Dark Breaks the Dawn – Sara B. Larson

   Dark Breaks the Dawn – Sara B. Larson, Scholastic Press, 9781338068696, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? This takes the Swan Lake suite by Tchaikovsky and turns it into a Fantasy realm of magic and warfare. 18-year-old princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, is about to come into the Light powers she has been waiting for all her life.  Her mother is at the war front in the battles against the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon.  The character of Evelayn grows from child to struggling adult quickly and her mental battles as she deals with grief and being thrust into huge responsibilities and attempt to control her powers feels real and is a powerful hook.  We also have a love story blooming as the princess finds herself falling for the newly arrived Lord Tarvin. The writing is solid so if you can ride through the few oddly-paced sections this magic-light romance could be a fun romp for you.

Anything you didn’t like about it? If you don’t know the song’s story you may be a bit shocked by some of the ending’s twist but if you ARE familiar with the suite’s meaning then you’ll probably be a bit bored. So maybe don’t read the wikipedia article about the song first!  Even without pre-knowledge going into the book there are spots where the pacing is a bit sluggish as the story tries to flip between “I’m a YA romance!” and “I’m a serious book on warring kingdoms and fantasy magic struggles!”  The first book of a duology, this reads in many places like an over-long prequel chapter to the main focus of the story so  you may spend much of the book wondering when the real story will begin. The plot thread of Lord Tanvir and the quick-fire romance that blooms between the two often pushes the more interesting plot to the side, taking up space that would have been better spent developing other characters (particularly those in the Dark Kingdom.  Even up to the end it was incredibly difficult to tell the difference between King Bain’s two sons: Lorcan and Lothan)

To whom would you recommend this book?  This sort-of Fairy Tale retelling could appeal to readers of Throne of Glass for the larger magical world-building or to fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses for the romance-focus.

Who should buy this book? Public Libraries

Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: April Duclos, Hudson Public Library, Hudson MA

Date of review: 6/21/17

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