Forest of A Thousand Lanterns Review

Trigger warnings: gore, torture, death

As the new paperback version of this gorgeous, dark and twisted tale comes out today, I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts (spoiler: I loved it).

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao


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?

My Thoughts:

When I started to write this review, my notes were just an incomprehensible mess, because I couldn’t articulate my thoughts well enough to do justice to this book.

This is hands down one of my favourite books I’ve read in 2018.

I flew through this slow-burning, phenomenal and magical book. It had everything I look for in YA fantasy: a lush description of the world, court intrigue and brilliant characters. Xifeng is this badass, awesome, flawed woman who becomes the villain I’ve been looking for.

This is an origin story that actually stays true to the original darkness of the Grimm Tales. It’s chilling, brilliant and intensely compelling.

After completely devouring this intricate tale, the ending just left me desperately wanting the companion novel (Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, which is out in November).

In summary, this was one of the easiest five-star rating I’ve ever given.

Add Forest of a Thousand Lanterns on Goodreads

I just have to add a quick note to this review to really hammer home my love for this book: I’ve marked over 1,200 books on Goodreads as read and I’ve only considered 24 of them to be worth five stars. FOATL is one of the very few books I feel strongly enough about to rate it that highly, as I was completely swept away by this beautiful, wicked tale.




9 thoughts on “Forest of A Thousand Lanterns Review

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