Goodreads: Dark Breaks the Dawn
Series: Untitled #1
Source: City Book Review
Published: May 30, 2017
The forces of Dark and Light must remain in balance on the island of Lachalonia, or the consequences could be dire. Dark King Bain has no qualms, however, and is bent on extinguishing the royal family who bears the power of the Light. When he succeeds in killing Princess Evelayn’s mother, she becomes responsible for the fate of her people much sooner than she had planned, and she will have to take great risks to keep her kingdom safe.
My feelings about Dark Breaks the Dawn are complicated. Reading it now, as an adult, I find parts of it cliché and almost absurd—yet I can’t help thinking that if had read this book in middle school, I would have thought those “absurd” parts fabulous. But, then again, I would have found them fabulous partly because they’re things I might have written about myself in middle school…but I think that I’ve learned better by now. I guess my main conclusion can only be that I personally thought Dark Breaks the Dawn fairly flawed, but there’s probably a younger audience out there just waiting to gobble it up.
Some of these clichés include people with rainbow colored hair, people who have jewels literally embedded in their bodies that give them magic, and a royal family that is all-powerful simply because they are royal (divine right of kings or something, I guess). None of these things are inherently bad; they just lack some of the subtlety or nuance that I think can be found in a lot of today’s YA fantasy. And, as I said, in seventh grade I probably would have thought a character with purple hair and a magic jewel in her chest was the coolest thing ever, so maybe it’s all a matter of perspective.
I think the more objective flaw is the book’s pacing. There’s instalove, to start, which makes it difficult for readers to feel invested in the romance. Protagonist Evelayn also solves many of her problems with extraordinary ease. This mean that things that are hyped up as big, dangerous, impossible events by the characters do not come across that way to the reader. Instead of feeling that Evelyan was performing epic feats, doing things that no one had ever dared to do before, I got the impression that was she accomplished was hardly difficult at all. I wish scenes had been more drawn out and built more suspense.
Otherwise, however, Dark Breaks the Dawn is pretty solid fantasy. There’s a clear battle of good vs. evil, plus a badass princess, and a decent amount of plotting and intrigue. There’s supposed to be some Swan Princess influence, but that only comes in at the end of the novel and looks as though it will be more of a focus on the sequel. The book isn’t really for me, but I could imagine other people liking it.