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The acclaimed epic fantasy debut about the rise of a dark queen and the price of ambition…

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.

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Praise

for forest of a thousand lanterns

A Fall 2017 Junior Library Guild Selection

YALSA’s 2019 Best Fiction For Young Adults Nominee

ALA Booklist’s 2018 Top SF Fantasy & Horror For Youth

New York Public Library’s 2017 Best Books For Teens

ALA Booklist’s 2017 Top 10 First Novels For Youth

Audiofile Magazine Earphones Award Winner

2019 Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee

Epic Reads Book Shimmy Awards Semi-Finalist For Best Villain of 2017

Epic Reads Book Shimmy Awards Semi-Finalist For Best Retelling of 2017

“Dao’s debut novel is a masterful reimagining of the early life of Snow White’s Evil Queen.”

Booklist, starred review
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“Kim Mai Guest narrates, her lyrical voice drawing listeners into this well-crafted fantasy world.”

School Library Journal, starred audiobook review
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“Rich in detail and full of gore and blood, this dark novel will satisfy ‘Game of Thrones’ fans… the reimagining of the Evil Queen story will entice fans of antiheroine journeys.” 

School Library Journal
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“Readers will be drawn into the lush, fully realized world of Feng Lu and be intrigued by the sinister forces that awaken within and around Xifeng as she makes what she sees as necessary sacrifices on the path to her rise. This opening volume of a new series efficiently wraps up its major storyline, while leaving tantalizing hints to pick up in subsequent installments.”

Bulletin For the Center For Children’s Books
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“A stunning reimagining of the Evil Queen. Filled with treacherous courtesans, dark magic, terrible choices, and bloody hearts, Julie Dao’s exquisite take on this classic villain rises far above the average retelling.”

Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
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“An enchanting debut with a powerful and ambitious lead. Vivid and seductive, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is one of the best debuts of the year.”

Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost
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“Magnetic, seductive, and alluring, Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a lush, captivating read about desire and the lengths to which we will go to find our true destiny.”

S. Jae-Jones, New York Times bestselling author of Wintersong
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“FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is a stunning debut, a sort of inside-out fairy tale where beauty is a weapon, ambition is armor, and the empire is the battlefield. Xifeng doesn’t ask for what she wants–she takes it. This book is dangerous; you should read it.”

Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane
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“Julie C. Dao’s FOTL is delicious, addicting, and breathtaking; a book you fall into from the first page to the last. Her rich world is thick with wonder, intrigue, and delightful darkness. Readers will root for Xifeng no matter the choices she must make; we want her to win.” 

Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
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“[Xifeng’s] tug-of-war with the forces driving her down a dark path makes for tantalizing reading.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review
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“Readers will appreciate the sweeping fantasy saga lifted from East Asian dynasties and endearing characters that are beautifully rendered.”

Kirkus Reviews
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“This is a book filled with turmoil and drama that will leave you wanting more… With wonderfully descriptive writing and prose worthy of a movie, this is one book that you’ll want to check out.”

RT Book Reviews
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“A richly developed fantasy world coupled with an ambitious anti-heroine of complex agency, this story shines and surprises at every turn. Julie C. Dao is a talent to watch.”

Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites
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“Dark, lush, and intense, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns draws you into a world filled with mystery and intrigue, led by a heroine determined to grasp her destiny. A stunning debut!”

Cindy Pon, award-winning author of WANT and Serpentine
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 “An enchanting debut with a powerful and ambitious lead. Vivid and seductive, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is one of the best debuts of the year.” 

Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon
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“Beautiful, lush, and stunningly intricate, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is this year’s must-read fantasy!”

Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
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“Searing and intense, Dao’s debut is an outstanding character exploration of one of fairytales’ most enduring and enigmatic characters: the Evil Queen. Equal parts lush and devastating, this is a tale that will grab you by the throat.” 

Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
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Buzz for forest of a thousand lanterns


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