[763]: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

I’m not much of a fantasy reader. Most of the books I’ve picked up in this genre are truly an intensive labour of love. But when I decide to read one, it’s usually because I’ve been persuaded through word of mouth. This couldn’t be truer with The Poppy War.  It’s been a popular choice for fantasy and non-fantasy readers alike as of late.  The main attraction for me is that it features a heroine who came from the poorest and most ridiculed part of the country to become one of the greatest warrior that ever lived. But the road to get there was far from a walk in the park.

Much has been said about the novel’s brutality, and yes.  They’re of the stomach-churning variety. The author didn’t skimp on the shock and awe factor. The first half of this book focuses on Rin’s training at the Academy in the hands of the masters. Because she was nothing but an orphan from a poor province, no one considered her worthy to earn her place in the prestigious Academy or even worthy of a second look. But she sure showed them.  Armed with determination and an ability to soak up knowledge, Rin quickly rose up to the challenge and gained infamy.

In the Academy, she meets the Lore master Jiang who would teach her how to hone her power, call on the gods, and harness her untapped potential. The training was grueling to say the least. It was a series of testing and skirmishes meant to determine those who were not only merely good at what they do, but the best of the best to carry on defending the territories against the Federation.

Of course, it’d be remiss of me if I don’t mention the battles. My eyes tend to glaze over when I’m in the throes of reading such scenes. But this is one of those rare occasions when I couldn’t look away.  They were descriptive, visceral and not at all gratuitously violent. After all, who doesn’t want to see the evil faction fall in the hands of the least likely heroine? This would not be a book about war without deaths, blood and gore so expect those in spades.

I am not the most reliable reviewer of fantasy novels because I have a very small quantity of books in my arsenal. As well, I don’t seek them out. But even I can admit this was pretty kickass and I’m excited and terrified for the installment in equal measure.

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[539]: China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Double Day Canada | Hardcover, 378 pp. | June 16th, 2015 | Adult Fiction | Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


Kevin Kwan is back with his instalment of what has easily become a perennial favourite book of mine. Crazy Rich Asians gave us a peek at how the outrageously rich Asians live. He skewered and ridiculed, enlightened and entertained us with their antics. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know there was to be an instalment until I started seeing lucky bloggers received ARCs of this book. I was lucky enough to receive a finished copy from the publisher because this was a book that I genuinely coveted to the marrow of my bones. Well, it did not disappoint (see: 5 star-rating).

UPDATES:

When we left Crazy Rich Asians, Nick was disowned by the matriarch of the Young family for wanting to marry an American Chinese with no lineage to speak of. The story starts off with Rachel and Nick on the eve of their wedding pensive because Astrid (Nick’s cousin) just gave them the news that his mother found out about their pending marriage.

RACHEL was happy that Nick chose her despite all the billions of dollars he’s to lose for marrying a nobody like her. But finding her father would make it even much sweeter. As luck would have it, Nick’s mother found him. But knowing her track record, it could only mean one thing: the possibility that she would use this information to stop her son from marrying her.

MICHAEL and ASTRID separated at the end of Crazy Rich Asians. Two years later, they managed to reconcile and patch up their marriage – somewhat. Now, Michael has vastly become one of the most successful, rich tech venture capitalist in Singapore. But he’s not the same person. He’s more confident, more secure in his place in the society. He feels he can now go toe-to-toe with Astrid’s opulent family. But with every evidence of this newfound confidence sheds another layer of the old Michael that Astrid used to know. Did he change for the better? Or worse?

Delicious Desert.

This book is absolutely decadent. But like every good deserts known to mankind, there’s never enough supply of it. So at the end of this book, I’m both satiated and hungry for more. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my closure just yet. Much like Crazy Rich Asians, this instalment is just as ridiculous, if not more. I could name every single thing that made this book even more outrageous than the first, but I don’t want to do you a disservice. The best thing about this book is discovering all the ridiculousness of the rich. Once again, I’m in awe. You’ve never known excess until you’ve seen how these people live. And if you think this is just another version of The Real Housewives of ___________ (city), you will be wrong. The drama here is something that will surprise and amuse you.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I know most of you read YA, but if you ever decide to check out an Adult Fiction that YA readers could like, this is perhaps,  a series that you should stock in your shelves.

 

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