BOOK REVIEW: Bright Burns the Night, by Sara B. Larson

Title: Bright Burns the Night
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Dark Breaks the Dawn duology, 2/2
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 29th, 2018

A Swan Lake retelling.

Note: This post reviews the second book of the Dark Breaks the Dawn duology. You may like to read the first book review in the series, Dark Breaks the Dawnbefore reading this review.

It has been ten years since King Lorcan of Dorjhalon trapped Queen Evelayn of Eadrolan in her swan form. Year after year, Lorcan shifts Evelayn back into her human form and offers her the chance to stay human if she will marry him, and year after year she refuses. But with the unbalance of power between the Dark Kingdom and the Light, Evelayn must put aside her prejudices and partner with the man who seemingly destroyed her life.

As Evelayn and Lorcan fight to restore the balance of power to Lachalonia, she learns truths about the past that change her views on almost everything. She finds friendship, love even, in the enemy she used to hate, while seeing others she trusted explicitly for who they really are. But can Evelayn and Lorcan remain on the same side long enough to save both kingdoms from an ancient threat?

I enjoyed this second book of the duology even more than the first! It’s rare that a series gets better, especially with the second book, but Sara B. Larson succeeded in Bright Burns the Night.

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BOOK REVIEW: Dark Breaks the Dawn, by Sara B. Larson

Title: Dark Breaks the Dawn
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Dark Breaks the Dawn duology, 1/2
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 30th, 2017

A Swan Lake origin story.

Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, has come into her full powers after turning eighteen. The timing could not be better, as her kingdom is at war with the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon. With her mother fighting the war at the front lines, Evelayn trains daily and learns how to use her new power. Lord Tanvir helps her train, earning her trust, and eventually her affection.

King Bain of Dorjhalon schemes to take control over both kingdoms, Light and Dark. Responsibility falls on Evelayn to fight the dark king and his sons, Lorcan and Lothar. The fate of her kingdom rests on her shoulders. With the help and support of trusted friends, she faces the dark kingdom. But not everything – or everyone – is as it seems, and Evelayn must face the consequences of her decisions, affecting not only her kingdom, but her very humanity.

It’s not very often that I come across a YA fantasy written as a duology (which just so happens to be my WIP). In addition to that connection, I have not only performed in the ballet Swan Lake, but have assisted in Swan Lake choreography at the Colorado Ballet Society. I’ve read Sara B. Larson’s trilogy Defy and loved it! I enjoyed her duology, but not quite as much as her trilogy.

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BOOK REVIEW: Ogre Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine

Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)


Title: Ogre Enchanted

Author: Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 16th, 2018

Ogre Enchanted is a prequel to Ella Enchanted, written two decades later. Lucinda the fairy, in her terrible judgement (as always), turns Evie, a young healer, into an ogre after turning down a marriage proposal from her best friend, Wormy. Evie only has 62 days to accept a marriage proposal and undo Lucinda’s curse – but will someone fall in love with her in ogre form?

Join Evie as she embarks on a quest to save herself from a terrible fate, experiencing friendship, heartache, and self-discovery along the way. Journey back into this beloved world created by Gail Carson Levine that has all the magic and charm of Ella Enchanted.

I enjoyed this new book by Gail Carson Levine, though I found the beginning to be a little on the slow side. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the rest of her books!

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Once Upon A Dream

Title: Once Upon A Dream: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 2
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: April 5th, 2016

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?

Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Aurora. As the tagline suggests, the twist of this tale is that true love’s kiss did not wake the sleeping beauty. Instead, she remains trapped inside her own dream world – along with her prince.

At first, Aurora has no idea that she is living in a dream world, but instead believes that her aunt Maleficent – now ruling as queen – saved the kingdom from the destruction caused by her careless parents. But when she accidentally stumbles upon Maleficent mid-spell to keep her spirit alive in Aurora’s dreams, she realizes the terrible truth. It is up to her to save herself from the sleeping curse, and she must find a way to do it before everyone runs out of time.

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A Whole New World


Title: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Series: Twisted Tales, 1
Genre: Disney, Fairytale, Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 1st, 2015

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?

This is the first of a new series I will be reviewing, Twisted Tales! Similar to the Villains series I reviewed earlier this year, this series takes beloved stories from classic Disney movies and, yes, twists them into something new and unexpected. This book tells the story of Aladdin. For the first 80 pages, you are reading the story you saw in the movie – up till the point of the lamp’s new master. In this version, Jafar – not Aladdin – becomes the master of the genie. And it’s as bad as you can imagine.

No help escaping the Cave of Wonders, no magic wish to transform into Prince Ali and win the heart of Princess Jasmine – not this time. Aladdin has to do it all without the help of the genie, but with the help of his friends, the Street Rats, and also Jasmine, the princess who is full of surprises. Together, they must take down Jafar and put an end to the terrors he has wrought as the Sultan of Agrabah – while there is still an Agrabah to save.

A Whole New World is one of the better retellings I have read, providing the reader with fun twists while keeping the integrity of the classic tale. This is a must-read for Disney fanatics like myself!

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Tower of Dawn

Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass series, book 6
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 5th, 2017

Note: This post reviews the sixth book of the Throne of Glass series. You may like to read the first five books in the series, Throne of Glass, Crown of MidnightHeir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms before reading this review.

This sixth installment in the Throne of Glass series follows not Aelin, but Chaol Westfall in a journey of his own. After narrowly escaping with his life in the devastating finale of Empire of Storms, Chaol – no longer Captain of the Royal Guard but Hand to the newly crowned King Dorian – travels with Nesryn Faliq – newly appointed Captain of the Royal Guard – to the Southern Continent to the city of Antica, in hopes of gaining aid from the Great Khagan for the war in Erilea. But that is just part of their quest.

Chaol is hopeful of finding someone in the prestigious Torre Cesme who can heal the paralysis in his legs, a result of the wounds he suffered. But the most skilled healer, Yrene Towers, may prove difficult to convince. Having suffered at the hands of Adarlan, she wants nothing to do with this young Hand to the King, even though she has taken an oath to help those in need. Will Chaol find a way to help himself, and the people he cares for in Erilea?

This book was a bit slow for me, and I didn’t get sucked in the way I did with Aelin’s story.

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Happily

Title: Happily
Author: Chauncey Rogers
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, MG, YA
Publisher: self published
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018

No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkin.
Just one grumpy girl and a glass slipper.

Note: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you are a book reviewer, feel free to request a copy of your own in the comments below in exchange for a review. 

Let me begin by saying that I have read my fair share of fairytale retellings, and the timeless tale of Cinderella is no exception. I can honestly say that I have never come across one quite like this. Happily is narrated in modern-day language by the heroine of this story – and it is not Cinderella, as you might have expected, but Laure – a rough-around-the-edges girl who lives on the streets and steals to get by.

When a royal decree announces that the crown prince will marry whichever girl can fit a mysterious glass slipper, Laure sees it as her chance to make something of her lowly life. Even though she thinks the entire royal family is ridiculous and pompous, she decides to do whatever it takes to make that glass slipper fit. She embarks on her quest and teams up with Luc, a boy from her city who becomes an unexpected ally. Their quest takes them to another kingdom and back again, with no small amount of struggle and danger along the way. Though they were bent on disliking each other from the beginning, they reluctantly begin to form a friendship, possibly even something more. Will Laure make a decision to follow her head, or ultimately follow her heart, no matter the risk? And what about Cinderella anyway?

This was fun spin-off of a classic, well-loved tale. I would recommend Happily to YA fans of fairytale retellings (such as myself). Just be ready for a quirkier version than what you have seen before, with sass to spare.

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