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I’m going to jump right in by saying Defy the Night was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. So obviously, I was nervous…
I absolutely adored A Curse So Dark and Lonely, so I was totally worried this wouldn’t live up to my own hype.
Except I was completely wrong (as usual!). It took me about 2 days to finish and is now one of my favourite reads of the whole year!
“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.”
Reader, I died many times while reading this. I was perpetually caught between not being able to put it down and having to slam it closed because I couldn’t deal with all the feels.
As usual, Brigid Kemmerer produced the most dazzling prose and totally gripping plotline. I never felt pulled out of the story and the fantasy worldbuilding never got boring or difficult to remember.
The storyline of Defy the Night is a recognisable one. Our main character is Tessa, a rebel girl who’s parents died when she was younger, fighting to continue their work by smuggling the cure to a deadly illness to the poor. And then we have Prince Corrick (brother of the king following the assassination of their parents), the heartless King’s Justice. Now throw in misunderstanding, deception, love and betrayal and you have a whole load of emotions smushed into one beautiful and heartbreaking book.
I often find with fantasy books that it’s pretty difficult to follow the plot, but I don’t mind as long as the characters are engaging (and there’s some romance!). But this book had both!
Not only did I adore almost every character (we’ll come to that later), I had no problem following the plot at all. The pacing was so nicely done; it never got too slow but there was also time to cool down between major action moments.
Defy the Night had a traditional fantasy setting (in a kingdom that is struggling with a deadly disease) but the worldbuilding never felt too in my face.
I really love fantasy elements in books , but I’m always here for the characters so I appreciated that the world was crafted throughout, instead of crammed into the first few pages.
And the atmosphere was magical! I felt completely entranced by every word and I never fell out of the setting.
Tessa has become my new favourite main character! Despite losing her parents, she was so witty, so sharp, completely developed and completely human. She was just so fun to read from and I didn’t want to leave her perspective for one minute!
Well… I didn’t mind leaving too much when it switched to Corrick. Her development didn’t come at all at the expense of his, and I connected with his character so well. I love a complicated, cruel character who isn’t actually cruel at all and in fact, is sorta completely broken inside.
I absolutely adore an enemies to lovers plot but I DIED FOR friends to enemies to lovers. The angst!! This relationship broke me then put me back together again with sweet and witty dialogue then broke me again. I had to put the book down to just be in my feels so many times. If you like enemies to lovers (or even just romance in general), you cannot miss it!.
I adored A Curse so Dark and Lonely so much that I was a little worried this would disappoint. In fact, it completely topped it. I felt whispers of the characters I loved so much in ACSDAL (but equally, these characters had complete and individual personalities) and her writing style throughout was so recognisable and vivid.