Book Review: The Poppy War

Author: R. F. Kuang

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 18+

Published: By Gollancz on November 8th, 2018

Content Warning: Check out this comprehensive list by the author

Format I Read: E-book

Grade: Outstanding

Book Review: The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

Book Synopsis (section header)

When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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Book Review: Empire of Sand

Author: Tasha Suri

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 18+

Published: By Orbit on November 13th, 2018

Content Warning: Death, genocide and abuse

Format I Read: Kindle e-book

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

Book Review: Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

Book Synopsis (section header)

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

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Book Review: The City of Brass

Title: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)

Author: S. A. Chakraborty

Genre: Adult fantasy

Format: E-book

Published: By Harper Voyager on November 14th, 2017

ISBN13: 9780062678126

Grade: Outstanding

The City of Brass

Synopsis

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary City of Brass – a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

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Book Review – In Calabria

Title: In Calabria

Author: Peter S. Beagle

Genre: Fantasy (adult)

Published: By Tachyon Publications on January 16th, 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Summary

(adapted from Goodreads)

Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences.

Thoughts

Note: I received an e-copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

It’s a simple narrative, but at the same time comes off as deep and profound. Maybe it is because of the snatches of poetry and the thoughts of the farmer Claudio Bianchi, or the quiet majestic presence of the immortal unicorn. I went into this book without having read any of Peter S. Beagle’s earlier works, but I’d definitely heard of them. Being such a celebrated author in the circles of fantasy literature, I think I expected a lot more than what the book offered me.

Read the detailed review here.

Recommendations

I’d recommend this book first and foremost to animal lovers, those who enjoy good writing and readers of fantasy looking for a tale that is off the beaten path.

In terms of the music, rustic country or folk music would be the perfect accompaniment.

It is best digested with a cup of warm tea and a hint of oregano or Italian basil in the food, so use this is an excuse to gorge on pastas.

Links

Book: Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Author: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook