I received Forest of a Thousand Lanterns in one of my Quarterly boxes ages ago. It’s been sitting on my TBR bookshelf since (and yes, I have a small bookshelf that I reserve for my TBR. It keeps it from getting too out of control). When I got the audio off of hold at the library, I knew it was time to move it up on my reading list. And so here we are.
It was a little slow to start for me. There was a point in the beginning where I thought I was going to give up on it and come back to it later. And then things began to get interesting.
Here’s a synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
And here’s my Sticky Note Review:
Or if you just want the sticky note:
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. #StickyNoteReviews I enjoy a good anti-hero origin story, and Forest of a Thousand Lanterns as just that. It is VERY slow to start, and it took me longer to get through than normal, but when the climax hit? Talk about engaging. I loved seeing how all the women manipulated to advance their agendas (though hated that they had to pit themselves against each other to begin with). I got that Wei, her love interest, represents the “good” side of Xifeng, but I never believed their will-they-won’t-they. The relationship that really engaged me was the one between Xifeng and her aunt Guma. The struggle between loving Guma and the fear of abuse seemed consistent with what I’ve read about victims of abuse. Wei seems to react the way people I’ve known have reacted as well.