Book Reviews

PH BLOG TOUR: Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao [Review & Giveaway]

Hey everyone!

As part of the PH Blog Tour of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao, hosted by Erika of The Nocturnal Fey and Raf The Royal Polar Bear Reads. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude for Erika and Raf for hosting this wonderful blog tour and to Penguin Random House for providing physical ARC. Also, my apologies go to the host of this tour for not posting on time because something came up. I am really sorry Raf and Erika! My schedule is on November 9, but some things bigger happened that needs my attention. Anyway, here’s my review of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao.


BlazingPhoenix Cover

Title: Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (Rise of the Empress #2)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: November 6th 2018

ISBN: 1524738336


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.

Goodreads link –


Julie C. DaoJulie C. Dao 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.

Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads author page


November 5th

Erika – The Nocturnal Fey (Review)

Rafael – The Royal Polar Bear Reads (Review)
Soleil – Queen Soleil (Review)

November 6th

Jennilyn – Rurouni Jenni Reads (Review)

Erica Mae – Living a Hundred Lives (Review)

Jen – Jen D Bibliophile (Promo post)

November 7th

Camille – Camillea Reads (Review)

Bianca – The Ultimate Fangirl (Review)

Vivian – Vanilla Angel Pages (Promo post)

November 8th

Myrth – Cliste Bella (Review)

Jenny – Levicorpvs Blog (Review)

Dani – dmcireads (Promo post)

November 9th

Shaine – Wanderer in Neverland (Review)

Leslie – Bibliophilekid (Review)

November 10th

Joel – Descendant of Poseidon Reads (Review)

Jon – Wander with Jon (Review)
Karina – Afire Pages (Promo Post)


Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix tells Jade’s journey. Jade is a princess who has been sent to a monastery by his father, Emperor Jun. She is summoned by Empress Xifeng to the palace after 15 years, claiming that she will accept Jade as her child. She travelled across Feng Lu to test herself and to find some things that are valuable in fighting and stopping her stepmother. 

Jade is smart, kind, idealistic but doubts herself. I like Jade’s determination and persistence to accomplish her duty. Surprisingly, I enjoyed each tales that guided Jade in her journey. Also, those tales taught me many things especially in life. On the other hand, Wren is striking for me. She is Jade’s opposite. If Jade can’t handle the problem, Wren is there to help and is always reliable in times of difficulty. She also models that even women can be strong and fight. I honestly do not like Wren’s at first because of being rude to Jade. But she proves that she is willing to accept Jade as a friend, a sister, and a family. Koichi is a childhood friend whom she meets again after 15 years. He is one of the most determined characters and knowledgable in tales. I had so much fun reading Koichi and Wren’s banter. Honestly, I almost shipped them because that’s when I felt the “kilig” though they are so funny. But I saw Koichi’s small moves and signals to Jade that he likes her. However, Jade and Koichi as a couple is not that moving for me. I did not felt the sparks Jade were talking about. Their relationship was not built up for me to feel the sparks. Further the Empress Xifeng is ever compelling. I understand why Xifeng is like that, but she chose the different path (read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns to know more about her!). Also, I’m glad to read familiar characters that supports the story. Overall, I’m impressed with the characters. 

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix world is magical and beautifully written. I could definitely imagine the scenes/parts and it reminds me ancient Chinese I’ve watched when I was a kid. The turn of events is remarkable and unpredicted especially during Jade’s journey. While, reading I almost at the edge of my sit because each part is exciting, engaging yet almost cliff-hanging. 

Highly recommended if you love fantasy, action thrilling and captivating story! 


“We learn about ourselves when we learn about others,”

“Family is not only defined by blood.”

“We all have to work to be brave.”

“I just want to be myself,” Wren said. “I want to live life on my own terms, and I’m tired of people assuming all women are the same, or that we’re weak and helpless.”

“Sacrifice is sometimes necessary to maintain one’s integrity”

“Desperation makes monsters of even the best people.”

“Bravery isn’t just about being strong and handy with a sword. Sometimes it’s about resolve . . . or deciding whether to face a past you’d rather forget.”

“The most important is that those hungry for power are as flawed as they like to appear strong.”

“Perhaps gentleness is necessary to temper a ruler’s ruthlessness, and not weakness at all.”


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