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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress) Hardcover – October 10, 2017
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A Junior Library Guild Selection
"A richly developed fantasy world coupled with an ambitious anti-heroine of complex agency, this story shines and surprises at every turn. Julie C. Dao is a talent to watch."—Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites
★ "A masterful reimagining of the early life of Snow White’s Evil Queen. Subverting the all-too-white world of fairy tales, this novel will trap readers in a lush, dangerously dark, and often beautiful world from which they will want no escape. Xifeng is . . . richly drawn, complicated, and, at times, vulnerable; her relentless pursuit of power a welcome contrast to princesses of the past who seldom had the confidence or strength to determine their own destinies."—Booklist, starred review
★ "Lushly written . . . The demons [Xifeng] faces are both literal and metaphorical, external and internal, and her tug-of-war with the forces driving her down a dark path makes for tantalizing reading. A fascinating examination of destiny, responsibility, and how choices shape a person."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Rich in detail and full of gore and blood, this dark novel will satisfy ‘Game of Thrones’ fans."—School Library Journal
“A stunning reimagining of the Evil Queen. Filled with treacherous courtesans, dark magic, terrible choices, and bloody hearts, Julie Dao’s exquisite take on this classic villain rises far above the average retelling.”—Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
"Dark, lush, and intense, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns draws you into a world filled with mystery and intrigue, led by a heroine determined to grasp her destiny. A stunning debut!"—Cindy Pon, author of WANT and Serpentine
“An enchanting debut with a powerful and ambitious lead. Vivid and seductive, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is one of the best debuts of the year.”—Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost
"Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is dark and seductive; beware, this tale will draw you deeper into the forest than you want to go. Disturbingly good."—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon
“Magnetic, seductive, and alluring, Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a lush, captivating read about desire and the lengths to which we will go to find our true destiny.”—S. Jae-Jones, New York Times bestselling author of Wintersong
"Beautiful, lush, and stunningly intricate, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is this year's must-read fantasy!"—Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
"Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a stunning debut, a sort of inside-out fairy tale where beauty is a weapon, ambition is armor, and the empire is the battlefield. Xifeng doesn't ask for what she wants—she takes it. This book is dangerous; you should read it."—Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling coauthor of My Lady Jane
"Searing and intense, Dao's debut is an outstanding character exploration of fairytales' most enduring and enigmatic characters: the Evil Queen. Equal parts lush and devastating, this is a tale that will grab you by the throat."—Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
"Julie C. Dao's Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is delicious, addicting, and breathtaking; a book you fall into from the first page to the last. Her rich world is thick with wonder, intrigue, and delightful darkness. Readers will root for Xifeng no matter the choices she must make; we want her to win."—Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and the Tiny Pretty Things series
"Readers will appreciate the sweeping fantasy saga lifted from East Asian dynasties and endearing characters that are beautifully rendered."—Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will be drawn into the lush, fully realized world of Feng Lu and be intrigued by the sinister forces that awaken within and around Xifeng."—BCCB
About the Author
Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) 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.
Top customer reviews
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Xifeng is an incredible character. Is she evil? Yes. Is she still fabulous? So much so, that I have heart eyes for days. While her morals are questionable, her drive and her passion are ravishing. She doesn't let anything stand in her way, and I found that to be incredibly inspiring.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns well exceeded all of my expectations. It was dark, enchanting, and utterly alluring. This book will satisfy your need for villain stories, and will quickly have you begging Julie Dao for more.
Full review on Brittany's Book Rambles!
This novel is unlike anything I've ever read before and is certainly one of my favorite books I've read this year.
I adore a complex and unreliable main character, and Xifeng beautifully embodies those characteristics. Dao did such a wonderful job of showing Xifeng's backstory, motivations, and human characteristics as well as the darkness lurking inside her. Xifeng might not always be a likable character, but she is an unfailingly fascinating one. Being inside her mind was such a darkly captivating experience, and I am just itching to find out what happens next in her story.
The world-building in this novel is quite frankly stunning. From the richly imagined legends and mythology to the lush setting, the world of a FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is entirely immersive and an absolute joy to read about.
The plot of the story itself is very character-driven. This is truly a story of Xifeng's transformation from a naive and driven girl to a darkly powerful young woman. While there are several jaw-dropping and intense moments in the story, it isn't as action-packed as many YA fantasy novels. Instead we get focus more on the political maneuverings and character/world development. While that does mean the plot moves more slowly, Dao's writing is so decadent and provocative, I was absolutely addicted to it.
There are some beautiful and heart-pounding romance scenes in this novel. These make for some lovely scenes in the story, without overpowering the overall plot. They are a part of Xifeng's character arc, but they are not the main motivation behind it, and I really appreciated that. Though Xifeng's motivations were far from pure, it was wonderful to see a female protagonist pursuing her dreams and ambitions and prioritizing those above romance.
I was truly blown away by this story and by Xifeng herself. I would highly recommend this to any reader. This is such a unique story, and it truly stands out amongst the many YA fantasy novels I've read this year. I will most eagerly be anticipating the next book in the series.
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. *
MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It Book Reviews
Most recent customer reviews
Xifeng is the protagonist I have been waiting for. Internally torn between the two destinies she wants, ruthless and ambitious enough to...Read more
I went in this book totally blind. I did not even read the synopsis! The book was part of my first ever Fairyloot box and I remembered seeing good reviews...Read more
I was 100000% on board with this story as soon as I saw that it was an evil queen reimagining.
I really liked Xifeng.Read more
The cover is pretty and the story world has potential but isn't layered enough for me to feel as...Read more