Forest of A Thousand Lanterns

*images are from Pinterest*


Author: Julie C. Dao
Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
First published October 10, 2017
ISBN13 9781524738297


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

Source: Goodreads

A ruler has a little time for kindness. He does not give without expecting something in return. He can't afford to.

Typically when there is a fairytale retelling of a book it portrays the protagonists. I've read several of them like The Flame and the Mist, To Kill a Kingdom and The Wrath and the Dawn and they hold a special place in my heart. They are wonderfully unique and their characters are truly magnificent.

The Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a different kind of retelling, if I might say. At first, I did not know it was a fairytale retelling. I have a habit grabbing a book and not knowing what is the actual synopsis. *HAHAHA* To start of, the setting gave me the feels of being inside the Ancient China. Where Empress and Emperors rule an empire. It was a breath of fresh air to me.

Xifeng, the protagonist in Julie Dao's book embodied a powerful young woman. Being raised in a simple village with her 'aunt', her dreams transcends beyond that village. I admired Xifeng's determination to have her freedom and to be a powerful lady someday. She has her clear insight how to reach the palace and fight for her worth.
Now, remember when I said this isnt your typical fairytale retelling? Because little do I know that Julie Dao just created a wicked and powerful anti-hero retelling, prequel type of story about Snow White's Evil Queen. YES! IT WAS A SUDDEN REALIZATION TO ME. Xifeng's character development is stunning. From being an ordinary villager, into a runaway daugther, and to be a lady-in-waiting in the palace was not an easy feat. Xifeng's powerful heart made the book so much more magical than just a typical fairy dust. She knows when to enter the battle of deceit and attack with no restraint.

This book surprised me in every chapter, with Xifeng's the destiny to rule Feng Lu, everything comes with a grave sacrifice. Seeing Xifeng's undoing is one of the most unnerving moment on me.

So if you're thinking twice if you should read The Forest of a Thousand Lanterns,   you should definitely READ THIS BOOK. Julie Dao is an author you should watch out for. She creates a wonderful and a powerful story that entails how a character can mold their own destiny in a beautiful and deadly way.