Upcoming: THE DRAGON REPUBLIC by R.F. Kuang (Voyager)

KuangRF-2-DragonRepublicIn May 2019, Voyager are due to publish The Dragon Republic, the follow-up to R.F. Kuang‘s critically-acclaimed debut, The Poppy War. I read the first novel a while ago, but I’ve been struggling to write the review: I enjoyed the novel, and the characters were interesting. The clear borrowing from Chinese history was a little distracting, at times, for this reader (I’ve studied and written about East Asia for 20 years), but it was also well-done. The echoes and influence of the Rape of Nanking were harrowing and difficult to read. I’ll try to get something up on the site soon. If you’re interested in reading a fantasy novel that doesn’t pull any punches, does some interesting things with magic and world-building, though, then I think you’ll get a lot out of it. (It took a little while to get going, too, but it was always interesting.)

Anyway. I’m certainly looking forward to reading the sequel. I spotted the cover on Amazon UK yesterday. Here’s the synopsis:

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.

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.

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…

The Dragon Republic is due to be published by Voyager in North America and in the UK, in May 2019.

Also on CR: Interview with R.F. Kuang (2018)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Interview with R.F. KUANG

KuangRF-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is R.F. Kuang?

Me! I just graduated from Georgetown with a degree in International History. Next year I’ll be studying Chinese history on a Marshall Scholarship at Cambridge. I love corgis a lot.

Your debut novel, The Poppy War, was recently published by Voyager. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s like Avatar: The Last Airbender-meets-Ender’s Game, except the main character is Azula and everyone is on drugs. It’s the first of a trilogy. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE POPPY WAR by R.F. Kuang (Voyager)

KuangRF-1-PoppyWarUSYesterday, Barnes & Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog unveiled the cover for R.F. Kuang‘s upcoming debut novel, The Poppy War. This novel had only just come onto my radar, but I’m really interested in reading it.

The novel is inspired by China’s 20th Century history, according the above-linked post (I’m assuming early 20th), which made this novel shoot up my Must Read list — Chinese history is very much in my wheelhouse (BA and PhD). Couple that with the fact that I’m always on the lookout for interesting new authors… well, I’ve got to read this. Here’s the official synopsis:

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 already be too late.

The Poppy War will be published in North America and the UK by Harper Voyager in early May 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter