What do I say about this book other than a magical read. It is a little slow to start, drawing much from a fantasy form of "The Romance of the three Kingdoms" and "The Art of War" but bear with it as it has much to offer. We westerners, so involved in our own histories rarely pay attention to other more exotic histories like those of ancient China which are wonderfully fascinating.
In this book R F Kuang takes that wonder, incorporates it with a delightful fantasy retelling and more, much more. The characters seem real to me (if not fully realized- though this is the first book of a trilogy and so they may well become more so as the story continues) the plot different and well thought out. This book does not follow the old Tolkien recipe. It is new, it's own thing and the author deserves praise for the originality of the tale. I am gripped, held fast by the tale, brutal at times, worthy of David Gemmell, the glories/horrors of war in each sequence of the tale.
I am swept up in it.