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Defy the Night

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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.

448 pages, ebook

First published September 14, 2021

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About the author

Brigid Kemmerer

30 books14k followers
Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of dark and alluring Young Adult novels like A Curse So Dark and Lonely, More Than We Can Tell, and Letters to the Lost (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA stories like The Elemental Series and Thicker Than Water (Kensington). A full time writer, Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband, her boys, her dog, and her cat. When she’s not writing or being a mommy, you can usually find her with her hands wrapped around a barbell.

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5 stars
12,459 (41%)
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3 stars
4,155 (13%)
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180 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,017 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,477 reviews29.7k followers
October 24, 2022
ughhh. i am obsessed with this. but after how BKs cursebreakers series turned out, i dont quite trust her and im going to be beyond upset if she ends up ruining this series, too. but i want to try to remain optimistic for right now.

because this is such a great first book and i love how some of the content felt more mature than what i am used to with BKs writing. it suits the characters ages and the overall situation that is filled with death and illness, political mistrust and desperation.

in the acknowledgements, BK cites robin hood and zorro as the inspiration for her characters and i totally see that. i think the story does a great job at presenting all sides of the situation in a grey light, showing that not everyone is completely good or completely evil, that everyone is just trying to do what they think it right, even though that means different methods. its great complex characterisation for those in the kingdom and the rebels outside of it.

again, this is a really amazing start to a series. wonderful characters, an engaging plot, and fast pacing had me falling in love with this. so BK better have learned from her mistakes and not screw this up. lol.

5 stars
Profile Image for Bhavya .
476 reviews819 followers
June 5, 2022
Here is my Spotify Book Playlist!

“I think that very few people truly deserve what they get, Tessa.” He pauses, and for the briefest moment, sadness flickers through his eyes. “For good or for bad.”

~ Rating- 3.5 stars ~

Note- 22/9/21- After some thinking I am lowering my rating from 5 stars to 3.5 stars. I still really enjoyed the book but I didn't completely consider its flaws, which is why I am lowering it. I think I was a bit too biased while rating it the first time. Sorry.

This review is very long and it is spoiler free. You can skip to the 'pros' & 'cons' if you don't want to read the full thing.

Content/ Trigger Warnings- Alcohol, Betrayal, Blood, Being chained, Biting lip and drawing blood, Crying, Dying, Death of a mother, Death of a father, Death of parents (recounted), Dead bodies, Death of a friend, Death of children & Murder of children, Possible Depression, Execution, Eyeball trauma, Epidemic, Faking a pregnancy, Fire, Grief, Guilt, Guilt over death of a friend, Locking yourself in a Cupboard, Murder, Nightmares, PTSD, Panic-attacks, Prison, Rebellion, Sickness & Illness, Self-harm (digging fingers into palms), Suicidal Ideation (mild), Suffocation, Several Mental Breakdown Scenes, Threat of Rape & Sexual Assault, Mention of Sexual assault occurring, Torture, Urine, Vomiting, Violence

Note- I have tried to include all the content warnings that I noticed, but there is no guarantee that I haven’t missed something.

-Mention of some of these in the review-

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧✧・゚: *✧・゚:*

“True strength is not determined by how brutal you can be,”

Defy the Night, by Brigid Kemmerer is a dark, atmospheric YA fantasy with morally grey characters. I was hoping this would be a 5 star read, and was very happy that my prediction came true and was happy with the book even though I lowered my rating, though I might am a little bit biased considering Brigid Kemmerer is one of my favourite authors.

“It’s easy to love your king when everyone is well fed and healthy. A bit harder when everyone is not.”

In the kingdom of Kandala, sickness stalks the streets. The cure is Moonflower, a rare and expensive flower only the richest can afford. King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist, and show no mercy.

“When there are calls for revolution,” I say to him, “we should be riding at the front, not hiding in the shadows.”

Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw, who robs from the rich to help the poor by distributing food and medicine to those who need it most, along with her friend Weston. When 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 to work with the very people she intended to destroy.

“I hate the king,” I whisper. “I hate the prince. I hate what they’ve done. I hate what Kandala has become.”

The plot of the book was entertaining. It is fast-paced, despite being so long. There isn’t a dull moment, it hooks you from the start. It does take some time for some important things to start happening though and the plot takes a while to progress. There were a few plot twists which were good and foreshadowed well, but I had predicted them quite early on.

The main flaw in the plot is the amount of clichés and tropes it has. Having read a lot of YA, I knew the exact direction in which this book would go in when I was about 50 pages in. It wasn’t exactly a bad thing considering I was still invested regardless of this, but there isn’t much in this book that makes it very different from the other YA books that exist.

We have several overused tropes like ‘the morally-grey prince who doesn’t really want to be cruel’, ‘a king who isn’t really ruling’, ‘an orphan girl looking to rebel and get vengeance’ and clichés like ‘the male character getting flustered when the female character enters in a gown’ and ‘the female character getting flushed when the male character takes his shirt off as he is injured’ etc. These don’t bother me as much, but if they bother you I think you will be annoyed by this book.

Apart from all of this, I liked the plot a lot and the other elements of the story do make up for these stereotypes in YA.

“There are too many layers here. I thought it was as simple as right or wrong . . . ​but it’s not.”

The world building of Defy the Night was excellently done. It isn’t info-dumped (thankfully!) and the map was a great addition to the book. We don’t really explore much apart from Kandala, but I am expecting to see more of the world in the sequels.

“All this time I’ve thought that the people within the gates were the most powerful, but maybe I was wrong. We all have power.”

