The war is over.
The war has just begun.
Three times throughout its history, Nikan has fought for its survival in the bloody Poppy Wars. Though the third battle has just ended, shaman and warrior Rin cannot forget the atrocity she committed to save her people. Now she is on the run from her guilt, the opium addiction that holds her like a vise, and the murderous commands of the fiery Phoenix—the vengeful god who has blessed Rin with her fearsome power.
Though she does not want to live, she refuses to die until she avenges the traitorous Empress who betrayed Rin’s homeland to its enemies. Rin’s only hope is to join forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who plots to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new republic.
But the Empress and the Dragon Warlord are not what they seem. The more Rin witnesses, the more she fears her love for Nikan will force her to use the Phoenix’s deadly power once more.
Because there is nothing Rin won’t sacrifice to save her country . . . and exact her vengeance.
This series has been such a rollercoaster for me so far. I went in expecting this one to be a political high fantasy full of war and conflict, but the start of the first book began in a very different way. This series began with Rin moving to a magical academy in the north of her country, and I really loved the premise it presented. The initial day-to-day narrative of Rin’s life in the academy really drew me into the story, and I honestly thought the book could have ended up as a 5 star read.
Sadly, as the story went on, I realised that the war narrative I expected would come back. After the first part of the book, it became much closer to what I was expecting before I went into the story. There are definitely some content warnings across this series for violence, sexual assault, gore, genocide and more, so please go into these books with care!
Between us, we have the fire and the water.
The second book, The Dragon Republic, starts from where we left off at the end of the first book. The story continues with the war, conflict and political battles of the first. Although I find this interesting, and it’s what I expected from the series, I definitely wanted to be back in the initial phases of this story.
I’ve read the first few books on audio, and I’ll definitely be picking up the last one as an audio version too. I find it much more accessible to listen to than read, and it helps with the pronunciations of names and places too! If you’re going into this series, I’d recommend trying out the audiobook if it appeals to you.
I’m quite sure that together, we can take on the wind.
Overall, I will be finishing this series but I am constantly hoping we’ll be going back to a more day-to-day narrative about Rin’s life, which I unfortunately don’t think we’ll see again. But I’ll hold out for the glimmers of the kind of narrative I loved in the first book!
3 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