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The Burning God

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The Burning God is the thrilling conclusion to R.F. Kuang's epic THE POPPY WAR trilogy, which follows war orphan Rin as she against all odds gets into her country's top military academy on the eve of war with the neighbouring island nation of Mughen, where she discovers she is able to access shamanic powers and channel the gods. 

This final chapter in the series builds on the events of the last, seeing Rin elevated to dizzying heights and power as she does everything in her power to defeat the Dragon Republic and win Nikara for the south. But power has a cost; one Rin will learn all too well. I'm finding it hard to put my feelings about this series conclusion together, partially because I was in a reading slump when I slowly made my way through it and also because I think there is so much to unpack here. What I can say though, without spoiling the ending, is that it felt like the right one for everything R.F Kuang had built and was exploring in this series. Ultimately, these books look at 20th century Chinese history, and examine the powers that were at play, and more widely the cycles of oppression and violence that conflicts and war bring. Her character work as always is incredible; I feel like I know everyone so well as soon as they walk on page, and her ability to make you as a reader sympathise with characters who are ultimately making horrible, terrible decisions is remarkable. This is truly one of my favourite series I have read in many years and I already can't wait to revisit it (although I'm not sure I'm ready for that pain ...).
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The Burning God picks up from where The Dragon Republic leaves us, with Rin recovering from her betrayal, escape, and the shocking events at Arlong.  Determined to avenge the Cike and continue her vendetta against the Yin family, Rin makes new allies and tests her connection to Kitay to the limits.

Where I really enjoyed the book and was left fairly satisfied, I did feel that it was a bit longer than it needed to be, and that there were some stray ends left too; I also felt that the book ended very abruptly, it does make some sense but it was still fairly shocking.  As much as I didn't agree with the ending, I don't think it could realistically have ended any other way - especially with Rin apparently going full on Danaerys as the book went on.

Epic, violent and tragic - definitely a series that I won't forget any time soon.
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Did this book completely hurt my soul? Yes. Would I read it over and over again? Definitely. R.F. Kuang is a brilliant author and she proved it even more with this incredible finale. The last few pages broke me and I'm saying thank you.
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It took me a while to firstly pick up and secondly to get through. It's well over 600 pages and the story deserves 600+ pages. 

This was a super satisfying end to a series, and it didn't hurt as much as I anticipated, but I did cry at the end. I got some answers and results that I was predicting but the journey to them was unpredictable. The story continues straight after the second book in the series. There are battles after battles, kidnapping and drama, but such a good storyline. Loose ends were tied up, things got explained, and it was all around a satisfying end to a series with high stakes and energy. The ending was a slow one, but original and made complete sense.

I love how the magic system is based on gods but also that there is a different plane where they all reside and you can go visit them. You never get any power, but you become a channel for the gods to use their power through you. I love how this questions identity and sanity etc. It's great!

I think my favourite character for this book might have been Venka. I just think she is cool.

The writing in all of R. F. Kuang's books has been really good. There are no issues like heavy paragraphs or grammar issues or confusing sentences. I love how the book flows through from start to finish.
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The best end to one of the best fantasy series out there. I’m heartbroken, but couldn’t have imagined a better fitted ending for our girl.
The writing was flawless, the tension held throughout the book (even when things were going well?!) and the ending was bittersweet. 
I can’t wait to see what’s next for this author!
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Even after weeks since I completed the book, I'm have not gathered my thoughts about it.

This book is still epic, Rin's descend into further darkness and paranoia just as excruciating, Nehza is still an grating entitled brat and Kitay is dependable as ever.

Even page in this book was beautiful, The direction this book take was fabulous and frankly gut wrenching and in hind sight the best outcome.

I don't know what to say which hasn't been said before but I can say that this series a must read for all fans of fantasy. My favorite book is still The Poppy Way.

Just a small note about the writing is that sometimes there is little warning or build up towards big significant scenes. They are sometimes written with the same flair as a non significant scene and the reader is left thinking was that a significant scene or not to be then told that it indeed was.

