Monday, October 16, 2017

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

Hardcover384 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Philomel Books
ISBN: 1524738298

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 went into this book with really high expectations AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was a lush, mesmerizing, and emotional book. I was completely invested in this story and the characters Dao created. 

One of my favorite things about this book was the setting. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns takes place in a magical East Asian world, and it was BEAUTIFUL. The author description of the world was so detailed and captivating. I was fascinated by the magical atmosphere the author created with the threads of inspiration from East Asian culture. 

The main character, Xifeng, is my girl crush. I SERIOUSLY LOVED HER SO MUCH!! She was definitely was an anti-hero, and I was living for it. Xifeng was a strong, independent, passionate, cunning, and complex character. She was a morally grey character, but I always understood her motives. Even if her choices didn't seem like the nice or easy choice, she always stood behind her decisions and did what was best for her. Some of her decisions BROKE MY FREAKING HEART, but I always knew she was trying to do what she needed to do to achieve her goals. Xifeng went through a lot of development throughout the story, and it was an amazing transformation. I was so proud of her for staying strong after everything she went through. SHE IS A BADASS WHO SHOULD NEVER BE MESSED WITH. I AM OBSESSED WITH HER AND I WANT TO BE HER.

The first few chapters of this book were a little slow, but the pace quickly picked up and I was addicted! WHEN THE SECOND HALF OF THE BOOK HIT, I WAS MORE THAN OBSESSED WITH THE PLOT. Seriously, words cannot describe how much I truly loved how the plot developed in the second half of the book. The Snow White elements started to become a lot more prominent in this part of the book, which was FABULOUS. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT, SO JULIE, PLEASE GIVE ME BOOK TWO ASAP!!!! 

Overall, this was an amazing fantasy novel that I would recommend to everyone and anyone. If you are a fan of fantasies, then I would HIGHLY recommend you get your hands on this book!

5 / 5 Fangs

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. * 

Julie C. Dao ( 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. 

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao. (ARV: $18.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on October 2, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 27, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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 Week One:
October 2 – Alexa Loves Books – Author Guest Post | Inspiration Behind FOATL
October 3 – No BS Book Reviews – Review
October 4 – The Young Folks – 10 Reasons to Read FOATL
October 5 – Chasing Faerytales – Author Guest Post | On Villains & Backstories: What Makes Them So Interesting?
October 6 – Arctic Books – Favorite Villains & Anti-Heroes

Week Two:
October 9 – NovelKnight – Review
October 10 – The Book’s Buzz – Author Q&A
October 11 – Across the Words – Author Q&A
October 12 – What Sarah Read – FOATL Mood Board
October 13 – One Way or an Author  Tour of the World of FOATL

Week Three:
October 16 – MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It Book Reviews – Review 
October 17 – Twirling Pages – Author Guest Post | Julie’s Writing Starter Pack (aka items that got her through writing FOREST)
October 18 – Mundie Moms – Review
October 19 – Book Nerd Addicts – Author Q&A
October 20 – Little Lillie Reads – Review & Playlist

Week Four:
October 23 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Guest Post | Julie’s Dream Cast 
October 24 – The Eater of Books! – Favorite FOATL Quotes
October 25 – A Page With a View – Author Q&A
October 26 – A Perfection Called Books – Review & Mood Board
October 27 – Xpresso Reads – Author Guest Post | Talk about anything fun/bizarre she discovered while writing the book.

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