Title: Defy the Night
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Pub. Date: September 14, 2021
Pub: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: YA SFF Romance
From New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer comes a blockbuster 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.
Set in a richly imaginative world with striking similarities to our own, Brigid Kemmerer’s captivating new series is about those with power and those without . . . and what happens when someone is brave enough to imagine a new future.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to Brigid for gifting me an ARC! And thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for providing a digital eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love everything she writes and puts out, and this book is absolutely no exception. The way I fell into this book, wholly and completely.
I inhaled it.
The first 100 pages leaves you reeling.
Ask Brigid. I hit roughly that 100 page mark and I was madly texting her emotional reactions. Because omfg. Y’all aren’t ready.
She told me “don’t throw it” in regards to my reaction – talking about the book. Because y’all, its throw your book worthy in like, the best way possible.
You instantly fall in love with Wes and Tessa. You can’t not. It’s impossible. From the moment they hit the page, I knew I would be sunk.
Then you also have Corrick, Quint and Harristan and you end up loving them as well. Quint is truly going to be a favorite and I might be putting him in a basket with Tycho as Characters To Protect At All Costs. The boys need a friend, and Quint is that person. Nothing can happen to him. Okay Brigid? Leave Quint alone. Please.
Then Brigid does a thing that she does so well, and what the fuck was I supposed to do next?
I mean, continue reading obviously.
So, I did, and then I was screaming.
Screaming in real life and screaming at Brigid through texts.
I kind of had a suspicion about something pretty early on, and the Brigid does a thing and I figured my suspicion was DOA. Only for it to be right, and that was a whole other freak out. Honestly, the first 100 pages are so good, so wild, and seriously draw you in.
Moving on from those first 100ish pages – the rest of the book is amazing. The relationship between Corrick and Harriastan – the background surrounding them. The pressure they both feel…
You end up just wanting to give them both hugs.
As for the tension and chemistry between Tessa and Corrick – well, you’re just going to have to read the book to find out. I’ll say that I thoroughly enjoyed it – enjoyed the two of them. Their dynamic is so good, and Brigid leaves you wanting for nothing. Just know I spent the majority of the book wanting to reach in and hug Corrick. That poor boy… the weights on his shoulders.
The plot immediately hooks you. From Tessa and Wes brewing plague remedies for those who can’t afford it, to the political machinations of those in power, the struggle of two young brothers ruling a kingdom post tragedy…Brigid enthralls and captivates. It’s the age-old tension of the Haves and Have Nots and Brigid creates something that is wholly new, but familiar.
There are a fair number of characters that you want to protect at all costs and others that can and should go kick a bag of rocks and do everyone a favor by deep diving into a hole.
Overall, the world was captivating and alive. Everything was so vivid, and I had no problems picturing what was happening. The plot keeps you hooked and guessing. And the last 100 or so pages is so intense and packed full of action. They left me with my mind blown. I know I say this after every Brigid Kemmerer book I read, but this might just be my favorite yet. Brigid transports us to a whole new world with characters that once again tug at your heart and your feelings. It was a fantastic read and ya’ll are going to love it.