24 November, 2017


Title: Forest of Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C. Dao
Series: Rise of the Empress #1
Genres: YA, Queer, Fantasy, Retellings
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release: October 10th 2017
Source: Audiobook
Pages: 363

// Goodreads // BookDepository // Amazon //

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.

EXPECTATIONS: Ever since I read Heartless by Marissa Meyers I realized I really enjoy books about villains. And considering that Forest of Thousand Lanterns is about an evil queen I was really up for it from the moment I found this book on Goodreads. 

THE WORLD: I would say very fairy tale like but most of the time it actually feels very similar to ours. Yes there is magic and yes there are enchanted forests and fantastic creatures but that is not talked about as much as I would have liked. The moment we arrive to the emperor's castle we pretty much enter the usual royal atmosphere. Also this book deals with an emperor who has many wives and they all fight for his attention so if you are not into books featuring harem I would stay away from this one. 

CHARACTERS: Xifeng is a young girl when we meet her, she is raised by her crazy aunt who has it in her head that Xifeng is destined to be an empress. So Xifeng sets out to the emperor's castle to become part of his harem and with big hopes to actually become and empress. Now don't forget Xifeng is not a goody good character, she actually uses others and the fact that they love her to her advantage whenever needed. There is a boy in this book who is crazy in love with Xifeng and she just keeps breaking his heart again and again, it's pretty horrible. Xifeng is also blinded by the fact that she must be an empress, basically if she is not an empress than she should not be living and is worth nothing. So what do I think of this Xifeng character? Well to be honest I am not a big fan. I mean yes I like that she is fine with doing whatever it takes but the whole idea of making a man fall for you to be somebody is a bit hmm...There is a lot also girl on girl hate because well it is a harem and all women are fighting for a drop of attention. So even tho I did like Xifeng something I found myself not liking the general idea so much that it reflected also on my feeling towards Xifeng.

ROMANCE: As I already mentioned men go crazy about Xifeng, she is this amazingly beautiful blah blah girl that everybody just drops in love with. Frankly that was too much for me.

GOOD: I liked beginning of the book really much and it was so promising till we got to the girl on girl hate. 

BAD: Essentially it is all about using men that fall in love with you and making a man love you to be somebody. I don't like this idea of having so much testosterone involved. I am also against harem lifestyle or polygamy in general. I am not saying there is only monogamy that is right but I very much dislike the idea of doing whatever it takes for attention of a man. It might be feminist speaking in me but really, nobody needs a man to be validated. Maybe if it was a queer harem is would feel different.

OVERALL: It was alright but I will not read next book in the series. I just cannot deal with so much testosterone and need of man's approval. 

What do you think about FOREST OF THOUSAND LANTERNS?



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