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Book Review: Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Book Review: Defy the Night by Brigid KemmererDefy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Defy the Night #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on 14 September 2021
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 496
Format: ARC eBook
Source: Edelweiss+

Summary: A fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first. 

my review

*I received this book as an e-ARC via my job as a Librarian. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

I have to start with this review, by saying I’ve been a long-time Brigid Kemmerer fan. My first experience was reading Storm from her elemental series and I haven’t looked back since. I haven’t read all of her books, but have read most of them and have loved each one that I’ve read. Defy the Night did not disappoint.

When I first began the novel, I have to admit, I did struggle a bit. I loved the world Kemmerer created and the premise of the story, but something kept me from picking it up each time I put it down. Maybe it was just that the storyline mirrored a little too close to reality then I liked.

I know this novel was written before the pandemic hit but reading it during the pandemic definitely changes a reader’s reaction to the story — it definitely did to me. What Kandala is going through was palatable to me – the desperation, the deaths … the greed — it hit a little too close for home which is why I think it took me so long to finally finish it. Right now I just want fluffy escapism and this isn’t it lol but it was a strong, attention-pulling novel that in any other times would’ve been an all-nighter read for me.

Still, when I finally did pick it up again, I devoured it in one sitting. The pace had picked up as had my interest in the story.

I loved the world building, the political intrigue, the romance without it being the full storyline & the frankness (or maybe maturity) of the situation happening in this world.

In the beginning, as I mentioned above, the pacing was a bit off for me. It was face-paced in the beginning, slow in the middle and then face-paced again towards the 60% mark. Still I really did end up loving this story.

It’s been a spell since I read a Kemmerer book but I’m so glad I got to experience this one even though it took me so long to read it. I’m excited to see where the story goes next and how the plot will thicken, deepen and resolve.

In the end, I have to say I’m probably biased a bit but I don’t really care. I grew up wanting to either be Robin Hood or Zorro and this book reminded me of that so much and so honestly it was an insta-love.

If you like adventure, love, political intrigue, a not-so-perfect hero or heroine or world then pick this one up!

five stars

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts below or any other recommendations you have!

Happy Readings!

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