Reviews

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

carrie__hollis's review against another edition

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dark sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

piamikaela's review against another edition

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3.0

[3(.5)] this is a very difficult review to write.

this was the fastest i've gone through a book in a long time. rfk's writing style is compelling, haunting, so tragically beautiful that i could not help but read on. and with where the story did go, at least in this book alone--this was a very enjoyable read.

i also can't help my incredible disappointment.

the dragon republic set up the world, its antagonists, its protagonists and gray characters and side characters and everyone in between with so much brilliance that ironically, it was the burning god that dimmed it all down for me.

introducing the ketreyids and opening up the possibilities of the hinterlands; introducing the revival of the trifecta as a plotline; kitay becoming an anchor, qara's death and chaghan's quest; vaisra's manipulation and nezha's betrayal and pain; the cike's demise; hesperia's budding occupation; rin's passion and cruelty and devastation both inflicted and felt all came to a conclusion i felt to be unsatisfying.

the ending and its morals were not lost to me. everything rin said made sense. she recognized the cycle of war would continue, and so made a choice and the decisions leading up to it in a way that was true to her character and her values and beliefs.

but away from rin, that's where everything felt flat, rushed. so much seemed to happen without much happening at all, and that was largely due to how part 2 set up an impossible quest, doomed from the start that when it inevitably failed, by the time rin started picking up the pieces, part 3 was in full swing and dealing with an aftermath that was too big for a trilogy to undertake.

had there been one more book, perhaps i would feel differently. but there isn't one.

the world that was unfurling, the characters that have been budding in their development, were suddenly clipped. you could argue that is the nature of war: it's fast and unpredictable, death unavoidable. there will always be loose ends. but in staying true to this nature, the book was unable to do any of rin's company justice. chaghan (and even the trifecta) seemed only a plot device, kitay reduced to a moral compass. venka's arc i don't even want to speak about (especially considering she was one of the only female characters in the series). nezha was thrust into the role of antagonist when tdr seemed to already propel the hesperians into the slot.

even rin, at times, felt like an exaggerated version of herself to me, though i guess you could attribute that to her paranoia and madness (especially with a god in her head). still--a lot of character potential, for me, was wasted.

alone, i can appreciate the book and all it has to offer. i love this series. i love it fiercely. the poppy war was an amazing introduction. the dragon republic a breathtaking follow up. but the dragon republic also promised so much that the burning god was ultimately unable to deliver for me.

still, i am so thankful for the series, its representation, its world and its characters. i will remember it forever.

fishykaja's review against another edition

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5.0

Words could never describe what a rollecoaster this serie was... TPW easily snatched its #1 spot as mz favourite book(s). I'm not as good with words as other fellow readers (and perhaps this time it is because TPW left me utterly speechless). I cried ridiculous amount of tears that not even Nezha could stop the stream and my eyes could indicate I'm undercover Speerly with the way they're red I want to curse hell down on R. F. Kuang and give her flowers at the same time.. I wonder who's gonna pay for my therapy, because I'm in pieces. Kuang has such a way with words that make me completely drawn to Runin's world and the more I read, the less I want to go back to real world.
I knew I'd be left broken after this, and I was reminded of it while reading the dedication, but great tortoise nothing could prepare me for this...
I would recommend it to everyone, because everybody should be aware of this masterpiece, but god please read through the trigger warnings. It's a sino-japanese war put into a fantasy world, but Kuang didn't hold back with the war crimes. It's brutal (as war can be).
If I could I would give this hundreds of stars, not just five, but here we are.
Thank you to booktok for showing me this artwork. It was a heart-wrenching, life changing, painfully beautiful journey and I'm grateful I became part of it.

jpgnelson's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

tayo2000's review against another edition

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4.0

I have absolutely no idea what to rate this one yet. All I can say is wtf.

Okay so I’m settling on like 3.5, because I DEVOURED the middle 400 pages, but the last 100 pages was not what I was expecting at all and seemed like a deviation from where it was going earlier. I know that it was going to end the way that it did no matter what, but I feel like the way she went about it was not the best way to do it. Maybe if I think about it more my rating will change.

moonfawn's review against another edition

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5.0

Wow. Just wow. This book is by far, in my opinion, the best out of the ‘Poppy War’ trilogy.

The ending is what got me, albeit some instances were predictable, overall last chapter or two was a wild ride. I can’t remember the last time I had bawled my eyes out to a book in recent memory.

