5 stars · Books · Epic Fantasy · Fantasy · Fiction · High Fantasy · Horror · Intrigue · Reviews

The Poppy War

If anything, this is not for the kind hearted. It is reading about war, and what drives people to commit atrocities. How much are you willing to do to commit them.

It begins from a girl who escapes. It is a struggle for her to survive, that she chose to take the test km holes she will pass. And when she did, the world opened to her.

It is one that succeeds in making a very very difficult character, to make them villainous, vengeful and yet sympathetic. I always understood Rin, even when it was incredibly tough for me to agree with her, I understood her. It is very very difficult, as much as this story treads the line between madness and sanity. Especially for the main characters.

It uses old Chinese Mythology, characters such as Nezha, Jiang Ziya and Su Daji. Albeit not to the extent that it strictly follows their narratives, merely choosing to use their names. Although seriously speaking, I would not have minded. It was a little jarring since I have seen the Investiture of the Gods. And more modern Chinese history, combined together to make a complex nuanced tale that makes you question even your own morals.

What is right? Not annihilating the enemy because it is wrong, even if they did the same to you? When do you stop sacrificing yourself for your country? How much can be sacrificed to save your country? At what cost will you try to win the war? And do gods control or the humans who do?

This is a very very difficult piece of work, due to how it treats the topic of war. As one where there is no right answers, simply choices. There is no way to go back once one made a choice.

Every character has a place, Kitay with well provided entertainment because I don’t know how anyone can read this otherwise. The Cike, same thing some of them provides a lot of entertainment which I deem necessary given how deep and dark the themes of the story are.

To Venka, Nezha and all the soldiers. They have a role, even if it is far lesser than the others.

Least of all, was how the characters all came alive in this story. All of them had their own personal motivations and choices they choose.

Overall, this gripped me from start to end. I could not forget the story once it picked up, from the witty remarks to the sometimes grotesque detaila of the story. Yet it is one which makes me think. Fully recommended if you want a good war story that questions how moral is it without ever watering down anything.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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