In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
What I think
I liked the beginning of this book, but the middle was quite slow, nevertheless I liked it, too. The final part. . . eh. . . not so much, or rather I found it quite mediocre since the ending was obvious. I mean everyone told Rin that “thing” and then it happened. . . Then, the final part is so fast! Comparing it with the middle I would have preferred a smaller middle and a more detailed finale.
I do think this book was so hyped that I had higher expectations, but don’t get me wrong, I still liked it and I will finish the serie (especially because the last book has purple stayed edges and I love purple, it will be nice in my room).
Bye the way, in my first review of the series I said that I didn’t know that the Japanese did experiments on foreigners during the period this book is based on, now I know, they did and I’m going to read more about this subject because I do want to know everything about Japan, the good and the ugly. Every population has its bad behaviour and in every war there are bad things happened so it is right to know the ugly, too. A long time ago, my teacher said that we study history so we won’t repeat our ancestors mistakes, but I see that’s not the case. We are repeating the same stuff over and over again.
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .
Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.
About the book
We follow the story of a war orphan, who despite living in a remote province, Nikan, and despite not having an excellent education, manages to pass a very difficult exam to enter the military academy in the capital. At the academy, however, she clashes with the prejudices of the empire’s elite, boys and girls of her age, but who have studied for years for this very purpose. Obviously not everyone accepts that a simple girl from a peasant province can be better than them. Here, Rin discovers that she has a power that few others have, but will she be able to use it or will it only lead to the destruction of the world?
All my book reviews are and will be 100% honest. I don’t get paid to write them and I don’t get “gifts” to write a good review so what I write is what I think. If I love a book, I’m going to say that, if I don’t like a book, I will write why I don’t. My critics aren’t an attack to the author, they are just how I feel about a subject or a style. See more in my Review Policy.