the burning god review

Disclaimer: This book is not for everyone. This entire series in fact is not for everyone. It touches on very sensitive topics + is very graphic. Some of the trigger warnings include: war, racism, genocide, mass rape, sexual assault, torture, cannibalism, etc. Here is the full list of trigger warnings.

Title: The Burning God (The Poppy War #3)

Author: R.F Kuang

Publication Date: November 17, 2020

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Let’s get started.

Synopsis:

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 hasn’t 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, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?  

Cue the fires.

I finally got the opprotunity to purchase final installment of The Poppy War series two months after the release date aaaand wow.

That was something.

I’ve been holding off on finishing the last book of the amazing series merely because I was too scared of finishing it and I simply didn’t want it to end. Though I am late on the train and finished this book months after everyone else finished it, I surprisingly didn’t see any spoilers.

It honestly took me forever to finish this book even though I purchased this in January and it took two of my friends to bully me into finishing it and after much anticipation and many days of bullying… I did.

The only thing I can say is: why did I put this down in the first place?

If you follow me on Twitter, you were probably already aware of my Burning God thread that I started in January and abandoned until a few days ago when I finished it. And that thread is just me being in full and utter disbelief and shock because of what on Earth was going on in that book.

Within each page I turned, it just became more and more intense. More and more heavy and more and more… mind f*cking.

Reading this book was certainly a wild ride. There were so many moments where I had to put it down simply because it was getting too much.

I loved this book and I also hated it at the same time. Much like how I loved/hated the first two. Kuang has such a way of making me want to strangle her characters physically through the pages that it was driving me insane.

I didn’t have any theories whatsoever before I dove into this book, all I know/wanted was for Rin to take Nezha down.

Before I dive deep into my review about this book, all I can say for those who haven’t read the last and gut-wrenching conclusion to The Poppy War is that it is not what you expect at all. Multiple things happen in this book that had me on the edge of my seat and I simply had to put it down because it was either getting too much or because I was too scared to finish it.

(major spoilers ahead)

Slowly throughout the book, we see Rin become… well… insane.

She became basically insane.

What I liked most about this book was that Rebecca didn’t sugarcoat anything when it came to the topic of war. This book is as brutal and violent and it really jerks you to see the real reality and devastation that happens to people when a war occurs.

What I really like about this series is how Rebecca played with time (as wars do take over several years). We literally meet Rin when she’s only like 13 and throughout the time span of when she turns 20, we see her become a shaman, a war criminal, and a mfing murderer. She literally burned a dude’s testicles off at like 18!!! What?!

Even though this series takes course over several years, the books don’t feel too rushed or too long and yet we still feel/see the growth of the characters.

Throughout the last book, we see Rin take control and become a leader and also lose her way within these pages. Rin has seen/been through unspeakable things that it didn’t really surprise me one bit to see her lose her mind and and change into someone we don’t even recognize due to what she’s experienced. She sort of became… demonized.

She’s seen too much, fought too much, seen her own comrades die in this war and betray her. We literally see her at her breaking point where the phoenix basically consumes Rin and all she sees is red.

Vengeance becomes the only thing that strives her to keep fighting in this war. The only thing she has going throughout this book is defeating Nezha and the southern coalition.

The amount of people that betrayed Rin in this book just left me shocked like man! No one likes her!!!

I also want to bring up this really intense scene that I just can’t stop thinking about. It literally lives in my head rent free. It’s the scene when Rin goes back to Tikany after the Hessians are there and they’re celebrating their departure and Rin is with Souji right when the bombs go off and she realizes that Nezha has been following her this entire time.

That scene when Rin is fighting Nezha and she sees that the Dragon god in him is much more powerful than she thought. Nezha and his ability to control the water was at a whole entire different level. Not only could he control the water but he could manipulate it to his will. The scene was so intense because it was raining hard, hard and as much as Rin tried to use her fire abilities, Nezha just kept putting it out by summoning more and more rain. It was honestly so intense that it kept me on the edge of my seat because I have been anticipating the moment when Rin and Nezha were going to meet up after Nezha’s betrayal in The Dragon Republic. To be honest I don’t really know who I was rooting for because I knew that both Nezha and Rin were both powerful as fuck and it kept reminding me of when Katara and Zuko went to fight Azula during the last episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. And it also reminded me of that one meme where Squirtle was fighting Pikachu (even though Pikachu conducts lightningksjfks).

HONESTLY, TELL ME IT DOESN’T REMIND YOU OF THAT TOO.

(c) goes to artist!

(*side note when I found out Hanelei was Altan and Rin’s relative?? They’re cousins??? HUHHH)

INCEST!!! WHY INCEST???? I WOULD’VE CONTINUED ENJOYING THE BOOK IF REBECCA DIDN’T HAVE TO INCLUDE THE INCEST!!

The final book is much more darker than the first two. It has a much more realist undertone that the other two books didn’t have. While we were still centered around the story of war and destruction between two countries, there were still some light-hearted moments that made me laugh and smile and that was the relationship that Rin had with her comrades. Her anchor Kitay and the Cike. I found their adventures together and their banter to be funny and heart-warming. Chaghan and Rin’s back and forth was what honestly made me love The Dragon Republic and The Poppy War. The fact that this final book was more dark, more realistic made it have much more of an impact on me that I literally won’t ever forget. Even though the ending was certainly not what I was expecting, I know Rebecca wanted to portray realistic events of what actually happens in a war and that’s what made this book much more darker and deeper than the first two.

It is brutal and it is honest. Towards the end when Rin becomes so distrusting of everyone and her comrades until she thinks everyone’s just praying on her downfall is what made me so angry and so anxious for what was going to happen because I was getting closer and closer to the end and Rin was just becoming insane.

Finally, the ending… was not what I expected at all. It left me completely and honestly… broken.

Oh no! Jan becoming destroyed by another book? Are we surprised?

Thank you for stopping by.

Until next time,

Jan.