The Burning God (The Poppy War #3)

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The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) audiobook

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Review #1

The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) audiobook free

It is always frustrating when the last book of a Trilogy is the weakest one and sadly that was the case with The Burning God. There were a lot of great parts to this story and the author should be commended for doing a great job building secondary characters up quickly. The inclusion of Chinese history and legend into the series is quite unique and expertly done throughout. Without giving anything away, I was satisfied with the ending.

So why the so-so review? There was a disjointed middle section that didn’t have a payoff worth the effort. The inconsistencies of the power of shaman was tough to reconcile as one moment they were all powerful and the next incredibly weak. Every single Altan reference could be eliminated from this book and it would have been much better. It got to the point where I would eye roll every time his name was mentioned.

That being said, I am excited to read what the author works on next. This was a fantastic debut trilogy by a young and promising writer.


Review #2

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I am going to be honest and say that I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first two books. I found myself struggling to grasp the story in Act one of this book. When I finally got past that and moved into the later half of this book though I was all on board. Especially those last 150 pages which were just some of these best sequences of the entire series. I could cop out and say that maybe part of the reason I struggled with this book in the beginning was because I picked it up right after Rhythm of War. Yeah probably not the greatest idea, so maybe I will revisit this series again in the future and see if my initial thoughts change.

Rin has always been such a strong yet complex protagonist. She is never one I ever found to be redeemable or likable and I am pretty sure that is how she was written to be. Rin in book one is vastly different from the Rin in this book. Almost unrecognizable and that is primarily because she is going down the path of real life dictator Mao Zedong. I don’t want to go into to much detail there because it is a lot. I agree with fellow reviewer Petrik from Novel Notions that you should do some light research to get a better understanding. Luckily for me I did have some prior knowledge of Zedong, so after reading his review earlier in the year I was a little aware of where this story was heading. Rin wasn’t the only character who had a great story. Characters like Kitay and Nezha were really put through the ringer. Even some of the other side characters I found myself caring for and empathizing with.

That was mostly doable because of R.F. Kuang’s excellent storytelling. Just because I struggled with the first quarter of this novel, The Burning God has to be R.F. Kuang’s greatest attention to writing thus far. It shines brightest again in those last 150 pages. I lost myself in those final pages in one sitting. One second it was light out, the next it was dark, and third it is getting a little blurry and I realized that was from tears forming in my eyes. The ending was extremely satisfying even if it ripped me to pieces.

The Burning God has given R.F. Kuang a definitive mantle as one of the greatest new voices in modern fantasy and the entire Poppy War trilogy will go down in history, at least for me, as one of the greatest modern fantasy series.


Review #3

Audiobook The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R. F. Kuang

Definitely enjoyed the authors writting style, the imagination, the pacing and the characterization was ( to me) first class. What didn’t click for me was this book. Loved the first two installment s , but this one was very hit and miss. The chapters when Rin was all self loathing and whiney just got old. I understand the importance of character development, but wow, little much. The other characters kept the story rolling though. Lots of other strong personalities that I found unique and interesting. The ending was stunning. The only way it could go. Looking forward to the authors next project.


Review #4

Audio The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

update: lowered my review. Much of my thoughts remain the same; for me I felt compelled to lower it because I originally was giving it 4 stars more out of obligation to the characters that I loved rather than being honest about my frustrations and its shortcomings.

