Ooooof. Like the first two books in the Poppy War trilogy, The Burning God is an absolutely gut-wrenching affair. A riveting, well-written, creative book, but nonetheless absolutely gut-wrenching.
I remember before reading The Poppy War thinking this was going to be yet another passable YA fantasy novel. Instead the entire series turned out to be a brutal, unflinching look at the collateral damage that warfare inflicts along every level of society.
Like it’s predecessors, The Burning God is frank in its portrayal of violence, death, and destruction. The key difference from most novels in the genre is that it doesn’t make these displays to glorify war and violence, but to shine a light on the damage they bring. Not only is Rin not a perfect hero, she regularly makes mistakes that ends in stunning loss of life. All of Kuang’s characters are perfectly human and flawed.
The Burning God is a fittingly harrowing end to a series that never shied away from challenging the reader’s comfort. What a series. I look forward to whatever R.F. Kuang has in store next…and maybe we’ll even get something cheerful!