"Forest of a Thousand Lanterns" was a slow-building and dark YA fantasy. Xifeng has been raised by her cruel aunt to become Empress, her destiny. Xifeng's training has stressed her beauty and created a true anti-heroine who is at times horrifying and at others completely understandable. Xifeng must embrace her inner darkness, be it madness or magic, in order to fulfill her destiny. It is, at once, potentially both and the contrast is interesting.
With magic, cruelty, politics, love, and intrigue, this book has so many elements that can really pull you in. The beginning felt a little slow but it soon became faster and more intense as the stakes begin to grow. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and the elements of magic and myth. The style of writing suits the story quite well and weaves a fascinating tale that is ultimately gripping.