The war has ended, at long last—but in its wake, another begins. In R. F. Kuang’s sequel to The Poppy War, the citizens of the Nikara Empire’s southern provinces are no longer battling for survival against an invading force. Now, they set sail north to defeat their former leader, Empress Su Daji, and build a new, democratic government. Rin, a trained warrior, and her fellow shamans also take their place on the warships: though Rin might once have been content to see the old system (and the traitor at its head) burn, she is swayed by the prospect of helping to create a more just and more unified future for the provinces. But Rin is not just a soldier—she’s also the provinces’ most powerful, most incendiary and most unpredictable weapon. The story Kuang weaves around Rin and her battle-hardened comrades-in-arms in The Dragon Republic builds upon the reputation Kuang earned with her debut as one of contemporary fantasy’s most promising writers. The final book in the trilogy, The Burning God, is due in November. —Cate Matthews

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