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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise of the Empress)
Published by Philomel on Oct. 10th, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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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.

4.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Random Thoughts:

  • This book is not what I expected but still awesome!
  •  Our heroine may not be the hero in this story. I was confused at first but then loved the direction things went, but it’s very atypical for YA. Despite her being pretty cold blooded, I couldn’t help rooting for her still!
  • There aren’t sex scenes on page but Xifeng is sexually active and not ashamed of it.
  • The pace is slow and jumps many months sometimes. This story is about several years, not just a month like much of YA.
  • The writing and description of the forest and creatures in it is SO GORGEOUS!!!
  • There is on page physical abuse and Xifeng is pretty broken from her childhood
  • One of the main secondary characters is a little person and his plot line has nothing to do with it, which was great to see. He’s in a position of power and good things happen to him. There is very little humor about his stature and Xifeng chastises one person who does make a joke. Overall it seemed to me like a great portrayal, but I obviously can’t say for sure.
  • I’m really excited for the next book because I have no idea where the plot is going to go, so refreshing!!


Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

© 2017, Anya. All rights reserved.

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