I want to reemphasize that this is a brilliant unmissable series!
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This book got me in complete tears twice. I knew it was coming but it still hurts like hell.

R. F. Kuang created a world full of gods, horrors, politics and war. She created characters who are heroic and cruel, human and godlike. She wrote a trilogy that will come to be remembered over the years, I can promise you that.

From book one, I knew this would become one of my favourite series of all time. I just knew it because it is that clever and that gut-wrenching from beginning to end. The world, the politics and the writing of The Poppy War trilogy are magnificent, and so so clever. And this final book is all the proof you need.

I don’t even know what to say. Read this trilogy, savour those three books and the genius of Kuang. Because you won’t ever read something coming even close to it.

I can’t get into too much details because of the risk of spoilers but just remember that I sobbed by the ending because it is such a perfect ending. And I knew from the beginning of The Burning God what it was because it was inevitable, wasn’t it? But I wouldn’t have asked for a different one. And I do want to say thank you to R. F. Kuang for creating Rin, for writing such mammoth books in both length and splendour. This book deserves all the stars in the world.
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The Burning God by R. F Kuang is the third book in the series, and you really need to have read the two previous books before you read this one!  Fang Runin has won the war, and now has to deal with the after effects, of ruling a devastated land, and the after effects of a civil war.

There are Hesperians, the Dragon Republic, and the remnants of her people, who thirst for revenge.

This is the end of the Poppy War series, and it packs a punch! 

I enjoyed the end to the story, and the ways it tidied up all of the loose story threads.  As with the other books in the series, it's not going to hide the realities of war, or the sacrifices people make.

 The Burning God  by R. F Kuang was published on 17th November 2020, and is available from  Amazon ,  Waterstones , and your  local independent bookshop .

I've read the previous books in this series (The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic), and you can read my review  here .

You can follow R.F Kuang on  Twitter , or through her  website .

