Forest of a Thousand Lanterns intrigued me with Julie C. Dao’s poetic writing style as I feast upon with the story of a retelling, moreover an anti-heroine book that made me wish for a happy ending. The execution of the story is brilliant, I didn’t expect to show empathy to some characters that I loathe in the book. The book is irresistible, the words are addictive, and I’m grateful that it grips me hard on my seat. It was one of those books that I’ve never thought that I would enjoy and devour the stunning premise of the novel.
While I was reading the book, it felt like I was reading (or watching) on the back of my mind a Korean drama. The proses are lyrical, the words are impressively crafted, and the world-building is outstanding that I want to drown myself of how rich the royalty in the book and how raw the scenes that I could imagine it vividly.
The book started with few pages that seem too hard to indulge however it doesn’t stop me from reading as the pace follows through and I can’t put the book down anymore. Xifeng is a victim of abuse with her own Guma. A character that expected to do what should have been done for a Queen to be. I hated Guma in this book since she showed the readers the ugly reality in fiction as it portrayed in life. But that’s the very essence of this book and that’s why I loved this novel because there are so many philosophies that the reader can learn from. It dwells with poverty and how a character stand on her own way to be at the top, it discusses few political views that teaches readers to be nationalistic in some way, it tackles raw emotions; envy, pity, hatred, despair, resolve, greed, pride, fear, and love that made the whole book unique, oddly hopeful (at least for me) and satisfying at the end.
You’ll witness how Xifeng delivers herself throughout the book – with so much, compassion, drive, confidence, beauty, and intelligence. I came to love her and the book even if its an anti-heroine. This is The Royal Polar Bear for the first time wishing for a happy ending for someone we see how someone so pure became so dark and that deep inside we can, we could understand her as life balance everything in the world – even in a person with a good personality and yet bears a sin.
What’s surprising about this book is that when everything fell into place, the one thing that you are hoping for Xifeng parted with her. There’s this one scene in the book that made me sad because it hurts like it really hurts because you wish what could have been for her. And like the reality, we don’t get what we want for everything. This is one of the things that I like that Julie C. Dao put in her books. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a mask of reality that her readers could relate at some point.
In the end, this book is the epitome of actuality. It shows us the two different sides of the coin how someone so kind can become someone who is so manipulative with the influence of her hardship through people who treat her with so much disgust and pain. It taught me that being kind can make the world better – but for our protagonist, “Will being kind can save yourself?” You have to be ruthless, brave, and wiser to play the games of the world. I would also like to point out how Dao depicted feminism and incorporating the misogynistic culture of a sovereign in a traditional Eastern setting.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns exudes so many profound characters that will give you so much hesitation whether to love or to hate the character, to wish or not to wish for a happy ending. It gave us a lot of perspectives, determination, and admiration. And the only word that came out after I read the book: Satisfying. I like how Julie C. Dao ended the book with so much hopefulness, uncertain of the future, and what will become of Xifeng? Without expectations when I started this book, I can proudly say that this book is one of those amazing books that I read in 2017.
My Ratings: 5 STARS!!!
Thank you to Erika from The Nocturnal Fey for hosting the PH Blog Tour for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao!
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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
The Nocturnal Fey – Erika
The Royal Polar Bear Reads – Rafael
The Ultimate Fangirl – Bianca
The Nerdy Side of a Queen – Nicay
dmcireadsblog – Danielle
Camillea Reads – Patricia Camille
Bookablereads Book Review – Carmel
Reading Flamingo – Abigail
Amidst the Pages – Imo
The Hogsmeade Reader – Danica
The Purple Nightingale – Janella
Descendant of Poseidon Reads – Joel
Afire Pages – Karina
The Queen Reads – Elena
the broke biblioPHL – Hana
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) 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.
Julie is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.