The Friday 56: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

Her eyes landed on the ledger he’d been scribbling in. “She’s kept you busy, at least?”

“‘Busy’ is a word for it.” He slammed the ledger shut. “I’m working for one of the Empire’s most wanted criminals, and she’s got me doing her taxes.”

This week I am sharing an excerpt from my current read, The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang, sequel to The Poppy War. I just started this series this year and was blown away by the first novel. I am continually impressed by the sheer magnitude of the story and how the author has handle the topic of war in both books. Update: I just finished this book and it was emotionally devastating. This is my ghost typing. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “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.
      The sequel to R.F. Kuang’s acclaimed debut THE POPPY WAR, THE DRAGON REPUBLIC combines the history of 20th-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating effect.

The Friday 56: Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“I felt weak because I hadn’t eaten or slept in almost twenty-four hours. The road was narrow and wound around sharp turns as we edged closer to my town. My father whispered to me that the driver had had a few drinks on the way. I wrapped my thin jacket around my head, mostly because I was cold, but also because I wanted to scream.”

I just finished Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s memoir, Children of the Land, and am still gathering my thoughts, but this one was incredibly moving and heartbreaking. I immediately added his poetry collection to my TBR because I am hungry for more of his writing. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “This unforgettable memoir from a prize-winning poet about growing up undocumented in the United States recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence.
      ‘You were not a ghost even though an entire country was scared of you. No one in this story was a ghost. This was not a story.’
      When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary.
      With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family’s encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother’s heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor.
      Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.”

The Friday 56: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“Alice’s inability to say ‘being asexual’ plagued her. The words formed but lodged themselves in her throat. One night she had stood in front of the mirror repeating, ‘I’m asexual,’ over and over again. She had thought that if she could get used to hearing it, she’d accept it as truth faster. Alice knew it had made sense. She could check off all the boxes. But she wasn’t sure it was a title that she had necessarily wanted everyone else to know.”

Today I am sharing an excerpt from Claire Kann’s debut, Let’s Talk About Love. Alice is a Black college student who is asexual and has to navigate different relationships when she isn’t always comfortable sharing this part of who she is with others. I’m about half way through and am loving Alice and experiencing all kinds of second-hand embarrassment. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
      But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).
      When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated–or understood.
      Claire Kann’s young adult debut novel Let’s Talk About Love, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, gracefully explores the struggle with emerging adulthood and the complicated line between friendship and what it might mean to be something more.”

The Friday 56: Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“This was what she’d been waiting for, wasn’t it? She’d waited in Chand, when the courtiers had interrogated her and her mother had shorn her hair; waited in her palanquin, with blood daubed behind her ear and nausea roiling in her stomach; waited in the valley with a bow and arrow in her hands.

She’d known, in her heart of hearts, that she could never run far enough. She’d always known.”

The Books of Ambha duology is one of my favorite fantasy series (perhaps you’ve heard me scream about it?). Tashi Suri writes some of the loveliest prose, her magical system is breathtaking, and her characters are difficult not to fall for. Realm of Ash was the perfect companion novel and I cannot wait to read more from her. Read my review of this one here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “The fate of an empire rests in the hands of a young woman with magical blood and nothing left to lose, and an outcast prince determined to save his family at any cost, in this “dark, melodious, and memorable” new fantasy (Library Journal, starred review) from the author of the award-winning Empire of Sand.
      The Ambhan Empire is crumbling. A terrible war of succession hovers on the horizon. The only hope for peace lies in the mysterious realm of ash, where mortals can find what they seek in the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. But to walk there requires a steep price.
      Arwa is determined to make the journey. Widowed by a brutal massacre, she’s pledged service to the royal family and will see that pledge through to the end. She never expected to be joined by Zahir, the disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden magic in a desperate bid to save those he loves.
      Together, they’ll walk the bloody path of their shared past. And it will call into question everything they’ve ever believed…including whether the Empire is worth saving at all.”