Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (non-spoiler review)

Book: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Rating: 4 stars


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?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.


I love reading about anti-heroes and the synopsis had me hooked. The cover looked a bit weird to me (still does) but I get the symbolism now and I kinda love it.


The start was a bit iffy with me. It didn’t bore me but I didn’t like it. I think the first 7 chapters, the rating would’ve been a three. However, after a certain point in the book things really began to get more interesting.


After a while into the book, I just could not stop reading. I wanted so badly to know what happened. The main character was written so beautifully well. You could see the good and the bad sides of her and she’s flawed and that transition was done well ahh. The world building is beautiful and some parts were so twisted and dark and I have to say I loved that.


Xifeng: OF course we aren’t technically supposed to like her, but I kinda did. Her ambition and cunning made for such a good character to read.

Lady Sun: I thought that Guma was the worst, but nope here she is Lady Sun.

Wei: Wei was nothing but wonderful and yet I didn’t love him. He was weighing Xifeng down and I was all for her leaving him (I’m sorry)

A shorter, bullet-point review can be found on my Goodreads here.


Talk To Me

Have you read FoTL? Is it on you TBR? Are your opinions the same as mine? Or are they totally different?

Until next time,



5 thoughts on “Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (non-spoiler review)

Add yours

  1. I enjoy this book. It took me a while to settle into the story of the book and to be honest Xifeng got on my nerves in the beginning because she was constantly worried over her looks. After halfway through I became obsessed with her grow and the darkness that grew slowly. Wonderful review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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