Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C. Dao
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publishing Date: October 10, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
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 read the synopsis but it was only upon reading this book did I know that it is an anti-heroine book. I have always been curious about the story of Disney's Villains. In one of the books I own, The Evil Queen was considered as the most evil of them all because she didn't have any reason to be evil but she is anyway.
And so, I devoured this retelling of her story in 2 days not only because I was curious but also because Julie C. Dao wrote it in a way that it would hypnotize you to not stop until you finish it.
The main character of the story, Xi Feng experienced pain early on in life, but in truth, I believe that it is her faith in magic and fate that truly sets her to have the courage to go out of the comfort and familiarity of the little village she grew up in.
Reading FoaTL feels like watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but not. It has the essence of the classic story but as well as the gory details that the other version doesn't have.
What an amazing experience reading this book was. What a sad realization it is for me that I'd be waiting for it's next installment.
But nevertheless, bravo to Julie C. Dao, for writing an awesome anti-heroine book.
RATING : 5 STARS