The Burning God by RF Kuang – book review

I’ve finished the Burning Gods by KF Kuang, the military, historical fantasy set and I have to admit I’m not sure how I feel. Here is my review


I read the first two books in the Poppy wars trilogy as part of the beat the backlog challenge and then bought the balls to the backlog book, The Burning God by RF Kuang to find out how it all ends.

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At the end of the Dragon Republic, Rin is betrayed ( yet again) – this time by Nezha her enemy turned friend and now enemy again. She has had a hand amputated but she can still call fire through her anchor Kitay. Rin realises the only way to defeat the North is to lead the South who have also suffered at the hands of the North, the Muganese and Hesperians. In fact, the villages in the south have been left to suffer at the hands of the Muganese by the dragon republic. So Rin joins forces with the warlords of the South.

But this is Rin and as soon as she wins a battle she is betrayed again and left with no fire or Kitay, so joins forces with another group of people and is disappointed again and so joins another group and so on.

And this is where my problem lies. This book remains beautifully detailed in its description of military warfare, shamanism, the suffering caused by war on normal people, the magic etc. But Rin just doesn’t seem to grow on me as a character. She remains angry, impulsive, and distrusting of her close friends but is so easily betrayed by so many people.

The book remains dark in its theme and sometimes goes on a little about some of the more gruesome aspects ( I’m so tired of hearing how Daji sent an enemy dumpings made out of the meat of their son- why?) and I really hope this is not something that happens a lot in real wars. I did google the inspiration for this series ( and I would recommend this) and the book does reflect a turbulent period in China’s history. Reading how the history that inspired the book made the story a little easier to understand and accept.

I wasn’t sure about the ending but after reading the historical context it made a lot more sense and be prepared- it is heartbreaking in so many ways.

Perfect for Fans of

Grimdark fantasy like Game of Thrones or anyone who would like to read epic fantasy in a non-European setting.

Content Warning

Rape, drug addiction, physical abuse, sexual assault, forced medical experimentation, racism , cannibalism 

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book Three in The Poppy wars

Source: My own

3 thoughts on “The Burning God by RF Kuang – book review

  1. I wasn’t sure about this one either. I found myself rushing through parts of it as I felt that I had read it all before. It started to get a bit repetitive and I definitely agree about Rin’s lack of growth as a character.

    Liked by 1 person

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