Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

; 11 CDs. 13: 23 hrs. Listening Library. Oct. 2017. $70. ISBN 9780525493976. digital download.
RedReviewStarGr 10 Up—Since a young age Xifeng, who possesses great beauty, has been told by her aunt, Guma, that she is destined for greatness. Through the use of dark magic and fortune cards, Guma determines Xifeng will rule as empress, even though Xifeng is in love with a poor village boy, Wei, and is nowhere near the palace. Along her path is an enemy, represented by the Fool card, that could keep her from being empress. To succeed, Xifeng will have to leave her village and embrace a growing darkness inside her, one that will make her sacrifice all she loves. Her destiny is tied to an ancient enemy of Fung Lu and to another who may be fairer than herself. Kim Mai Guest narrates, her lyrical voice drawing listeners into this well-crafted fantasy world inspired by East Asian culture. Guest captures the clash of light and darkness in Xifeng as well as the unique personalities of a full cast of characters.
VERDICT Give this to fans of the origin stories of villains, such as Meyer's Heartless and Fairest, and of fantasy inspired by tales set in Asia, like Ellen Oh's "Dragon King Chronicles."

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