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.
Defy the Night was a wild ride from start to finish, and I absolutely loved every second of it! I didn’t expect to enjoy it even more than Brigid Kemmerer’s beloved Cursebreakers series, but somehow, I did! It seems to me that Kemmerer’s writing gets better and better with every book she publishes.
This story has so many strengths… For starters, the world-building. The dark, dangerous atmosphere of the book pulled me in right away. Immediately, I was thrust into Kandala, a kingdom suffering at the hands of a disastrous plague, with citizens divided by desperation and distrust. Tension practically leaked from the pages of the book, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat. I loved how Brigid Kemmerer truly dug deep into the politics of Kandala, giving us a fleshed out political landscape that added so much complexity to the story. As I learned more about the political warfare within Kandala, I got to see every single side of the conflict, making it impossible to decide who to root for. I just love it when an author crafts a world with so many different dimensions and dynamics that we readers can’t help but feel torn!
Another thing I loved about Defy the Night was the incredible cast of characters! The story focuses on our two protagonists, Tessa and Corrick, who happen to be our alternating narrators as well. Coming into this book, I was worried that I would enjoy reading from one character’s perspective more than the other’s, because that problem is all too common when it comes to stories told in dual POV. But thankfully, Tessa and Corrick’s perspectives were equally captivating! Tessa’s compassion, bravery, and selflessness resulted in me instantly falling in love with her character, and Corrick… Don’t even get me started on Corrick! Long story short: He’s now one of my favorite male characters. As the King’s Justice, Corrick is expected to be cruel, cold, and brutal, but his desire to be a truly good leader leaves him torn between duty to his brother, the King, and compassion for his people, who are desperately seeking protection against the vicious plague. Corrick’s conflicting loyalties make him a truly layer character, and I still can’t get over how well developed he is. His thoughts and emotions were expressed so vividly, and he felt so realistic to me that by the end of the book, I completely forgot he was fictional!
I enjoyed reading about many of the supporting characters in this novel as well. King Harristan, for example, was one that immediately stood out to me. Initially, it’s easy to write Harristan off as a selfish, privileged tyrant, but as you learn more about him and why he makes seemingly cruel decisions, you realize that it’s not that simple. All of the characters in this book have motives behind their actions, and getting to see those motives unveiled was definitely the highlight of the book for me.
Overall, I had such a great time reading Defy the Night. It’s one of those rare, magical books that completely removes you from reality and makes you forget you’re just reading words on paper. The world and characters are so very vibrant, and I can’t wait to see more of them in book two!
Speaking of which, I’ll be going into hibernation until the sequel comes out… How am I expected to wait OVER A YEAR to find out what happens next??? WAKE ME UP IN 2022, Y’ALL!!!