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

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)

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...

Details Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)

TitleForest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)
Release DateOct 10th, 2017
PublisherPhilomel Books
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

Reviews Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)

  • Emily May
    “Beware, Xifeng, of magic that comes too easily. There is a price for everything, as she learned and you, too, will learn. Some magic requires blood. Other magic requires a piece of your own self and eats away at your soul.” 4 1/2 stars. In short: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is an East Asia-inspired fantasy in which a young woman chooses ruthless ambition and power over the love of a hot guy. Halle-freaking-lujah.I should probably say this ...
  • Marie Lu
    I adore an anti-heroine story, and Julie C. Dao achieves this with flying colors in a lush, richly developed fantasy world of myth, monarchy, and magic. Xifeng is an unusual and wonderfully complex protagonist of ambitious agency--I couldn't stop reading about her journey! Go pre-order this beauty immediately.
  • Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
    This was SO good and I'm just really angry that it took me so long to read it (or listen to it actually). I loved how it twisted a lot of the typical elements of fantasy but also added the richness of the culture it was thoroughly steeped in. A great retelling overall that I HIGHLY recommend!*I read this as part of Penguin Teen's Fall Into Fantasy readathon where this was my featured buddy read.*
  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    October 2017 Fairyloot Box. We got two books. I added a link to all of the stuff in close up under the picture =) CLOSE UP PICTURESI thought it was alright. Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐾🐺
  • Lola
    More like Forest of a Thousand Dull Chapters.I have nothing against slow-paced books. I think it's alright for some stories to take longer to unfold and be detailed, and consequently, descriptive. You don’t, for example, want to read a mystery novel that is not at all mysterious because you barely had time to guess who the killer was that BAAAM! You already finished the book.But if I’m not interested, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your wr...
  • Sana
    Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a dark and gruesome, !!!East Asian!!! fantasy about Xifeng, a beautiful peasant girl who has always been told that she is destined for greatness. Xifeng is raised by her abusive aunt/Guma who longs to fulfill Xifeng's destiny, the cards have predicted. They show Xifeng's future full of power and as Empress, but with great power comes great sacrifice and difficult obstacles to pass. Sick of her aunt's abuse, Xifeng...
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    “I was a born a woman into this world,” she said, echoing the concubine’s words. “And I will play the game, but I won’t lose.” I’m not mad, I’m just… a little disappointed. okay okay okay actually let me level here: I LOVE Xifeng. love her so much Julie C. Dao knew what she was DOING with that character. “But in weakness, you find your strength. You leave pieces of yourself in everyone you love. Is that not the greatest po...
  • Julie
    Guys! This is my book and I am over-the-moon joyful that I get to share it with you all next year! The story combines everything I love: strong women and the complex relationships that shape them; the struggle between choice and destiny; a lush palace setting and handsome, brooding men; and a powerful, dark, tortured heroine I think of as a combination of Wu Zetian (the first and ONLY *ruling* Empress of China), Anne Boleyn, and Scarlett O'Hara.P...
  • may ❀
    Full review postedI don’t think this book is TERRIBLE, I just think that the synopsis DECEIVED me and I’ve faced too much betrayal from my loved ones books to continue being a victim to such treachery I’m lying, I clearly never learn since I keep reading kasie west books Pros *this gonna be short oops- Asian setting!!!!!!!!- its pretty gruesome, so if you’re into that it might appeal to you I guess :|- um…girl power but done like sneak...
  • Riley
    I feel weird saying I relate to the main character because she's clearly the villain but I. FUCKING. RELATE.
  • Fables&Wren
    WrensReads Review: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.How could I not fall under the spell of this book? HOLY BATMAN I cannot express how beautifully dark this book is. This book is a typical-folklore fairy: beautiful and hypnotizing and just brings you in with your words... but it’s super creepy and probably going t...
  • Jill
    "She was a monster, a bride of the darkness, and she rose to face her destiny as though it were the blood red sunrise of a new day." Ok ok I finally have time to write a review. I'd like to start off with a big loud pterodactyl screech that might convey how unique and amazing this book was. I am thoroughly impressed. The entire plot was so well thought out and the characters were beautifully written (even if some of them were brutal as hell... ye...
  • Hiba
