Book Review: ‘Defy the Night’

Defy the Night” by Brigid Kemmerer

Source: Bloomsbury in exchange for honest review

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy


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

Once again, Kemmerer knocks it out of the park. Much like my beloved A Curse So Dark And Lonely, Defy the Night manages to nail all the great parts of a non-magic fantasy book (in my opinion).

  • We have political turmoil.
  • We have characters bound by what life has dealt them.
  • We have characters wanting to do the right thing but there’s no right way to do that for everyone.
  • We have rebellion in the distance and everyone is right (but also wrong).
  • We have a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
  • We have surprising twists.

Seriously though, the plot? AMAZING. I was an anxious bundle of nerves seeing how things play out. I never wanted to put the book down. I always love when a book is able to show many sides of a problem and make you care about all the different sides/angles of it. Life is rarely ever cut-and-dry or black-and-white. Why on earth should a book be? Kemmerer manages to nail those nuances of problems and make you as a reader feel like your hands are tied as well.

The characters were absolutely fabulous. Tessa reminds me so much of Harper from ACSDAL. They’re strong willed. Willing to fight for what’s right even when it’s terrifying. Willing to give everything even though it’s still not enough.

It’s hard to discuss too much without giving away the goods. Please just go into this and enjoy the ride.

Basically if you love politics in your YA fantasy, you’re going to love Defy The Night.

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