My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a fantasy inspired by East-Asian culture and the Evil Queen’s story. We are drawn into a complex world and watch the main character as she develops into someone who is willing to do anything to achieve her goals. Not for a man, but for the power she has been promised is rightfully hers for her entire life.
I don’t normally enjoy books as much when they have an anti-hero that I don’t like or connect with, but this book was so fantastic that it didn’t bother me. Xifeng is complex and we watch her evolve over the course of the novel. I kept hoping that she would choose the right path, but couldn’t help but watch in fascination as she dove further into the darkness. I loved getting to experience a villain’s origin story and can’t wait to see where the plot goes in future books.
The supporting characters were also well developed and some were characters that you could relate to (if that’s something that you prefer in your books). You could see their hearts breaking as the anti-heroine’s story played out.
The world was so beautifully developed and richly described. You could visualize each element and it was so lovely. I cannot wait to see more of this world. There were a few times when I felt that there was a jump in the plot that was not adequately explained, but overall the pacing was steady. It built slowly at the beginning and is definitely more of a character-driven story than one of fast-paced action. I kept being drawn back to the book as I wondered what would happen next. The end was a little more rushed to me, but you could see all of the threads being woven into the story to set up the next book.
I would definitely recommend this book and can’t wait until the sequel is released!