We start The Burning God, the last book in R. F. Kuang’s Poppy War trilogy, at the beginning of a battle. It’s an appropriate start for a trilogy rife with war. And though the sides have changed—Rin is now the head of the Southern Coalition after she was imprisoned by the Republic she once fought for—the brutal nature of warfare remains the same.
This unrelenting toll of battle, like in the two books before it, remains an overarching theme in The Burning God. In war, those with power commit horrific acts, justifying it as a necessary evil to achieve their ultimate aims. Both sides are often corrupted in this way, and Kuang makes sure to remind us that our protagonist, Rin, is no exception.