Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
Defy the Night Book Cover Defy the Night
Brigid Kemmerer
YA Fantasy Romance
Bloomsbury YA
September 14, 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.

Mind Your Mettle

I was fresh off gushing about “A Curse so Dark and Lonely” when our Queen Bee surprised me with the opportunity to read the newest upcoming release by Brigid Kemmerer “Defy the Night.” There was not one thing that would have kept me from devouring it as quickly as possible!

Set in times maybe the tiniest reminiscent of current events there is a mysterious sickness ravaging the land.  The main ingredient in the treatment is scarce and people are dying.  Our main character Tessa and her partner Wes work to steal the much-needed miracle ingredient to brew medicine to distribute to those who are not lucky enough to receive doses provided by the King.  They must do so in the middle of the night while avoiding the King’s patrol, or risk meeting a fate similar to Tessa’s parents, Death.  After a disastrous night where all their carefully laid plans go wrong Tessa must make a last-ditch effort to get into the palace to continue her work.  It is then she is captured by the ruthless King’s Justice (and brother) Prince Corrick, who is known for showing no mercy to those seen to be working against the crown.  When she is not immediately punished she discovers that everything she knew was nothing at all.  She must continue her work in a different way, and with unexpected help.  In a twist I was not expecting we are also given Prince Corrick’s POV which allows us to see the inner workings of royals who were given power far too young and are struggling to maintain peace while doing what they can for their people who desperately need answers.

What I have learned after now reading two of Brigid Kemmerer’s books is that she has absolutely perfected the ability to create meaningful relationships in just a few pages.  I was invested in Tessa and Wes’ connection almost immediately and when things went awry my heart broke as if I had been with them through an entire series instead of mere chapters.  And though the romance in her books is noteworthy, she was also able to show the multi-faceted relationship between Prince Corrick and King Harriston.  The brotherly love they share for each other is unshakeable, but they are not only family they are King and King’s justice, and as such there are obstacles that most never face.  The strain is real and secrets are necessary, but they are always revealed in time. 

While I have seen that Defy the Night was not based on Robin Hood, this was a captivating take on rob the rich to help the poor.  Tessa was a heroine that despite tragedy is able to find the strength to keep going for a cause she believes in.  And Prince Corrick is cast as the evil dictator, that has more to him than even he realizes.  If you want a fantasy novel that is full of heart, will make you cry and then put you back together I highly recommend Defy the Night!