R.F. Kuang introduced a new genre into my life, historical fantasy, and it is awesome. Coming from the Philippines, a country that has also been colonized by the Japanese and several Westerners – I was able to relate to the historical part of The Poppy War series. Being partial to Fantasy, with its magic systems and amazing characters, I couldn’t pass up the second book in the series, The Dragon Republic.
I love historical fiction because it takes me back to a world I missed out on. I love how characters in these stories come up with ingenious ways to get around the restrictions past cultures and traditions place on them. What people have to free themselves from the ignorance of their time period.
Since Brandon Sanderson introduced me to magic systems, diverse races and make-believe religions – I have been hooked on Fantasy. I write fantasy because I feel limited by the laws of the real world. It’s the genre that challenges my imagination the most.
A Perfect Combination
The Dragon Republic is the perfect combination of Historical Fiction and Fantasy. The reader knows that R.F. Kuang is retelling the history of China from the warlords that kept the country divided, to the Japanese occupation where they were brutalized, and to welcome aid from Westerners who were also intent in colonizing them. It made me nostalgic for my own country’s history. But then the author injects the magical elements, inspired by their belief systems and superstitions. The book felt like the fingerprint of their great Asian heritage.
Through all the big things going on, the wars and the politics, the story was very personal. It was about Rin and her friends: Kitay, Nezha and the others. The character arcs of the major players were so well-developed and woven brilliantly into the plot of the story. This book didn’t feel like a second book in a trilogy to me, it felt like a stand-alone novel that deserved a standing ovation.
I was engaged by The Dragon Republic even before the first line of the book was read to me. The history from The Poppy War and the characters that were already so dear to the readers’ hearts were welcomed with open arms. I would recommend this to every reader who enjoys a great story. This was one of the best stories I’ve read this year.