Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C. Dao

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

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!

View all my reviews


6 responses to “Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C. Dao”

  1. Amber Avatar

    I don’t feel like we get ENOUGH villain origin story books! Great review on this one – I’m glad you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kyera Avatar

      I agree, I’d love to see more of them!

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. bookprincessreviews Avatar

    Ooooh I think I need to get back to this because I got dragged down by the slow beginning. You make it sound so good, though, Kyera!! I’m definitely going to have to try it again now! Wonderful review! ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kyera Avatar

      It definitely had its pacing issues, but the character arc was just so fascinating. I hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

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