cover image The Burning God

The Burning God

R.F. Kuang. Harper Voyager, $26.99 (640p) ISBN 978-0-06-266262-0

Kuang’s Poppy War series, the saga of a young shaman fighting to bring the old gods back to her homeland, comes to a striking close in this gritty finale (after The Dragon Republic). Nikaran shaman Fang “Rin” Runin, now a part of the rebel Southern Coalition, leads troops to clear out the remaining rogue Mugen invaders whose own homeland Rin destroyed earlier in the wars. But the bigger threat to Rin comes in the form of her former colleagues in the northern Republican Army. The Republicans plan to turn her over to their western allies, the Hesperians, who hope to use their advanced technology and devout monotheism to disprove the existence of Rin’s gods altogether. To win the war once and for all, Rin must ally herself with the monsters who once betrayed Nikara—and avoid becoming a monster herself. Kuang pointedly underlines the ambiguous moral choices and personal costs of the path toward victory and lasting peace, sparing neither characters nor readers from the horrors and consequences of war. The result is a satisfying if not happy end to the series. Agent: Hannah Bowman, Liza Dawson Assoc. (Nov.)