The Book Theme Meme | Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Hello, friends, and welcome to The Book Theme Meme, a monthly meme I’ve created to indulge in my love of books and music!  I’d love it if you’d join in too! The rules of the game are simple!


  • Link back to the creator (me, Lila @ Hardcover Haven)
  • Choose a book or book series.
  • Choose a song you feel like represents the book (fyi: it doesn’t have to have words, it can be classical or a score).
  • Post the book/series and the song.
  • Tell us what about the song reminds you of the book. Is it a particular lyric/s? Is it the general feeling of the song? Explain a little.
  • Your posts should go up on the second Thursday of each month
  • Leave a link to your post in the comments of my monthly post so we can find your post!

In this week’s post, I’ve selected one of my new favorite books, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, and paired it with “Control” by Halsey…

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao // “Control” by Halsey


They send me away to find them a fortune
A chest filled with diamonds and gold
The house was awake, the shadows and monsters
The hallways, they echoed and groaned

Th above lines are the opening to Halsey’s “Control” and, honestly, I think they fit perfectly with the eerie opening chapters of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns!

The verse “the house was awake, the shadows, the monsters, the hallways, they echoed and groaned” is reminiscent of how Xifeng lives with her abusive aunt , the witch Guma, and how Xifeng already senses a growing darkess within herself early on.

The line “they send me away tof ind them a fortune, a chest filled with diamonds and gold” reminds me of how Guma dreams of a life of grandeur and power for Xifeng–a life as the empress of Fenglu–and how Guma trains Xifeng to one day be sent away for this grand life.

And I tried to hold these secrets inside me
My mind’s like a deadly disease

This verse of “Control” calls to mind how Xifeng struggles in the beginning of the story to hold the terrible darkness inside of her down and to push it aside, but the darkness is like a sickness, spreading throughout her being and ravaging her.

And I couldn’t stand the person inside me
I turned all the mirrors around

This verse reminds me of a very specific part of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns–the part in which Xifeng kills a rabbit and eats its heart in order to complete a spell that will restore Xifeng’s beauty after she gets a horrible slash across her face. After Xifeng eats the rabbit, the gash disappears, but later on in a marketplace, Xifeng looks in a mirror and instead of seeing the gash gone, she sees a festering scar covering her face (though when she touches her face, she can feel that there is nothing). The mirror is reflective of the evil growing inside Xifeng–the evil that Xiefeng must embrace in order to become empress.

I’m well acquainted with villains that live in my head

Finally, this last verse reminds me of how well acquainted Xifeng eventually becomes with the dark, evil entity hat lives within her and which is fighting to control Xifeng (pun 100% intended).


Have you read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns? If so, do you think my song choice fits? If you haven’t read the book, are you interested in it? Also, don’t forget to leave a link to your post if you’re participating in The Book Theme Meme this month!

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Lila is a 27-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

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