In this post, I will be reviewing Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. This is a spoiler free review so you can continue reading with no fear. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is the debut novel for Dao published by Philomel Books an imprint of Penguin Random House. This book was released on October 10th 2017. The second book Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is set to release on October 23rd, 2018. I believe this is a duology.
This is an Evil Queen from Snow White reimagining set in East Asian-inspired fantasy world. It has been destined that Xifeng (SHE-fung) will become Empress of Feng Lu and Xifeng really wants this to come true but that future comes at a high price. She has to reject the young man that is in love with her and she has to embrace the dark magic in her. The way that Xifeng can fuel her magic is by eating the hearts of the recently killed. The God that has put her on this journey will not be happy until his power is complete.
I will start off by saying that I really enjoyed reading this book. It was an entertaining read I honestly had so much fun reading Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. This was such a different book from what I am used to reading mainly being that the main character is not exactly good. I am more used to reading from the perspective of the good guy that reading from someone that is not exactly good and is deciding what path they want to take was so fun to read. I will be honest and tell you that it took me a while to get fully invested in the book but this was still such an amazing experience.
I really enjoyed trying to pick out similarities to the Snow White story. Well, the parts that were inspired by Snow White. I really liked that those points were very subtle and it wasn’t thrown at your face. When I did find things that I thought “Oh, that is definitely a nod to Snow White” that got me really excited. I’ll give you an example without giving away much, there were points where I thought “ that is the reason that the Evil Queen is so focused on her beauty.” It was small things like that, that I was able to see how Dao was inspired by Snow White. There so many points where I was able to see how Doa used the Snow White story to inspire her work. I also really enjoyed that this felt like a true fairy tale just how fairy tales are formatted and you can just tell that it is a fairy tale, that is what I got from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns.
The only thing that bothered me about Forest of a Thousand Lanterns I cannot pinpoint what it was. I just felt that it was missing something but I cannot tell exactly what it is.
I am honestly so excited for the next book because after reading the synopsis I can tell that it is going to pick up and just get really intense.
I gave Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Four stars out of five. The one star lost was due to the fact that this story was missing something.
I will 100% recommend this book to anyone that likes retellings or reimaginings. Also to anyone that enjoys a good anti-hero story.
Let me know in the comments if you have read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and what your thoughts were.
Until next time book nerds,