I was given this book for free in return for an unbiased review, so my thanks to NetGalley and to   HarperCollins  for this book.
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After seeing this on Netgalley, I binged the first two books of this series in the hope that I would be approved for an arc of the third book, and lo and behold here we are. This series is devastating and horrific in its descriptions of the reality of war, and this book was no different. While I felt for many of the main characters, I feel that Rin is a unique main character in that I love her, but think she deserves everything she had coming. A brilliant end to a spectacular series which I will not forget in a hurry.
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This is how you finish a trilogy. I have adored the entire series in all its (often brutal) glory, but The Burning God is the pinnacle of this series, having taken everything from the previous books and lifted it to greater heights. While the ending was a stunning crescendo that was everything I wanted and more than I could have ever expected and thoroughly devastated me in the best way possible.
Kuang has created one of the most delightfully complex and surprising series that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in recent times because even though you can’t look away from the pages when reading, it is impossible to know what is going to come next and yet it all flows and works together to create a stunningly powerful narrative that ranges in scale from individuals to nations, humans to Gods, myth and reality and technology. There has always been a lot happening in this series, and The Burning God cranks that up. Yet it never loses track of itself or the core questions and themes, and that takes skill which thankfully Kuang has in spades and has honed throughout The Poppy War and the Dragon Republic.
It was both a delight and devastating to revisit the characters we’ve come to know so well (well those that have survived), and to see what they have become or are becoming. Rin firmly remains my favourite character, not because she is a likeable character – considering many of her actions, and who her inspiration is she has fallen firmly on the opposite side of that, but because for all that she has done and does in this book, we have seen what she has endured. We can understand how she has got to the point where she is, and she was such a complex, fascinating character that you couldn’t help but feel for her and be invested in her path and its outcome. Kitay and Nezha are high on that list of favourites too, and it is interesting to see how they too have changed with the events of the last book, as well as their very different but well-developed relationships with Rin.
   This care with the characterisation extends throughout the cast of primary and secondary characters, and the new characters that were introduced in The Burning God have the same level of nuance as those we’ve known for far longer, and each added something essential to the world and narrative. 
    The worldbuilding, already complex and well-developed, was expanded on again in this book. Not only did we get to explore the geographic regions that we hadn’t seen before, but we got to see more of the Pantheon and Shamanism, as well as the conflict with the faith of the Architect. There is also an uncomfortable, but much needed exploration of the process and conflict of colonisation, and Kuang was unflinching in her approach to this. Combining this with an unrelenting and detailed look at war and its impact, from the trauma it causes to the more practical impacts, never glorifying it, but showing the reality of it. It made for difficult reading in places, but it is such an essential part of what this series is, and as difficult as it was, it was fascinating and necessary, and to be honest, I would read a lot more of this, because Kuang has such a way of bringing it to life through the narrative.
   Kuang has always written masterful battle scenes, but the ones in The Burning God are on another level, not just for the action, or the brutality, but because of the deep dives into the devastation that they wreak. Exquisitely crafted from start to finish, they have always been some of my favourite scenes in the books, and that remains true here, and this bleeds through into discussion of tactics which could be dry, but here is absolutely riveting.
    There is so much more I could say about this book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to read it. All I can say is that this was a stunning climax to a series that has set itself apart from the very beginning and that I would heartily recommend The Poppy War to anyone who loves darker fantasy, and fantasy that brings something new to the table.
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An absolutely perfect conclusion to the excellent historical fantasy—The Poppy War trilogy—and even though it might not make you the happiest person at the end (and if you'd expected anything less than pain at the wrap up, you must've been reading the wrong books), it'll definitely satiate the fire burning through all the three installments.
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Thank you Netgalley for the e-arc 
I requested this before reading TPW and i after reading it Im DNFing the series so I wont be
reviewing this one.
I dont have the option of not giving a review so to not be unfair ill giving it 3 star
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My thanks to HarperVoyager for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Burning God’ by R.F. Kuang in exchange for an honest review. It is the third and final book in her award winning Poppy War trilogy. 

I recently had read Books 1&2 of the Poppy War trilogy in their ebook/audiobook combined editions, and so elected to also experience this final book as an audiobook complimenting my reading of the eARC. 

The trilogy as a whole is an epic fantasy inspired by Chinese history and specifically the Opium Wars and the Second Sino-Japanese War. As it is a trilogy, the books should be read in order. I will not share details of the plot in order to avoid spoilers for the events in the first two books. 

I was left stunned by how the story played out. It was a very powerful tale with battles, magical creatures, gods with humans serving as avatars, and much more. It is a grimdark fantasy, so be aware that there is plenty of graphic violence and few moments of levity. 

Kuang also integrated themes linked to racism, colonialism, and dehumanisation alongside the fantasy and military elements. I feel that this is a positive trend in modern fantasy and provided plenty of food for thought.

Kuang studied Chinese history and it was her interest in Chinese military strategy that inspired the series. I was quite surprised to read that Kuang had started writing this trilogy four years ago at age nineteen. That is an impressive achievement as well as being published by such an established SFF imprint as HarperVoyager. 

I certainly will be looking out for her future projects.
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I don't even know where to start with this review. When I finished this book, my mouth was wide open with shock for several minutes as I futilely tried to gather my thoughts. I've slept on it, but I still have no clue.
I enjoyed The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic - but I didn't love them. I gave them both four stars, but didn't quite understand the gushing five-star reviews from people whose opinions I trusted. Well, I understand now. 
One thing that really stood out to me as I was reading was just how unpredictable it was. I read a lot of fantasy, and I can usually make a few guesses about where the plot will go. With this book, though, I never had a single clue from one page to the next. And it was bloody awesome. (Or should that be awesomely bloody? Because it was definitely that too.)
This series has never shied away from the difficult topics surrounding war, and for that it is both a tremendous achievement and an often difficult read. I wouldn't have it any other way. And the way the author portrays these horrors while writing from the perspective of a character who glories in them is particularly smart. 
So yeah. I've apparently exhausted my reviewing capabilities, and now I'm going to need a few days.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

