book reviews, young adult

Kingdom of the blazing phoenix by Julie C. Dao


Title: Kingdom of the blazing phoenix
Author: Julie C. Dao
Source: Bought
Edition: Trade paperback
Publication: November 6th 2018 by Philomel Books (Penguin Random House)  
Pages: 384 pages
Category: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy


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.

LIKENESS SCALE: 4 hearts rating

Warning: Possible Spoilers


I have to say this first, my love for the first book did not transcend to this book. The first book was such a wicked read that I was engrossed with it. This story starts with Jade in a monastery. On her 18th birthday, she is requested to come to the palace by Xifeng. While travelling, she sees the condition of her country and it fuels her to overthrow Xifeng and claim her rightful place in the kingdom.

Somehow this book was too cliche for me. The writing was good but I was not interested with Jade and her crew. It just felt that Xifeng was a very complex character which made me invest my time on the story. As for Jade, she was just to shallow for me when compared to Xifeng. Both stories had me look at different kinds of people. Jade could be the next Xifeng if she had succumb to the darkness. She did not and became the usual heroine of a story.

What I like..

  • The writing is good
  • A lot of characters were involved in the ending
  • Different challenges which Jade underwent

What I did not like..

  • The anti climatic ending.. I was expecting a more dramatic, gory and battle filled ending
  • Jade was not my kind of heroine
  • The romance part of the story was not substantial. I just felt that it was forced
  • some parts were confusing

I gave this story a 4 hearts rating because it was good but lacked the ingenuity of Forest of a thousand lanterns. I just loved it that this really was lacking. I maybe biased but this story was sort of cliche for me. Heroine goes on an adventure with her friends and saves the day. I do love this trope if executed well. I prefer the authors execution with the Anti-hero trope. However, it was still a good read. I also think that Jade was just a typical character which made the story lackluster. But it was still an enjoyable read with a good ending and a lot of characters.

BUY, BORROW, NEVER MIND: Borrow, because the story is okay but did not enjoy it as much as I like

Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion on the story. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my own copy of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie Dao. The book photo and synopsis here is from


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