Title: Defy the Night (Defy the Night #1)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication date: September 14th, 2021
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.
I love love love this book and immediately need the sequel. I need to know what happens next with these characters that I love so much! Prince Corrick has a reputation for being ruthless and violent as the King’s Justice, and is tasked with keeping the peace as a virus rages through the kingdom and the plant that cures the virus grows exclusively in two areas and everyone has to pay out the nose for the plants. Tessa is a Robin Hood-esque character, stealing the plants to give to those who can’t afford to purchase them.
I almost immediately spied the big “twist” of the book and I’m okay with that because it’s what I wanted to happen! I don’t need there to be huge surprises, sometimes I love to pat myself on the back on catching it early and being right. But, I loved this book for the world-building, characters, plot, and pacing. Everything was exactly how I like it. There was a touch of romance without it being overkill & taking over the plot. I wanted to give all of the main characters a hug by the end.
In a world currently devastated with a virus, there is a level where this read hits a bit close to home. It is by no means an exact comparison and I don’t believe it was even intentional based on the author’s interviews, but if that sounds triggering to you – might be one to skip. Otherwise, I highly recommend picking this one up for young adult fantasy lovers.
Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!