I've been desperate to read this book since I finished the last one. In Nikara, Kuang has created a recognisable but fantastical version of Chinese history which brings to the fore issues of war, colonisation and what it means to have power. This book wraps up Rin's storyline really effectively while not shying away from the more difficult and unpleasant consequences of war. I can't wait to see what she writes next.
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So, The Burning God. It’s the end of a series which has a reputation for being packed with bloody, brutal action. For its precision crafted plots, filled with tension, crosses, double crosses, sudden revelations and emotional catharsis. And for the characters, which have a humanity to them;  sadness, rage and joy, bundled together in the clothes of heroes and monsters. Sometimes not even the same person. This is the conclusion to a trilogy which did more than pull no punches - it punched right through your sternum, grabbed your heart and made you feel things. Often while everything exploded. 

And this book, the concluding chapter, ramps it all up to eleven.

Rin remains our protagonist, and is now living life in a whirlwind of rage, self-hatred and resentment. But she’s also self aware enough to realise what she’s doing, and what she’s becoming. She’s been betrayed by almost everyone and everything she’s dealt with. The Imperial system trained her, used her up, and then tried to cast her aside. The Republic that fought in the shattered remnants of the Empire...also wanted to use her, then trade her away. External actors just wanted to cut her open and see how she worked. Friends died almost at random. Others because of her decisions. Others fell into madness. Basically, what I’m saying is, Rin has had a hard time recently. It’s definitely shaped who she is, scarred her, left her fighting not just the forces arrayed against her, but her own demons. You can feel Rin’s pain, and the way it fuels her rage - and the way that rage rolls out in waves of flame and incinerates her enemies. Gaining strength from her trauma is one thing, but Rin is defined by it too; and part of that is embracing her pain, and the choices she makes because of it. In some ways she feels cooler, more ruthless - whilst living in her own head with a vulnerability, and a focus that drives her forward relentlessly. You can cheer for RIn as she fights back against oppressors - I certainly did. But the costs are there, visible, raw and real. Physically and mentally, Rin is a woman dancing on the brink of the flame and the void. That the balancing act is so wrenching, so emotionally honest and painful,is a genuine triumph. That her struggle to decide who she wants to be, what she wants to achieve, and what she’s willing to do it feels genuine, even as she slips the leash of monstrosity and reels back in. You can sympathise with Rin, empathise with Rin, be absolutely horrified by Rin, and find yourself laughing at some of her banter or crying at her loss and the way her and others choices have taken her to this point. And that can happen in the space of a couple of pages!

I’ve been going on about Rin because this is, really, her story. Don’t worry though, sports fans - she’s surrounded by faces old and new. There’s that quiet love that sustains, driven to the kind of highs and lows that shape loyalty, devotion, and abuse. There’s the poisonous hatred that comes twinned with genuine but curdled affection. And there’s the whole gamut of betrayal, revelation, revenge, betrayal...catastrophic, cathartic violence, release, murder, love again...too much. I can’t talk about what really goes on without spoiling it. So I’m going to just say that it’s intense. We can feel the political, physical and spiritual geography shifting, seismic ripples driving out from Rin, her relationships, her choices and her consequences.

If you’re here for Rin and her journey of self destruction and self discovery, you’re going to love this. 

If you’re here for Rin and her amazing array of terrifyingly, terminally fraught relationships, with abused, abusers, and...well, the occasional regular person? You’ll love this too. 

If you’re here to see how it all ends, when the immovable object meets the immovable force, you’ll love this.

If you’re here for explosive, epic battles and magic that terrifies and astounds in equal measure, you’ll love this. 

If you’re here to have your heart torn apart, to feel, then yeah, you’re going to love this, though you might need a while to decompress and think about it afterwards.

