I’ve been blessed this year with the opportunity to read some big endings to trilogies early. This is both a blessing and a curse because while I am the most impatient woman alive and cannot stand to wait until a publication date – this does also mean that I don’t have anyone to scream at while I’m reading. Trust me, when you’re reading The Burning God have a screaming buddy at the ready.
Spoiler warning for The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic but I’ll keep things spoiler-free for The Burning God.
After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.
Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.
Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?
As ever it is unbearably hard to talk about the final book in a trilogy in isolation so I’m going to assume that all of you reading this have already read the first two books in this series. If you haven’t then I highly suggest that you do so this is a wonderful series that pretty much every fantasy reader ought to pick up!
Whenever I’m reading a series and a new book comes out the first thing I want to know is : do I need to re-read everything? So I’ll start there. As you all know I am a person who quite frequently reads things out of order – that’s just my way. But in this case I highly recommend that you go right back to the beginning and read all three in one go (or at least very close together). There’s something about a trilogy with this kind of scope that makes it 500% better if you experience the full character arc. While you won’t be completely lost if you jump in without re-reading (the book does a good job of reacclimating you), it will give you a better and more impactful reading experience if you do go back to the beginning – or so I found.
One tip I will give to people like me who struggle with remembering names of characters – do all three in the same format (e.g. audiobook. physical etc.) as that will mean you keep the right names/sounds in your head.
Of all three books I would probably say The Dragon Republic remains my favourite. I think The Poppy War has the most…understandable plot, The Dragon Republic has the most impactful character development and then The Burning God kind of…ties off what happened in the previous books. I will say it is possible I am a little biased because I didn’t get the ending I wanted (which is totally fine there are a million and one ways to end a series I just like things to go a certain way and they didn’t). This book is still super strong and has all of the strategy and character and clever plot and setting that the previous books have it just didn’t quite hit so hard for me – though of course that could change in a re-read.
I think in this book I felt less connected to Rin than I have in other books – again that’s probably a personal thing, we all relate to characters in different ways – but where in earlier books I felt as though Rin was making disaster choices for understandable reasons things felt a bit more chaotic at times – particularly in the first sections of this book. Later on things got much more…understandable?
I think that’s what it boils down to – this book took longer to get into than the other books and that definitely had an impact on my enjoyment. But what I take from that is that this is not a series to be read once and then forgotten – this is one to re-read constantly, each time taking something different away – and that’s kind of one of my favourite things a series can be!
This series as a whole is five stars for me, seeing the arc these characters go through was always going to be amazing and I’m excited to re-read in the future.
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley – all opinions are my own.
The Burning God is out November 17th!
What say you? Are you excited for this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!