Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer – REVIEW
A spark of rebellion is all it takes to DEFY THE NIGHT.
In a kingdom where sickness stalks the streets and only the richest can afford a cure, King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist.
Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw marked for death, but she likes it that way. Together with the mysterious, handsome Weston, she robs from the rich to help the poor, distributing food and medicine to those who need it most.
As it becomes clear that the only way to save her people is to assassinate the King, Tessa must face a deadly mission that will take her to the dark heart of the kingdom . and force her to work with the very people she intended to destroy.
From New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer comes a brand-new blockbuster fantasy series about a corrupt kingdom, a star-crossed romance and a girl who will do anything for justice.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bloomsbury YA.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Because despite all outward appearances, I’m not cruel. I don’t delight in pain. I don’t delight in any of this.”
I loved the ACSDAL trilogy so was excited to read the author’s newest book, Defy the Night. I’m pleased to say that it definitely did not disappoint and, in many ways, is even better than ACSDAL. This felt like a more mature book with its thoughtful exploration of power and duty. Inspired by Robin Hood, we meet two outlaws who steal from the rich to give to the poor in a country where a fatal disease can only be cured by the rare Moonflower which is hoarded by the wealthy.
“My soul burns with a promise that things will get better. That they have to get better.”
The characters were well fleshed out and felt fully rounded. Tessa was an endearing main character and I loved her skills as an apothecary and her courage to do what is right. I’m sure many readers will be fangirling over the morally grey Prince Corrick and I think his character development was rewarding and authentic. I especially enjoyed the bond he had with his brother. King Harriston was a character I grew to like and empathise with, although Quint was probably my favourite person in the whole book.
“A spark of rebellion is all it takes to defy the night.”
The book is permeated by political intrigue and courtly politics. The wealthy hoard Moonflower petals and the poor are left to die. Consul Allister holds a huge amount of power due to the Moonflowers growing on his land. Manipulative, greedy and callous, Allister is the antagonist of the book and a symbol of everything that is wrong with capitalism. Unrest is growing outside the palace and soon rebellion is in the air. What I appreciated most about this story was the complexity of the characters and their motivations. There is no black and white or right and wrong, and we see these characters struggling with that knowledge.
“The problem is that we all have different ideas of what’s right.”
The detailed world-building felt even richer than that of ACSDAL and that might have been because it seemed more original. It’s quite a lengthy book but it doesn’t feel long when you’re reading it. Instead, the action sweeps the reader along and keeps them turning the pages. I was a bit surprised to learn this was a trilogy as it felt more like the first book in a duology to me so I only hope we do not have too many unnecessary misunderstandings and falling-outs in the second book simply to propel the plot along. If you’re looking for a rewarding fantasy romance then this is the book for you.