Throwing up, crying, screaming, dying… ugh. Heartbreakingly necessary ending.

*SPOILER Alert*

“…that look of wretched, desperate, and reproachful loyalty.

It said, Do it.

Take what you want, it said. I’ll hate you for it. But I’ll love you forever. I can’t help but love you.

Ruin me, ruin us, and I’ll let you.”

merireadstuff's review against another edition

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4.0

rin what the fuck

whatevanreads's review against another edition

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adventurous dark sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

I needed to take some time before rating/reviewing this conclusion. Was this a bad book? No. Was it a good book? Also no. Did it have some incredible parts that had me on the edge of my seat? Yes. Did it also have multiple sections that felt like a chore to get through to the point where I needed to skim? Also yes. This one has such a weird dichotomy.

The Dragon Republic was one of the best sequels I've ever read, so coming off that one I was expecting a thrilling conclusion. Unfortunately, the first 150 pages were a slog to get through and then most of the rest felt like Kuang was trying to fit in as much as possible. I don't like giving spoilers in any of my reviews (especially for series), so I won't be going into detail, but I felt certain aspects of the book warranted a lot more attention than what she gave them. On the flip side, she could've glossed over multiple parts she chose to focus on chapter after chapter.

I also felt like after doing such a spectacular job with Rin's character arc through the first two books, Kuang was in over her head with how to effectively round out her journey. This became abundantly clear in the very last chapter. It's a shame.

Overall, a "middle of the road" rating is most appropriate for how I feel about this one, so a 2.5/5 it is. Having said that, RF Kuang is and always will be an auto-buy author for me. This one just didn't reflect her impeccable talent. 

mubangak's review against another edition

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5.0

Incoherent pterodactyl screeches

ecompetente's review against another edition

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5.0

I have mixed feelings on how this amazing trilogy ended and a lot of questions in mind that I know should not be asked carelessly. But amidst all that, I can never be thankful enough to R.F. Kuang for giving me one of the best, if not the best, series I have ever read in my entire life.

The first book that I read from R.F. Kuang was Babel and that book enlightened and broke me in many different ways I didn't know I can break from. It was one of the best books I have ever read, and upgraded my standards when it comes to reading Fantasy. The way that Kuang wrote Babel was both informative and persuasive that she was able to pull you into this belief that this needed to happen and that was something new for me which I loved ever since. After reading Babel, I knew that I need to get more into her books and satisfy my curiosity and need for a change of pace which led me to the Poppy War trilogy.

The Poppy War trilogy was the first Military Fantasy I have ever read, that is also unknowingly, a Grimdark Fantasy. The Magic System in this book reminded me of Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles which was about Egyptian Mythology where in the characters serves as the hosts for the Gods of Egypt. Because of that, the magic system was much easier for me to understand and grasp and relate with it. What was very hard for me to cope up was how Grimdark this series was, which started in the first book and how R.F. Kuang writes the battle scenes. The Dragon Republic by far has the best battle scenes and war aftermaths for me among the three books. The details that Kuang gave for each scene was so realistic and gory that I can literally picture it in my mind and feel nauseous just by thinking about it. The way she writes about how Rin moves, how she decides what to do next, and how she sees the world was so interesting as it is not written to be morally good nor morally evil. It is just written as realistic as it is and as neutral as she can be, or we can say, how it was revolving around survivability. The Dragon Republic also has one of the best plot twist for the series and how it was stemmed from two very lovable characters and the concept of duty and betrayal.

For The Burning God, this book has answered most of my questions on how it would progress but at the same time, surprised me on how things turned out differently. This book was a rollercoaster ride for me because I never know what to feel or expect the moment I flip the pages on each chapter. The most memorable concept for the last book for me was the concept of parallelism. I loved how Kuang showed us the part of the story of the trifecta and how it connected to the final scenes of Rin, Kitay, and Nezha. The part where Rin decided the best sacrifice that she can think of, that was both questionable for me but also very valid and the only ending I can see to not ruin the legacy of Fang Runin and also save herself from becoming the reason why she started fighting in this war in the first place.

All in All, this was one of the best series for me. I never knew that I would love Grimdark/Military Fantasy if it wasn't for R.F. Kuang, and I will surely look for related genres and look forward to the next books of the R.F. Kuang.

Kudos!

Rating: 6/5