cover image The Dragon Republic

The Dragon Republic

R.F. Kuang. Harper Voyager, $26.99 (672p) ISBN 978-0-06-266263-7

Kuang brings brilliance to this invigorating and complex military fantasy sequel to The Poppy War. Soon after the Third Poppy War ends, Rin and the Cike are captured by the Dragon Warlord, Yin Vaisra, who instructs Rin to destroy Empress Su Daji and unite the empire under one republic. As their assassination plans commence, Daji seals Rin’s power and escapes, while the Warlord’s negotiations force Southern warlords, such as Vaisra, to leave the Empire. Vaisra starts his campaign to unify the provinces first by starving the North and then by sending soldiers to occupy Northern cities. As the campaign continues, the Republic comes across the powerful shaman Feylen, who’s been sent by Daji to destroy their ships. Rin and her command are the only survivors, and they know a big battle is just around the corner. Using events from 20th-century Chinese history, Kuang builds an enthralling military fantasy brimming with betrayal and bloodshed. Each battle scene is prefaced by detailed planning stages that only heighten anticipation and help to create a realistic and well-composed world. Focusing less on Rin’s personal issues and more on war and intrigue, Kuang keeps series fans riveted. Agent: Hannah Bowman, Liza Dawson Associates. (Aug.)