Wednesday, the 14th of April, and time once again for Shelf Control! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today, my pick is the first of a trilogy of the same name, The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. This combines fantasy and history to create an exciting tale of war, treachery, and magic.

This is the story of Rin who aces the Keju, a test to train at the Academies. This is a surprise to authorities who can’t believe a war orphan can do this, to her guardians who wanted only to marry her off, and to Rin herself, finally free of the servitude and despair of her daily existence. She is to attend Sinegard, an elite military school. But this is doubly difficult with her peasant background, colour and poverty which make her the target of her rivals. Facing them, she finds she possess a magical but lethal power–shamanism. Meanwhile their kingdom which has experienced war but is now living in peace and has turned somewhat complacent is brought to the brink of war again–the Third Poppy War. And it falls to Rin and her powers to save her kingdom and people.

I’d been hearing about this book a lot, and while I don’t usually like war-centric or battle-centric stories, the story dis sound interesting. A couple of months ago I read She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chen which while very different from this, is also a combination of history with some fictional and fantasy elements (more specifically, she gives the story of Zhu Chiongba, the founder of the Ming Dynasty an interesting spin). I enjoyed that story very much and as a result, also became more keen to try out this one, and ended up ordering myself the first instalment in the series. That it has a strong female character and an underdog of sorts who manages to overcome various odds makes it all the more interesting and I want to pick it up soon.

Have you read this book or the series? How did you find it? Worth the praise? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Find Lisa’s pick this week, The Other Family by Loretta Nyhan here

Book description and cover image via Goodreads as always (here)

4 thoughts on “Shelf Control #135: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

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