Phew! How do I even begin to order my thoughts? R.F. Kuang, you have truly destroyed all of our peace of mind (in the best way possible) with these series and characters, and I thank you tremendously for it.
For now, I’m rating TBG 4 stars out of my love and appreciation for the characters and certain arcs that were seen through in this finale. However, in total honesty, I may end up bumping the review down, as I struggled a bit with some of the characterizations/ pacing of TBG.
Firstly, I have said this before and must say it again, while I understand and can appreciate that Rin is not a trustworthy or objective narrator, I found the continued character assasination and villification of Altan to be gratuitious and completley unnessecary. We ended The Dragon Republic with Rin beginning to believe and come into her own power, and yet a lot of her internal monolouge and perspective in the first half of The Burning God felt lifted word for word from her in the first and second books. So to that end, it just felt like Rin’s never ending obsession with and fear of Altan was tiring and frustrating, especially as we as the reader understand the person she imagines and characterizes isn’t actually who he was.
Going off of that, while I actually was not outraged by the ending and felt it made perfect sense, I did struggle personally with Rin’s descent into power hungry madness and tunnel vision regarding violence and waging wars. This is honestly a compliment to R.F. Kuang, as she characterized it and Rin’s loss of sense of reality so sickeningly well.
The last comment I’ll make is that as a finale, TBG felt a little bit like it bit off more than it could chew. You have the Southern Coalition, the Hesperians, the Trifecta plotline, all overlapping and yet at the same time, none feel focused enough on. I LOVED seeing Daji and Jiang banter and was a bit frustrated at how quickly- and vaguely-that storyline was resolved. I had so many more questions! I also think that the characters themselves suffered due to how much goes on in the book in terms of plotlines. Venka’s arc and ending felt really unsatisfactory to me, and at times it seemed as though Kitay would appear to chastise Rin’s nature and then be gone again.

All in all, the ending was beautifully- and PAINFULLY- crafted. R.F. Kuang has done an absolutely stellar job at writing a series that forces questions about human nature, about the true cost of war, and the characters of leaders; who they believe themselves to be, and who they are. Historically, culturally, this series is important. Am a better, more critically thinking person for having read it!


Review #5

Free audio The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) – in the audio player below

As I come to the end of this ambitious trilogy, I think it only fitting to share a little reminder of what has gone before. Heres the blurb from the inside cover:
After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.
Despite her losses, Rin hasnt given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.
Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners.
As her power and influence grows, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenixs voice, urging her to burn the world and everything in it?
That sets the scene nicely for the review, as Im determined NOT to slip up with any spoilers.
Rins journey has been long and arduous. She started out as a despised orphan; became one of Sinegards military elite; was bowled over by the discovery of her shamanic gifts; horrified by the desolation she could unleash; devastated by her descent into opium addiction; cast out as outlaw and renegade . . . until the tide appeared to turn and she was lured into the service of a powerful warlord who uses her talents to his own advantage, only to throw her to the wolves as an expendable tool that has no place in the world he envisioned.
Yes, Rins life has been a headlong plunge down the rapides, where every rise and fall, every submerged rock and hidden whirlpool, every twist and turn has molded her into the person she is now: a woman capable of rising in power and influence, but one who fights a constant battle to retain her humanity. Shes experienced the power of the Phoenix, and it is an addiction far deeper, far more insidious than anything a poppy can produce. A stark and ever-present problem, seeing as how she is so driven by vengeance. Thankfully, that yearning to burn everything under creation is tempered by a small group of friends.
But for how long?
Kuang deftly incorporates this dilemma into the very real pace of a countrywide war, fought over difficult terrain. (And in this, she deserves a lot of credit).
War isnt all blood n guts and nonstop action and glory. Its often long, boringly irritating and arduous. Kuang deftly weaves this strange ebb and flow into the story arc to present us with an incredibly accurate depiction of Rins war of attrition. Theres the slow build up during long, grueling marches. A gathering of momentum. Repeated anticlimaxes. Short, sharp bursts of activity when an actual battle erupts. The adrenaline dump of the aftermath. The gradual realization of how little victory can accomplish, especially when youre trying to juggle an ever-expanding web of logistical nightmares with the needs of a displaced or conquered community.
Yes, these riptides and countercurrents are superbly portrayed, as Kuang manages to weave them into actual ancient Chinese history, ethics, war strategy and politics. The end result being a superbly challenging story that brings a truly operatic production to its finale.
As ever, Kuangs characters are wholly believable and as tragically flawed as the folks you meet in real life. Their strengths and weaknesses are utilized, to deliver a dark, imaginative and brutally uncompromising story of what can happen to the best of us when you try to fight a war on two fronts. (NO SPOILERS).
Thats why the ending is inevitable. THATS why the ending is perfect.
Dont miss The Burning God. Its symphonic fantasy at its best!


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