Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday #Review - Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Untitled # 1
Format: E-Galley, 320 pages
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy & Magic

In the first book of a remarkable duology, Sara B. Larson sets the stage for her reimagining of Swan Lake -- a lush romance packed with betrayal, intrigue, magic, and adventure.

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 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 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.

Dark Breaks the Dawn is the first book in Sara B. Larson's Dark Breaks the Dawn duology. Larson is also the author of the Defy trilogy which I have started, but not yet finished. Working on it! The story begins on the morning of Crown Princess Evelayn of Éadrolan's (The Light Kingdom) 18th birthday. It is supposed to be the day when Evelayn gains access to her powers which have, until now, been bound, and her mother returns home from the war from as she promised. Evelayn is also supposed to have the ability to shift into a swan now that she has her full compliment of powers. 

Éadrolan has been at war with the neighboring Dorjhalon (The Dark Kingdom) for 10 years. There is really no real end in sight. Plenty have lost their lives to this brutal and terrible war, including Evelayn's fatherKing Bain of Dorjhalon has plans for Éadrolan, and those plans mean removing the only two royals left in the Light Kingdom; Queen Ilana, and her only daughter Evelayn. In this world, only a royal can kill another royal. The King and Queen are the magical conduits for their respective lands. 

Were one to fall, then the magic shifts away until the heir is able to collect it. In this world, those with magic are either Light or Dark Draíolon. Light can manipulate and summon heat, sunshine, and light, while Dark can manipulate cold, shadow, and darkness. After a shocking loss to someone who has shown no weakness whatsoever, Evelayn is forced to claim the mantle of the Queen of Éadrolan. Something that shouldn't have happened for years to come. 

Evelayn's struggles are real, her obstacles that she goes through in order to keep her people safe, and out of Bain's hands, are admirable. What's even more interesting, is her relationship with Lord Tanvir who has the ability to control and direct water. Tanvir is a key player in this story. He knows that being with Evelayn means being with someone who is head strong, strong willed, and more than capable of making choices without her advisers breathing down her neck all the time. In many ways, she is the one who has been born to pick up Ilana's mantle, and enhance on it.

Yes, there is another side to this story besides Evelayn's. For that, we are taken to the brutal Kingdom of Dorjhalon 
where political gamesmanship is being played right in front of our eyes. The key players are Lorcan, Lothar, and Queen Abarrane, as well as King Bain, of course. Larson weaves her story through several characters in this story, which is why it is important not to ignore the Dorjhalon just because they are the villains.

What happens later on in this story can not go unnoticed, not even if you are all in on the romance between Evelayn and Tanvir. Many jaw dropping moments happen in this book, and I dare say that this story ends on a whopper of a cliffhanger. Thankfully, this is only a duology, which means that all resolutions should happen in the next story. Right? 

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