Inspired by a retelling of an origin story, or my review of Dark Breaks the Dawn

dark breaks the dawn

Dark Breaks the Dawn

By: Sara B Larson

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: May 30th, 2017

Format: ARC

After a thousand years of peace, the battle between Light and Dark has resumed.

On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Éadrolan, 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 into 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 shape-shift, and rely on the alluring, but mysterious Lord Tanvir. Not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

I don’t know really what to call this. A retelling of Swan Lake? Inspired by? An origin story? Who knows. There is the dark and the light and the princess turning into a swan and the love interest who is rather… passive.


First of all, the world is confusing. There is the light and dark, the dark of course being the enemy, and an imbalance between the two (despite the fact that the world would thrive if they were in balance). The motives of Bain to instigate a war were vague, other than a power grab, and there were no factors that justified his actions. In addition, the tactic he uses to cross the border with his troops seems like something easily prevented.


There was also an odd concept of how the Draiolon lived. They supposedly last for centuries and can run fast. But compared to what? There were no humans spoken of, except in vague references that their island home affects the rest of their world (and if this is our world, there is no hint as to where the Draiolon island would fit in), so there really isn’t anything to compare how fast or how old they are to. This was just a sticking point for me as Evelayn is constantly told that she faster than the already fast Draiolon.


The perspectives in the book were also confusing. There are several characters that the point of view jumps between, and the transitions were not quite smooth. I admit that seeing the political actions on both sides was important, and that some things were observed by other characters that Evelayn missed, but the flow was choppy and clunky. Also, I wish that I could have enjoyed being in at least one of these extra characters head’s, but each character was either bland or unlikeable.

I think what most upset me about Dark Breaks the Dawn is that after reading the Defy series I expected much more. There was hardly any meat to this book, the romance was underwhelming and lacked any swoons, and I think it would have gone over better if I wasn’t trying to pin down the similarities between the story and the source material.

Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

%d bloggers like this: