the small numbers of survivors who had hidden amongst corpses in the streets.

From that point on, Rin is set on a path of revenge. There's nothing pure or righteous about the path she's taken. She doesn't follow the path because it's her destiny or because her Gods made her. She follows the path by choice. She does what she does because she is consumed by hate so deep that she can no longer see her enemies as people. They are just things to be killed.

Given that Rin is as close as this book gets to having a hero, this is grim stuff.

There are lots of things to admire about this book. The storytelling is engaging. The characters feel real. The world-building is vivid. The action is intense and unpredictable. The supernatural elements are integrated seamlessly into the military narrative. The thing I admire most is also the thing that makes this book painful to read: It is unflinching in its portrayal of what happens when the powerful treat those they hate as less than human. She shows what happens to the victims, the survivors and the perpetrators. None of it is pleasant.

There are two more books in this series. I'm going to hold back on reading them for a while. There's only so much unblinking realism that I can take at a time. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Jan 1, 2024 |
After Babel, tracking back to read the author's earlier novels. This one isn't a perfect start, but certainly is a good read. ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Viser 1-5 af 129 (næste | vis alle)
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Kuang, R. F.primær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Forbes, DominicOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
JUNGSHANOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Zeller, Emily WooFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

An AudioFile Magazine Best Audiobook of 2018!

A Library Journal, Paste Magazine, and ENTROPY Best Books of 2018 pick!

Washington Post "5 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel of 2018" pick!

A Bustle "30 Best Fiction Books of 2018" pick!

"I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year [...] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang's] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin." ?? Booknest

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China's twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu's Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy.

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 had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard??the most elite military school in Nikan??was even more surprising.

But surprises aren't always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power??an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive??and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin's shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may alre

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