Book Review: Defend the Dawn (Defy the Night #2)

Title: Defend the Dawn

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Pub. Date: September 13, 2022

Pages: 496

Pub: Bloomsbury Children’s

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


To save their kingdom, they must embark on a dangerous journey…

The kingdom of Kandala narrowly avoided catastrophe, but the embers of revolution still simmer. While King Harristan seeks a new way to lead, Tessa and Prince Corrick attempt to foster unity between rebels and royals.

But the consuls who control the Moonflower will not back down, and Corrick realizes he must find a new source for the lifesaving Elixir.

When an emissary from the neighboring kingdom of Ostriary arrives with an intriguing offer, Tessa and Corrick set out on an uncertain journey as they attempt to mend their own fractured relationship.

This could be their only chance to keep the peace and bring relief to the people of Kandala, but danger strikes during the journey to Ostriary, and no one is who they seemed to be. . .

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This book was just as good, if not better than Defy the Night. I was up until 2:30AM reading because I could not put it down. If you’re interested, you can check out my review for Defy the Night and hopefully it convinces you to read it.

I knew this book was going to be good. I don’t think Kemmerer has ever let me down with a book, so my expectations were high, but I knew they’d be met. That being said, I read this after reading a very phenomenal (in my opinion book) and I was a little fearful it would fall a bit flat comparatively. I wasn’t sure if it the previous book was going to color my enjoyment or not.

Well, the fact that I literally couldn’t put this book down, staying up way too late to finish it means my concerns were bogus.

This has been one of my most anticipated reads for about a year, and I’m thrilled to say that overall, it really doesn’t disappoint.

I did have one expectation that wasn’t met in the way that I was anticipating. It was more subtle, but way more overt than it was in Defy the Night. I didn’t even pick up on this thing in Defy, but having listened to the author talk about it, I kind of expected it to be way more obvious. The same thing happened in her last release Forging Silver Into Stars – there was a scene that was “if you know, you know” but having talked about the scene with her and some other friends, I was expecting something a tiny bit more explicit.

I definitely enjoyed being back in Kandala with this group of characters – I missed them. It had been over a year since I’d read Defy the Night. It didn’t really take me anytime to remember what had happened, it all came back pretty easily – so if that’s a concern, don’t be too bothered. Things are changing in Kandala, and are just as dire. Tensions are high and feelings are starting to boil over. Tessa, Corrick and Harristan are stuck dealing with angry nobles and councilmen, change has come to crashing halt as those in power scramble to stay in power.

The last thing they expect is a visitor from a land not easily reached, with a story that’s hard to believe. And they might be the solution to their plague problem.

Now, I should have known better. I knew that this book was going to contain seafaring pirates, captains and ships out in the open water – I’ve been waiting and dying for this for a year, and I knew the author was doing research into pirate ships and everything that goes hand in hand. So I should have known that she’d create a seafaring captain that would steal my heart.

Rian did.

Oh my god, he did.

Now, I have a weakness for Captains – they’re just so…enticing. And here comes this swashbuckling, gorgeous man, that leaves Tessa with a breathless “oh”. It took like no time for me to fall in love with this man.

Sorry, Corrick. I can’t help it.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I still absolutely love Corrick, and his journey in this book is so good. The way he’s got to learn and figure out how to not just be the King’s Justice, and how to navigate these new relationships and feelings he has. He has to come to terms with that the change he could make as Wes outside the law, isn’t going to be the same as he can a Corrick. And honestly, seeing the jealous side of him was kind of fun. For how uncertain and awkward he and Tessa are around each other, it’s so obvious how they actually feel about each other.

And Tessa – she was a badass in the first book, but in this one? She really branches out, starts to figure out what she wants and stands up for herself, figuring out what she’s worth.

It kind of leaves Corrick fumbling, but I enjoyed it.

I also loved the softer side of Corrick that comes out in this book – but you’re just gonna have to read it to find out. I loved that it helped to start redefining who he is in his mind.

A lot happens with a bunch of characters in this book, relationships change and expand, a lot of truth’s come to light and things just don’t stop. So much happens, so much is revealed. There are events that happen towards the end of the book that leave you on the edge of your seat and desperate to know what happens next. There’s a new POV and when that reveal comes about – I definitely wasn’t expecting it, and I loved it. I loved what it meant and why the character did it.

Then there’s this moment towards the end, that had me wanting to actually howl (but it was like, 2:15AM and I wasn’t going to be liable for waking up a houseful of people). It definitely nearly wrecked me – so have fun with that. Kemmerer set the stage and she delivered – and I was nearly texting her at 2:30AM screaming.

Like with any Brigid Kemmerer book, I’m left desperate for the next one. I know she’s currently working on Forging Silver into Stars #2 – but I desperately need the third book to the Defy the Night series – especially after the way this book ends. I need more, and selfishly – I need it now.

I definitely recommend picking this book up when it comes out next month – we’re a little under a month out from its release. If you’ve pre-ordered a copy, make sure you submit to the preorder campaign – here. And if you want to pre-order a signed and/or personalized copy, make sure you check out Park Books & LitCoLab. They’re Brigid Kemmerer’s local Indie Bookstore, and they ship internationally!

They have a whole tab, dedicated to her and her books and I know she’s happy to sign any orders! You can check that out here.

And as a last little thing – if you’re local (or localish) to the DMV area (or willing to drive) make sure you check out the first stop on Brigid Kemmerer’s Defend the Dawn Tour – Park Books will be hosting it, and Brigid will be signing and talking about books alongside author Stephanie Garber! It’s going to be a fantastic event, and I urge you to buy a ticket and come! They’re both signing and talking about their books! You can check out that link here – and purchase a ticket if you’re so inclined!

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