    She was special, with every bite, every stream of blood spurting from her ravenous mouth. She was a monster, a bride of the darkness, and she rose to face her destiny as though it were the blood-red sunrise of a new day. This book is so gloriously BRUTAL. One word of warning, this book is certainly not for faint hearted, if you want a glint of hopefullness and happiness then go away because this book is certainly not for you. Forest of thousand ...
  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    This was definitely slow to start, but I'm already absolutely dying to read the second book. I was invested in this book because I knew the main character was supposed to be ruthless, and I was not misled in any way. If you're looking for an origin story that's dark and twisty, this one is fantastic.
  • Sara (sarawithoutanH)
    What I Liked• I enjoyed that the story followed the making of a villain rather than the making of a hero. • Overall, I liked Xifeng as the main character. Her focus was less on romance and more on her end goals. What I Disliked• I didn't really love the writing. There were times that it was very nice and other times that I just didn't vibe with it. The quality wasn't consistent. • The pacing of the story. The beginning felt too long and t...
  • Beth
    "In weakness, you find your strength. It takes no small amount of courage to open yourself up"Spoiler Free Review!Holy shit this was amazing! I have no idea what to think when I went into this... but not THAT! Firstly it's partly a re-telling that has set up the second book perfectly, then we have an anti-heroine (which I didn't even know about!), it's dark and twisted but so gripping. The progression of the book moved at a gradual pace, nothing ...
  • Natalie Monroe
    "Let no one stand in your way. If they face you, your beauty will entrap them. If they turn away, you will stab them in the back." Chalk up 'Snow White retelling from the POV of the wicked queen, set in imperial China' to the list of things I never knew I needed. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is so vindictive and brilliant and and blade-edged in its message. "She touched her face. 'This is how a woman plays the game. It makes men weak and forget ...
  • Hamad
    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book PrescriptionActual Rating: 3.5 stars “I believe our lives have already been decided, and it is our purpose to make the choices that lead us to that fate.”🌟 I have taken the decision to read and not read this book multiple times. I am a big fan of Dark Fantasy but most of my friends said that it was mediocre/ Meh. I finally decided to give it a chance since book 2 is out now....
  • Kate (GirlReading)
    It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a fantasy as much as I enjoyed this. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was dark, gritty, unique and unpredictable. I thought the way the narrative of the Evil Queen was woven into the story was so incredibly clever and Xifeng was one of the most intriguing and complex protagonists (antagonist?!) I’ve encountered in a while. The wait until the next book in this series is going to be a painful one but I have n...
  • Samantha
    3.5 stars
  • Lily ☁️
    This was both boring and weirdly addictive? But it kept me from slumping (courtesy of We Are the Ants), so I’m giving it three stars.Blog ¦ Bloglovin’ ¦ Tumblr ¦ Instagram
  • Kaye
    Five-starring in advance because Julie is fabulous, her writing is fabulous, and diasporic authors have EVERY RIGHT to pen Asian-inspired fantasy without being cut down or degraded for it.
  • CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
    *rubs temples* I really wish I liked this because I was really looking forward to this, but, I'm sorry friends, I was not a fan (and at most, 'it was ok'). - First, I found the worldbuilding... weird. Indeed, it is Asian-inspired, but I felt liked what made it 'Asian-inspired' was superficial and inconsistent. I don't believe that the story should embody an essentialist notion of 'Chineseness'/'Asianness', but it should be consistent, immersive, ...
  • Joshee Kun (조수아)
    I've been watching a K-drama called Empress Ki, so now, I can't help but imagine Xifeng as Ha Ji-won and Emperor Jun as Ji Chang-wook.
  • Inge
    3.5 starsAhhh, this was a pretty solid debut novel, and a great start of a promising series! Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is an East Asian retelling of the Evil Queen's origin story before she became Snow White's stepmother, and it is everything I wanted it to be.First of all, SHE DOESN'T BECOME EVIL BECAUSE OF A DUDE. I love my villains and I am a sucker for a good origin story, but my main pet peeve is when a female villain becomes evil becaus...
  • Lainey
    Non-spoiler book review here: review:I went into this book hoping for the origin story of a villain and I was not disappointed in the least. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns follows the story of Xifeng. A young woman who is told she is destined for power and leadership... the be the empress of the kingdom. According to the cards her abusive witch aunt reads, the journey is not going to be easy and will...
  • Maggie ☘ (Wonderland-Reader)
    *3.5/5 stars* “She would bloom where she was planted and let her roots close around the throats of her enemies.” I was always intrigued by stories of villains or anti heroes in fantasy books. And I think it's something the YA genre needs more of, because it has so much potential to be different from many other generic - or too similar - books in the genre. Coming into this book, I didn't realize it would be so reminiscent of Snow White from ...