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Old 05-17-2018, 04:05 PM   #1
pwalker8
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The Poppy War - spoiler alert

I am slowly working my way through my May books. Just finished The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang.

This is a book that I would say is worth reading, but has flaws. Like a number of books by new authors, it started great and then kind of lost steam at the end. Finishing a book seems to be the hardest thing for writers to learn.

The book, which is rather obviously based on the historical Poppy Wars and Boxer Rebellion in Chinese History (not surprising since the author is a student who specializes in Chinese History), with a supernatural twist. As such, it's an interesting change of pace from the usual western fantasy.

One never knows how much to reveal in a review. The protagonist, a young orphan girl who manages to escape the drudgery of being married off by getting into a special school (a standard plot device, but well done here) really captured my attention through the first 2/3rds of the book as the protagonists goes off to school and excels by working harder than anyone else. Where it started to lose my interest is when the story drifted away from school to the invasion of Muran (rather obviously the Japanese circa 1930 rather than the 1900 Boxer rebellion time period) and the awakening of the protagonists powers. I found the change in scope and focus to be rather jarring. Also, by the end of the book, the protagonist goes from a sympathetic figure to a very unsympathetic figure. One might even say she becomes a villain.

All in all, I will give the book good marks for being well written and starting strong. Like I said, it's worth reading, but flawed.
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