Burn Them All: A Review of The Dragon Republic

41118857. sy475 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.

FAIR WARNING! There will be spoilers here, because some folks show up that we never expected to see again.

The Poppy War was my all time favorite read last year. It’s brutal, it’s grim, but it’s so damn good. I read it for a book club and I think maybe five of us finished it? It’s a beast, for sure.

This picks up a few weeks after the events of The Poppy War, with Rin leading the rest of the Cike on an assassination trip. That’s right, the best soldiers in all of Nikan are now just mercenaries for a pirate queen.

Rin is struggling. That’s putting it lightly, honestly. She’s not even really holding it together after she literally burned the entirety of the Federation of Mugen, witnessed Altan’s death, and is dealing with a killer opium addiction. Kuang is putting Rin through it, but in a way, it doesn’t feel overly abusive? Like, Rin is dealing with these things because of choices she made. These are all direct consequences of her actions. And it doesn’t shy away from PTSD at all.

We learn more about Hesparia, or, Europe. We learn about the missionaries, the outrageous racism (that honestly is accurate in regards to ideologies of the area/time). Sister Petra is the absolute WORST.

We see more of Nezha, that glorious cocky asshole. We learn more about his family. And some BIG SHIT goes down with him.

And the Vipress. The true monster of the story. Rin’s whole goal now is to kill her for starting another war and killing the only connection she had to her past.

A haunting look at PTSD following the events of The Poppy War, The Dragon Republic is an incredible sequel that doesn’t suffer from second-book-syndrome in any way. I give it 5 out of 5 tridents.

 

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