Bottom line, this is a worthy end to a series I’ve really enjoyed and talked up for years. It’ll make you think, it’ll make you feel, and it will do both of those while telling a damn fine story. So go get a copy, right now, and get started on the ending you deserve.
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Let’s not pretend that The Burning God was ever going to be anything but brutal and heartbreaking – if you’ve read any of the books in this series, you know that Rebecca doesn’t hold back from writing about the horrors of war. I became quickly obsessed with this series after reading The Poppy War – the way real history has been shaped by Rebecca’s fantasy world is masterful. She manages to make her writing flow beautifully, even when describing the most heinous scene imaginable.

The Burning God picks up from the end of The Dragon Republic, dropping us straight back into the action. This book is full steam ahead from the first page and doesn’t slow down until the last word. I was completely gripped by this book – everything felt important and the book length was perfect. I feel like The Burning God was a fitting end to the series and didn’t leave any gaping plot holes or questions to be answered.

I was paranoid throughout most of this book, waiting for the next horrible thing to happen to Rin and her compatriots. This book isn’t short of shocking twists and turns – I couldn’t have guessed where it was going to go from paragraph to paragraph. I devoured this book in a few days despite working because I couldn’t bear to put it down and be kept in the dark any longer than I had to be! It was consistently fast-paced, but any slower sections were sufficiently detailed with plans or conflicts, so didn’t drag at all.

I absolutely loved the new characters this book introduced – everyone had their own agendas and morals, and trying to figure out what they were alongside Rin was exciting but incredibly stress-inducing! I am amazed how so many characters were introduced in the final book of a series, yet they all had their place and were fleshed out enough to feel needed. Every character is flawed – there isn’t a character who is entirely good or entirely bad (excluding Tarcquet and Sister Petra, they’re pure evil), but instead, every character has a solid reason for doing what they do, and Rebecca ensures that all of these possibilities are explored so we are as confused about who to trust as Rin is. The readers are expertly left in the dark until the last second which makes every plot twist just as delicious as the first.

I would usually be able to pick out a favourite character and say how much I love them, but this simply isn’t possible for The Burning God. Almost every character is a terrible person in one way or another. They all crumble morally during the course of this series, and every single one ends up paying for their mistakes. I really enjoyed reading a book where I was rooting for and supporting characters I dislike – it just shows how fantastic Rebecca is at writing well-rounded and interesting characters who aren’t good or bad, but stand for the right thing, whatever that means in this story.

Rin as a character is fascinating. You can’t help but feel sorry for her as she descends into paranoia and madness as the book progresses. She has done some terrible things, and is a true product of her experiences – her immediate reaction to things is to fight and kill as it is all she knows how to do. It was fascinating watching her have to be in charge and have to think about others and the consequences of her actions. I loved getting to see her inner conflict with her past, the Seal, her conscience and the Phoenix, and how she is forced to constantly fight to do what she thinks is right. She has to constantly deal with her guilt and PTSD from her previous experiences, and that is once again done masterfully, showing Rin’s internal conflict with brutal honesty and clarity. I thoroughly enjoyed Rin and Kitay’s friendship – he kept her grounded with his strong moral compass, and was able to check her rage for the most part, which is no easy feat! I absolutely loved this friendship and the fact that it was never forced into a romance like so many authors would do was greatly appreciated. I also found Rin’s relationship with Nezha fascinating – the mutual respect, love and hate was wonderful to read, especially with them on opposing sides this time round. He is a fantastic opposition to Rin and I would devour any and every scrap of writing detailing Nezha’s thoughts through the series.

The way that the Pantheon is described and explained is magical – I love the idea of the Gods being more like entities and ideas rather than physical beings. The discussion around religion that continued on from The Dragon Republic fascinates me, as it’s interesting to see Christianity from the perspective of the Colonised. I loved the way that Rebecca makes each character question their beliefs and showed how manipulative and cruel religious persecution is. The discussions were uncomfortable and to see the characters take on board what they were being told by Colonisers was painful and uncomfortable to read as I know it’s more than likely not far from the actual truth of how these things came to pass. The Hesperians are a truly terrifying villain, but nothing is more horrifying than knowing that their actions in this book are taken from real world history.

