Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today, I’m bringing you an interview with Rebecca Kuang, the author behind my favorite debut of 2018, The Poppy War, and soon to be released sequel, The Dragon Republic. I’m incredibly honored to have the opportunity to read The Dragon Republic early and for the fans of the first book, I can assure you that it WILL live up to your high expectation; brutally.
Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Rebecca Kuang!
- Hi, Rebecca! It’s been a year since our last interview. Thank you for doing another one with me. Please tell us about your newest book and its main theme. Any message you want to leave for readers?
“Brace yourself” – Fonda Lee.
- The Poppy War was heavily inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. What would you say is the main inspiration behind The Dragon Republic?
The Dragon Republic spans more historical territory than The Poppy War, which was quite narrowly focused on WWII. You’ll find shreds of more recent episodes like the Chinese Civil War and the Opium Wars in addition to old old battles like the Battle of Red Cliffs. So in that way TDR is more of an original story, because it stitches together stories from so many different eras into an independent narrative, as opposed to TPW, which grafted quite heavily onto events from 1937-1945. …
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The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 List. (More info on this at the end of the post.)
Between January 1st, 2019 and June 30th, 2019, I’ve read and reviewed 61 books (33.6k pages). So far, it’s been an incredible reading year. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. The rules are:
- Rereads don’t count.
- One book per author.
- The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.
Do note that although this time there’s a rank to this list, I highly recommend every book listed below because I loved all of them immensely and they received a rating of 4.5 (rounded up on Goodreads) or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here we go! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)
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ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
The newest rising queen of fantasy is back with her newest book, The Dragon Republic, and it managed to live up to my super high expectations.
Can we first appreciate just how damn gorgeous the cover of this book is? JungShan has created another spectacular cover-selling ink illustration and I’m confident that many readers will pick up the book/series even if they don’t know anything about it. The same situation as its predecessor, the quality of the content of the book did justice to the beautiful cover art and vice versa. I’m pretty sure practically everyone who knows me on bookish social media knows how much I loved The Poppy War. I even created a Twitter account just to wish the author a congratulatory message on her debut’s publication day. If you don’t know/remember, here’s a short snippet of what I said about the first book:
“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year… a book that will go down as one of the best grimdark/military fantasy debuts of all time. […] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.”
Yeah… suffice to say that I highly loved the first book. Since then, The Poppy War has also garnered well-deserved praises, nominations, and awards; my high expectations towards its sequel were inevitable and I’m glad to say that after reading this book, my worry was unfounded and Kuang entranced me once again with her newest installment. …
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