December 6, 2017

Review: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie C. Dao

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.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1)
by Julie C. Dao
Publication Date:  October 10, 2017
Publisher:  Philomel Books

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Okay guys. This book had me conflicted. Not conflicted in that I didn’t like Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. That’s quite the opposite actually! I enjoyed this book immensely and devoured the pages. No, no… The conflict was deciding if I should like the main character, Xifeng, or loathe her for her wants and desires!

I forgot how much I really enjoyed reading books with anti-heroines. The inner turmoil in your head when you really, REALLY like the hero/heroine but the actions and decisions they make are wrong on so many levels! It’s coming to the realization that yes, what they are planning to do is very bad, but at the same time, it’s something that has to happen in order for things to work out for them!

And so came my conflict. I didn’t want to like Xifeng once her plans became quite clear. I really liked her in the beginning when we learn what destiny awaits her, and the misery that she had to endure while living with her terrible aunt (who also caused me some inner conflict! – Hmmmm there’s a theme here…), but once she had her eyes set on the prize, so to speak, her actions had me screaming no, no, no! (while whispering yes, yes, yes…)

Author Julie C. Dao creates this world that just pops off the pages. I was totally engulfed in the world and storyline and I’m craving more. To say that I was not expecting what I read is an understatement. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao was a dark magical delight and I cannot wait to see what is going to happen next!


[about-author author=”Julie C. Dao”]



1 Comment

  1. I felt the same way about this book! I didn’t want to like Xifeng during the second half, but the morbid (?) side of me LOVED the turn it took. So much internal strife going on with this book. Haha.

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