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.
I didn’t think it could be possible but this was better than the first book!!
We pick up shortly after the events of The Poppy War, Rin and the Cike are cementing their plan to kill the Empress, working with the Pirate Queen Moag. That is until she betrays them, and they end up being kidnapped by an old friend.
My god this book was awesome! I flew through it in a matter of days, and pretty much only put it down to watch Game of Thrones. I loved getting re-introduced to some of my favourite characters from the last book, and we get blessed with some totally fresh characters as well.
Rin’s character development through this book is epic. She is trying to live with her decisions from the Poppy War and is self-medicating heavily with heroin. She doesn’t want command of the Cike, and doesn’t feel she deserves it. When she and the rest of the Cike get kidnapped, Rin relishes in the chance to take orders instead of giving them… until the orders go against everything she believes.Though she is still hell bent on revenge, this almost takes a back burner once she realises what is really at stake.
I enjoyed seeing her relationship with the Cike grow throughout the book. She went from a resentful leader to someone who thrived off leading her men into battle. She was exactly the kind of leader they needed and it took her far too long to notice that. Her relationship with Kitay is another favourite of mine. In the first book you see them go from friends to enemies and their friendship is equally as twisted in this book.
I cant tell you how many twists and turns there are in this book! I couldn’t tell friend from foe, a thing that Kuang is extremely good at. You can believe in a character so completely and then BAM they’re evil spawn! The true deception comes to light at the end of the book, and the events that this cause had me shocked to the core!
We get to see so much more of Nikan in this book through Rin’s allegiance with the Dragon Warlord. Kuang’s world building is awesome, and her descriptions have you right along side Rin as she travels the Northern continent, as she trys to control the fiery Phoenix and as she realises who her true friends are.
Another 5* read for me! I can’t recommend this book enough, and if you haven’t picked up The Poppy War yet then what are you waiting for! If you need a little more of a push you can find my review for it here.