About the Book:
Title: Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix (Rise of the Empress #2)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: November 6th, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
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This fairy tale retelling lives in a mystical world inspired by the Far East, where the Dragon Lord and the Serpent God battle for control of the earthly realm; it is here that the flawed heroine of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns finally meets her match. An epic fantasy finale to the Rise of the Empress novels.
Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?
Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with breathtaking pain and beauty, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is filled with dazzling magic, powerful prose, and characters readers won’t soon forget.
Fans of Stealing Snow, Red Queen, and The Wrath and the Dawn will hungrily devour this page-turning read.
Thank you Penguin Random House for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review and Erika of The Nocturnal Fey and Rafael of The Royal Polar Bear Reads for hosting the blog tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
An Asian-inspired retelling with clever twists in the classic Snow White, Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix offers a thrilling quest in a spell-binding world where an evil empress reigns.
This book is a great follow up story. In contrast to Forest of the Thousand Lanterns which told the dark tale of a peasant girl who embraces her own demons to achieve greatness and destiny, Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix tells us a narrative of a princess reclaiming her kingdom that gives light and hope in the darkest of time.
The story began slowly as Dao introduced new characters and setting. She did a very good job giving readers information about the current situation of the Kingdom under Xifeng’s rule. Every scene and detail was written beautifully that I can feel as if I were transported to the very same time and place. The main part of the plot is about the quest of finding the relics of the Dragon Lords. It is captivating to read how Princess Jade, together with Wren and Koichi, battled and overcame tough situations on their journey. It also inspires us that we can also conquer challenges we can meet in life. I also love how the tales that were considered “children tales” helped the characters succeed in each challenge. However, I felt that some scenes were a bit rushed. Maybe because I was expecting more confrontations and actions. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this novel.
The characters are deep and complex in a lot of ways. They each have goals, flaws, secrets, and admirable traits that young readers can look up to. These characteristics make them more real and relatable. For example, I like how Jade slowly emerged from a self-doubting princess into a smarter, confident woman. Also, her friendship with Wren and Koichi deepened with hardships and adventure is heartwarming.
Lastly, this book leaves its readers a lot of lessons and values. It teaches us to believe and embrace who we are. Challenges shape us to be stronger and smarter. Unconditional love and everlasting friendship are ones to be treasured. Destiny is the result of our own choices and actions.
Overall, Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix is an enchanting story about a princess who rises from the ashes to reach her destiny.
JULIE C. DAO
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.
Tour organized by The Royal Polar Bear Reads and The Nocturnal Fey