Defy the Night
– Brigid Kemmerer –
Published 14 September 2021
Okay, so Brigid Kemmerer is one of my all time favourite authors so it is completely unsurprising that I loved Defy The Night. Maybe not as much as I adore The Curse So Dark and Lonely, but that’s a pretty high standard of adoration to live up to and Defy The Night does not disappoint in any way – it’s just extremely stressful.
Tessa risks everything every night, sneaking into the Royal Sector to steal Moonflowers to make the only medicine that will keep the deadly illness at bay. In the Wilds there is never enough medicine or coins to go around but she and Wes, a fellow outlaw, do what they can. In the palace, Prince Corrick does what he can to keep his brother, the king, safe and barter for enough moonflowers. But being the King’s Justice is a bloody and endless job and it seems even his best efforts may not be enough to prevent a rebellion.
I do love retellings and Defy the Night draws loosely on Robin Hood. It’s a Brigid Kemmerer book, so there is no questioning the amazing writing and scintillating romance. I adore Brigid’s writing. She is able to so quickly capture my attention and draw me into the story. Duel perspectives and chapter’s that switch between Corrick and Tessa give the reader insight into the two very different worlds they come from.
Oh Corrick. Dear, broken hearted, sweet and deadly Corrick. What a fine and so very flawed character you make. I think Brigid is setting a bit of a trend with her main characters who we love but who do some very bad things (cough, Rhen, cough cough.). So, if you like genuinely nice girls falling for guys who have had to do some terrible things and help them see past that to the nice guys hiding within, then you’ll enjoy Defy The Night.
The romance was a surprise and takes an interesting journey. Hard to say much without spoiling the surprise, but I loved how complicated and conflicted the romance is and how hard it is for Tessa, and yet how strong she is to stand up for both what she knows is right but to also find understanding and compassion. Some might say she is weak for falling for such a guy, but only see her strength in balancing what needs to be done with kindness.
I thought I knew what the twist would be fairly early in and then I talked myself out of it, so I was surprised when the reveal is made. Can I also say, that I love how soon in the story this twist is revealed, as it makes it more believable and so much more fun knowing the truth.
I think it’s important to mention that Brigid says in her author’s note that this book, about a deadly illness, was conceived before Corona Virus hit the world. It was edited during lockdowns, so there have been some changes, but I think it comes across as a very relatable experience, without it being too similar.
This is the first book in a new series which promises to be just as thrilling and agonising as Kemmerer’s other fantasy series. Can’t wait for the next book.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Illness, death, royalty, medicine, legends, retellings, Robin Hood, outlaws, theft,
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Violence, fortune, dead, hanging, executions, corpses, illness, death of young children, vague regencies to the threat of rape.
Published: 14 September 2021 by Bloomsbury YA
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 496 pages.