Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C. Dao
Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult
Publisher: Philomel Books
My Rating: ★★★★✰
An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.
Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?
Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
I’ve already said this on my goodreads review but I’m gonna say it again here.
My jaw is still on the floor.
This is my first time reading an anti-heroine book. And right after I finished reading this I immediately asked myself why.
The story went to the way I didn’t expect it to, I’m so used with “I’ll-do-what’s-good” characters hence Xifeng’s action shocked—and impressed me—both at the same time. The characters in this novel are all so complex and interesting. The anticipation for what they will do next will keep you at the edge of your seat.
This book is dark, luscious, and gripping. The world is so vivid in my mind, it feels like watching a historical Korean drama. And like a tv series that you’ll binge watch all the episodes in one seating this book also has the same power. You’ll keep turning the pages then soon realize that you’re just a few chapters away from the ending.
I’ve felt different emotions as I read this, it was so thrilling and intense. I keep putting the fact that this is an anti-heroine book at the back of my mind making the story more shocking and unpredictable. It started slow but the pacing pick up as the story goes on.
Julie C. Dao writes lavish descriptions giving us a vivid view of the world. I cannot wait for the second book and explore the world she created more!
MY RATING — 4/5 STARS
Thank You Erika of The Nocturnal Fey for letting me join this blog tour!
FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS PLEASE
OPEN TO PH RESIDENTS ONLY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.