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Reviews by Contributor: Dao, Julie C. (1)

When You Believe

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns  (Rise of the Empress, volume 1)

By Julie C. Dao  

17 May, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


2017’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is the first volume in Julie C. Dao’s Rise of the Empress series. 

Xifeng has been raised from birth to marry Emperor Jun. It is a lofty ambition (very much so given that Xifeng is a poor orphan) but it is not entirely unreasonable. Xifeng’s abusive aunt Guma claims to possess magical powers; she insists that one day Xifeng will be great and powerful. Also, Xifeng is an unparalleled beauty, which should smooth her rise to empress . 

Tired of Guma’s beatings, Xifeng flees with Wei, a young soldier who is utterly besotted with Xifeng. Alas for Wei, she is not besotted with Wei. Xifeng has a plan. A plan that involves the emperor. 

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