A couple months ago I ordered a box from “Now in Books” and received a beautiful hardcover of Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer. Last year, I read Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreakers series and loved it, so I was very excited to read this one. (You can read my review here of that series). I decided to read Defy the Night this month to fulfill my reading prompt of “a different book by an author you read in 2021.”
In Defy the Night, Tessa Cade lives as an apothecary in the Wilds of Kandala, trying to help people that are dying from the mysterious fevers ravaging the country by stealing and distributing medicine. Meanwhile, Prince Corrick, the King’s Justice, must execute those who catches stealing while trying to save his people. When the two come face to face, they might destroy each other unless they can work together to save the kingdom.
This was a brilliant YA fantasy and Robin Hood retelling, and I’ve even noticed some similarities between this and the Cursebreakers series. Kemmerer seems to be keen on writing about political intrigue and the misconceptions commoners have of the royals and vice versa. As always, I love watching the characters face the realization that their assumptions weren’t quite right.
There was so much in this book that I loved. I loved the action of Tessa being the outlaw that helped people, of Corrick having to execute prisoners, of mobs attacking mobs. I loved the budding romance and flirtation. I loved facing the dilemmas: the commoners want medicine but there is no medicine to give. I barely took breaks reading this–it had me so enraptured in its pages. There were plot twists I didn’t see coming at all–even the anticlimactic ones that funnily, made sense. It was another five star read for me!
Though I want to encourage everyone to read this, not everyone may be in the right place to. The main trigger warning is that the book’s plot deals with an epidemic, and though this was written before COVID-19, coming out of the pandemic, there may be some who aren’t ready to read about sicknesses. Some other trigger warnings are: mentions of SA (off-page), death of parents, hangings, fire, torture.
The sequel, Defend the Dawn, will be out this September and I cannot wait. Especially for more of Quint, my favorite non-main character.
Check out the book trailer here!