Two Huge Books in October Wrap Up

If August slipped away into a moment in time, what happened to October then? A month where days flew like a wind breeze, constantly messing up your whole belief in a ticking clock. Perhaps 12 o'clock is merely a number on a giant wheel, tricking us into believing that the device works the same for all of us, while the truth is, our interpretation of an hour is never the same.

In what felt like a blink of an eye but at the same time also so long, I finished two huge books this month. I'm convinced that Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is the thickest book I have read this year so far (if not of all time), while The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang is my first ever historical military fantasy read.

Following the story of the name bearer and her relatives in Russia, this book is divided into eight main parts with about thirty chapters each. Anna Karenina tells one of the world's most famous infidelity stories between the wife of Alexei Karenin, a senior government official, and Alexey Vronsky. Belonging in the same social circle, Anna and Vronsky meet and interact. Passion and forbidden love then bind them together, and with that, starts the tale which people often claim as one of the greatest books ever written.

I personally wouldn't label Anna Karenina as my favorite classic of all time but I could comprehend why some call it the greatest book ever written. Throughout the novel, Tolstoy had proved how clever he was with metaphors and symbolism. How he compared Anna's adultery to someone committing a murder; or how he could particularly fit in two very contrasting events in the cycle of lifebirth and deathwas to me very clever. In conclusion, Anna Karenina was a heavy book that I would probably have enjoyed more if cut a bit shorter.

Following the story of a war orphan called Fang Runin (also known as Rin), The Poppy War is a book full of brutality, vengeance, and mythology. Rin lives poorly in Tikany, a township located in the Rooster Province, with her foster family who smuggles opium for a living. Knowing that they plan to marry her off to an immoral rich old man, Rin determines to ace the Keju, a test held by the Emperor to find the cleverest younglings across the whole Nikan. After two years of hard work, Rin is finally amongst the chosen ones in the most elite military school named Sinegard. When the third Poppy War is about to explode, Rin realizes that her shamanic ability is probably the only thing that can save the whole empire, but Phoenix, the god that has chosen her, may not spare her life after that.

For me, it started to become very obvious from the second part that The Poppy War is an adult fantasy book with a touch of history and mythology combined. The world-building was fresh and intricate while the war was nothing but brutal that it instantly gave me the whole Game-of-Thrones kind of vibes. While The Poppy War wouldn't be the book I pick up for a comfort read in the future, it certainly is a book you should give a try at least once in a lifetime. It's a book everyone talks highly about and you agree not because it's easily a favorite but rather because it's genius.