• Page Count: 354
  • Release Date: July 18, 2017
  • My Rating: 2.5 stars

Book Description:

Dark Breaks the Dawn (Untitled, #1) On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

My Thoughts:

Ok I love this author and really enjoyed her other series, but this book just did not work for me. It’s a Swan Lake retelling that reminded me a lot of Snow Like Ashes meets The Girl of Fire and Thorns and just about every popular YA fantasy book that has a princess with special powers. And don’t get me wrong – I LOVE those books. That’s why I keep reading them. But I can’t think of a single thing here that stood out or I really enjoyed… and the story had SO many elements I normally would fangirl over!!

Evelayn has lavender streaked hair, violet eyes, and was born with the conduit gemstone for the Light Kingdom in her chest. That was a fun idea, but that’s the strongest detail we ever get for her.

I know this is an odd analogy, but it’s the most accurate thing I can think of to describe Evelayn’s POV: most of the story felt like trying to look at a movie with my glasses off. I got the general idea that things were happening, but it was all a distant, blurry mess I couldn’t get into.

Plus, a ton of POVs are just thrown in randomly and it’s jarring at the very least. The reader is left like

The worldbuilding was the weakest part for me, though. Little bits of info were dropped in here and there (so I appreciated not having an infodump), but it wasn’t enough to actually create a cohesive world. Even the potentially awesome magic system needed more detail. I got that people in this world have every color skin (like green and blue), snow power, can shift into animals, and that there are phrases that would normally get my attention like High Lords & wards… but it was all thrown in in such a haphazard, disconnected way and never really used. And I’m still not 100% clear on what a Drailon is despite that being used on almost every page.

On top of that, there was a cheesy, empty romance. The story definitely had a “younger” YA tone. And then I get that the villains are Dark, buuuut giving them all dark skin (except for the guy second guessing his cliche evil role) felt like a sketchy choice.

Basically, everything was told so passively to the reader instead of shown that I think I went though the 5 stages of grief with this book: denial that it couldn’t possibly be this flat, anger that something I was SO excited for could be such a letdown, bargaining that maaaaybe if I keep reading it’ll get better, depression that I wasted my whole morning on this disappointing mess, and then the final acceptance that nope… this was just not what I hoped for.


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