Mini review: The Poppy War

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Paraphrased from Goodreads

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. 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.

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.


What can I say about The Poppy War that hasn’t already been said. It is literally perfect. Everything from the characters, to the writing, to the plot. It was brutal and intense, but its a war-time fantasy, so that was to be expected.

The plot is fantastic. We all know how much I love schools in fantasy settings, and I loved how in this book, we got to see Rin over several years of school. We got to see the school and different students, which I loved.

I also loved Rin. She’s a really great main character, and I loved her developments throughout the book. I’m really excited to see how she continues throughout the series. I loved the side characters as well. Nezha and Kitan and Altan are all great, and again, I’m really excited to see how things progress throughout the series.

I have nothing bad to say about this book, either. It’s just one of those books that is so good, y’know?

Overall, this was such an amazing book and I’m so glad I’ve finally read it. I will absolutely be continuing the series and am so excited to do so.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you plan on reading it? Let me know!

Ally xx

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12 thoughts on “Mini review: The Poppy War

  1. I’m actually not sure if I will be reading this book or not. It sounds good, but it also sounds like it might be too much for my preferences. I don’t generally like war books, partly because they are so intense. Even fantasy war is often portrayed as too dark for my usual reading preferences. That said, though, I am sometimes in the mood for intense, epic books. And during one of those phases, I might pick up this series.

    Liked by 1 person

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