Welcome to the blog tour for Julie C. Dao’s debut novel, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns! Today I’m sharing 10 reasons why you should read this stunning fantasy novel featuring a fantastic antiheroine:

  1. Xifeng – Xifeng is one of the most merciless female characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. She is chasing her fate and won’t let anyone hold her back. She is smart and cunning and fearless and complex.
  2. Lady Sun – Despite her cheerful sounding name, Lady Sun is a fierce, scheming woman competing with Xifeng for the Emperor’s attention. She is not a good woman but she sure does add an extra element of challenge to Xifeng’s journey.
  3. Guma – Xifeng’s aunt is by no means perfect. She beats Xifeng at the first sign of disobedience and works to shape her future based on what she sees in her magic cards. She’s a character you love to hate. After all, Xifeng wouldn’t have set out on her journey without Guma’s push in the first place, right?
  4. Tengaru – These magical creatures come out of the night and rescue Xifeng and Wei when they need it most. One of the fantastical creatures that has a huge impact on the story, the Tengaru Queen introduces some of the vital myths and backstory in the FOATL world.
  5. Wei – Wei is the kind of guy that almost every girl hopes will fall in love with her – kind, caring, and willing to do anything just to keep you safe and make you happy. And yet, Xifeng throws him to the side at the first sight of a life inside the walls of the palace. But besides his throw-away role that Xifeng sees, he’s a winner to me.
  6. Worldbuilding – Forest of a Thousand Lanterns takes places in a world unlike any other that I’ve read about. Julie C. Dao has succeeded in crafting a world so rich and exciting that it feels like you could fall through the pages and end up right alongside Xifeng. To be honest, it’s worth reading FOATL just for the gorgeous world she has created.
  7. Ruthlessness – Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is not a book for the faint of heart. In her quest to become Empress, Xifeng casts aside those who get in her way, animal or human, and we get the bloody, gory details in full-scale. It is brutal but, in Xifeng’s opinion, all for a good cause.
  8. Empress Lihua – My heart went out to Empress Lihua the first time Xifeng met her in FOATL, and I ended up loving her character. She’s an aging empress who desperately wants a daughter and for a while, treats Xifeng as her own. She seems kind and gentle and yet, when it comes down to it, we learn she has more of a spine when it comes to her family than anyone would have guessed.
  9. Kang – Xifeng’s eunuch companion provides some nice moments of humor and becomes a vital part of the story. Dao has done a fabulous job giving her characters dimension and Kang is no exception.
  10. Snow White/Evil Queen retelling – While Forest of a Thousand Lanterns isn’t at all a verbatim retelling of the Evil Queen story, there are hints of that in Xifeng’s ruthless rise to power and it is addictive as popcorn. I can’t wait to see where the sequel takes us.

About the book:

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. 

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance. Fans of Heartless, Stealing Snow, and Red Queen will devour this stunning debut.

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.





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).
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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.

Blog 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 – History & Possible Real-World Parallels in 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.



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