Blog Tour Review + #Giveaway – Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

POSTED ON October 9, 2017 BY Austine IN Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway

Blog Tour Review + #Giveaway - Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

I am so excited to share my raving review of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns today as part of the blog tour! Keep reading to hear my thoughts and scroll for a fun giveaway!

This book is out TOMORROW, October 10th! And I’ll tell you now that you definitely don’t want to miss it!

Blog Tour Review + #Giveaway – Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
by Julie C. Dao
Series: Rise of the Empress #1
Published on October 10, 2017 by Philomel Books
Format: ARC
Pages: 384
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

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.

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This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Knight's Judgment
Writing Style

This book is hard not to love. A masterful re-telling of the evil queen set against the backdrop of East Asia, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns introduces us to the tale of a villain you will fall in love with.

Xifeng is a character plagued with choices, and not all of the ones she makes are what we would consider “good.” Which, for me, made her all the more interesting. That’s what it comes down to with her for me. She. Is. Interesting. This is a young woman who is ambitious (I sensed a fellow Slytherin), who has had a tough past but is ready to make a new life for herself and nothing will stand in the way of that. I realized after I finished this book that she’s likely not a character that will win her way into every reader’s heart simply because she’s not written in a way that really made me emphasize with her, but I’m a sucker for villains so I adored her regardless.

I also love love LOVE that this book isn’t set in your standard pseudo-European setting. Dao has created a beautifully rich and dark story. This is not a book for the faint of heart. The plot grows darker and thicker as the book continues and then that ending. . . I just have no words. It was stunning.

Now there was a romance subplot and at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but I realized that it wasn’t something that I could support in that I wanted it to happen, but that I knew there would be an ending. This book isn’t happy. But it is real.

Between the plot twists and the moral choices Xifeng has to make throughout, there wasn’t a full part of this book. Granted, at the beginning, the story does move a bit slow. Dao’s storytelling skills really come through as she sets the scene and once the plot picks up, all that stage-setting balances well and kept me hooked from beginning to end.

I couldn’t put this book down. It was intriguing and wonderfully written, with an anti-heroine character who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to get it. She is constantly at odds with the fate her aunt has told her time and again, her relationship with her aunt, with her childhood love Wei, and the imperial court. I can’t recommend this book enough and absolutely can’t wait for the next one!


About Julie C. Dao

Julie C. Dao ( is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.


Tour Schedule

Week One:

October 2 – Alexa Loves Books – Author Guest Post | Inspiration Behind FOATL
October 3 – No BS Book Reviews – Review
October 4 – The Young Folks – 10 Reasons to Read FOATL
October 5 – Chasing Faerytales – Author Guest Post | On Villains & Backstories: What Makes Them So Interesting?
October 6 – Arctic Books – Favorite Villains & Anti-Heroes

Week Two:

October 9 – NovelKnight – Review
October 10 – The Book’s Buzz – Author Q&A
October 11 – Across the Words – Author Q&A
October 12 – What Sarah Read – FOATL Mood Board
October 13 – One Way or an Author – Tour of the World of FOATL

Week Three:

October 16 – MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It Book Reviews – Review
October 17 – Twirling Pages – Author Guest Post | Julie’s Writing Starter Pack (aka items that got her through writing FOREST)
October 18 – Mundie Moms – Review
October 19 – Book Nerd Addicts – Author Q&A
October 20 – Little Lillie Reads – Review & Playlist

Week Four:

October 23 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Guest Post | Julie’s Dream Cast
October 24 – The Eater of Books! – Favorite FOATL Quotes
October 25 – A Page With a View – Author Q&A
October 26 – A Perfection Called Books – Review & Mood Board
October 27 – Xpresso Reads – Author Guest Post | Talk about anything fun/bizarre she discovered while writing the book.



Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao. (ARV: $18.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on October 2, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 27, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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You can also head on over to my Twitter page to enter to win an ARC of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns!

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16 responses to “Blog Tour Review + #Giveaway – Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

  1. danielle hammelef

    I love retellings. If you couldn’t put this book down, then I know I’m going to have fun reading it.

  2. Angie

    This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2017! I’ve heard great things and the cover is so beautiful. Can’t wait to read it!

  3. Danielle Lynn

    I’ve been dying to read this! I love retellings and this sounds like it won’t disappoint.