Large parts of this book detail incredibly uncomfortable and disturbing events, especially the sections after each battle and after the war as a whole. I usually can’t stomach excessive gore, violence and the like, but the way Rebecca writes these events showed that they were there to show how awful war is, not to glorify. The realities of war are made clear, and I appreciate that time was spent going into detail of the collective traumas of the country, instead of passing over it like many fantasy (and other books containing wars!) often do. It is refreshing to see the consequences written out clearly on the page instead of implied or ignored, which is what helped make this feel more real for me as a reader. Her exploration of occupation and how it differs from place to place was also fascinating – I loved the scenes in New City and how the relationship between the occupying forces and local people were described in contrast to Leiyang.

If it isn’t obvious yet, this book is an easy 5 stars for me. I thought the ending was incredibly fitting for this series but it has left me entirely heartbroken and shattered beyond belief – a mark of a truly great book! I wish it could have ended differently so my heart doesn’t hurt for everyone involved, but that wouldn’t have been the true ending for this book – happy isn’t in their vocabulary. If you haven’t pick up The Poppy War yet, I would highly recommend, just make sure you search out the trigger warnings as it is a hard read for a lot of the series.
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From the beginning, this trilogy has been a brutal fantasy about the realities of war, and this final book is the best (and worst) yet.

Again, very much not for the faint hearted, R F Kuang has crafted a wildly brilliant saga of how terrible humanity can be to each other. Not shying away from the horror of war and racism and (certain aspects of) religion, she has written a book that wrung me out and left me exhausted.

The plot in The Burning God is non stop, with new twists and shocks every few pages. I think the most important message is that there are no "good" and "bad" guys in this kind of war, and everybody has their own problems and agendas. And that is so magnificently conveyed that I expect it will be weeks before I can stop thinking about this masterpiece. 

A thrilling and captivating conclusion to an outstanding series - I can't wait to see what the author writes next!

I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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An incredible finale to a fantastic series. The characters complete their arcs in the most phenomenally satisfying way. There are no loose ends, nothing that makes the reader go 'I wish...'
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Thank you NetGalley, Harper Collins UK & RF Kuang for giving me the e-ARC of The Burning God in exchange for an unbiased review. 

The Burning God is one of those amazing books that shatter your heart & soul, that bring to the most fitting end a series like The Poppy War! The Poppy War is the most amazing book series ever written, and if you haven’t read it yet, you must drop everything and do so immediately! 

At the start we find Nikan in the middle of a civil war, as Rin lets the Phoenix run rampant and leads the Southern Coalition into a rebellion against the Dragon Warlord Vaisra and his Republic. Rin is no longer the naive, vulnerable girl manipulated into being a weapon of mass destruction for influential men to use and then toss away; now she has her own people to protect and an entire nation to take back.

The Poppy War trilogy has always been about the cycles of violence and trauma, and the effects of colonialism and erasure of cultures and identities, but where the first two books focused on the chaos and devastation in a war-ravaged country, The Burning God brings to life the aftermath of a war. 

There is no flinching from survivor trauma, and violence and how it can continue to haunt. The removal of humanity and demoing of inferiority all contribute to this haunting finale. 

As a protagonist, Ron’s personal growth is stunning. Her descent into paranoia And shyer tUrmoil and rage is terrifying, As she becomes the ruthless leader her people need to win their war for them. How you see Rin, goddess or monster us down to you and how you read the book, but seriously this is masterful. RF Kuang, you are a monster! You have weaved such intricate political and military strategies of such complex and beautifully monstrous nature, that I can only bow to your mastery.

This is a heartbreakingly beautiful masterpiece that is an experience no reader should miss.
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