The writing was my favourite part of the book. Brigid Kemmerer’s writing and her ability to tell a great story has never failed to amaze me, and Defy the Night was no exception. The pacing in Brigid Kemmerer’s books are always wonderfully done and the 500 pages didn’t feel like a drag at all. The writing isn't over the top or filled with purple prose, but its not dry either. It's subdued, which is perfect for this book and the tone it is going for.

“We buy what we can from the taxes we collect, and we distribute it among the people. But there is never enough: not enough silver, not enough Moonflower.”

The characters were properly-written, and I would say they are three-dimensional. The side-characters didn’t really play any big role though, which was quite disappointing.


“I’m not a killer. I heal people; I don’t harm them.”

Tessa is an apothecary, and also the one who steals Moonflower for the sick and poor of the village, along with her friend Wes. They are the Robin Hood’s of Kandala, and rob from the rich to give them to the poor.

“I keep notes in my father’s notebooks of what cures the fevers—the Moonflower—and what doesn’t: everything else.”

I liked Tessa as a character. She is strong, rellistant and kind. I liked the role she played in the book, but despite all of this I felt something was lacking about her character arc. There is a lot of character development, but my main problem was the lack of relationships she has with other people. I know not all people are that social, but when the only relationship Tessa has is a romance, it isn’t a good look.

“We don’t discuss what could happen, because I’m right. The king wouldn’t care that we’re stealing to help people. If we’re caught, we’ll be executed right next to the smugglers.”

Tessa doesn’t interact with many people apart from her love interest, and she only has one friend who she says she doesn’t trust. She essentially doesn’t communicate with that many people on page, and I wish that wasn’t the case. I understand why it must have been hard for her to make friends, but Tessa has the kind of personality that is very open and loving, so this is quite contradictory to how she is portrayed.

“I wonder if this is why it’s so easy for the royal elites to ignore the people outside the walls of this sector. Are we all invisible to them?”

In fact, everyone says they trust her a lot (rightfully so, as she is one of the main reasons they are not dead yet) but we don’t get to see much of that on page, though we do get some moments. I guess it would have been difficult to portray all of that on page, but it would have been a lot more interesting if Tessa had friends and relations apart from the romance as well. Apart from this, I enjoyed reading about Tessa's character.

“Kindness leaves you vulnerable, Tessa. I learned that lesson years ago.”


“I have heard every manner of scream without flinching. I have listened to promises and threats and curses and lies—and occasionally, the truth.
I have never hesitated in doing what needs to be done.”

Prince Corrick is the King’s Justice, the one responsible for bringing justice to the kingdom and enforcing order in Kandala.

“to my face, I’m Your Highness, or Prince Corrick, or sometimes, when they’re being especially formal, the King’s Justice.”

He is also the morally-grey character that dreads all the violence he has to do, yet he has no choice but to do everything and ~follow orders~. I know, you are thinking 'Bhavya, this trope has been done so many times before!' Yes it has, but this is one of my favourite tropes in books and I always have a soft spot for this kind of character, but I only like it if it is well done.

“Because despite all outward appearances, I’m not cruel. I don’t delight in pain. I don’t delight in any of this.”

Corrick’s character arc was so well written and was so subtly done. The whole “i am pretending to be cruel and heartless when in reality i am a sweet cinnamon roll who means no harm, but i will hurt you if you mess with me or my loved ones’ wasn’t rubbed in our face. Corrick’s mental dilemma isn’t filled with petty angst. It didn’t bore me at all. Instead we get a beautiful blend of court politics, betrayal and a desperate man doing what he needs to do for everyone to survive. He was definitely my favourite character and I loved him.

“I’ll never be free of this. Of who I am. This will be my life as King’s Justice: Cruel Corrick, the most feared man in the kingdom, and somehow also the most alone.”

Character Dynamics

➼Wes & Tessa

Wes and Tessa had such a sweet bond, and I was smiling every time they were on page.

“I wish Weston were here. I’m better with the medicines, with the dosages and the treatments and our patients, but he’s better in the face of violence and danger. He’s cool and reserved when I’m hot and rattled.”

I don’t have much to say about them without spoiling something, so I will just say that they were a moment of light in a much darker book.

➼Corrick & Harristan

I loved the brotherly bond between Corrick and Harristan.

“They respect my brother—as they should.
They fear me.
I don’t mind. It spares me some tedious conversations.”

It was so well written. Corrick and Harristan love each other very much, and it was wonderful to read about how they supported and trusted each other.

There is another great character dynamic in this book, but I won’t be talking about it here to avoid spoilers!

“But we’re still taking action. We’re not backing down from that horrible king and his awful, cruel brother. We’re saving the people who need saving.
Fight back. We are.”

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧ ✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧ ✧・゚: *✧・゚:*

➼Analysing Pros & Cons

◙ Good Writing.
◙ Interesting Characters.
◙ An engaging plot.
◙ The romance is well-written.
◙ The character dynamics.

◙ The writing is not really quotable.
◙ The lack of 'diversity'.
◙ The amount of clichés and typical YA tropes.
◙ The world isn't really a fantasy as there is no magic.
◙ Predictable plot-twists & the side-characters don't play a big role.

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧✧・゚: *✧・゚:* *:・゚✧*:・゚✧✧・゚: *✧・゚:*

“I did what I could,” I say to her now, and my voice almost breaks. I have to take a shuddering breath. “I do what I can. And every day, I regret that it’s never enough.”

In short, Defy the Night is an action-packed YA fantasy novel- with a twinge of romance and court politics. While it has its flaw- like the tropes and clichés, it also has its strengths- like the incredible writing and good characters. I binged this book in a day and I can say I loved the experience. I’m hoping the sequel comes out soon! Until then, we all have to wait and ‘mind our mettle’. :)

“Mind your mettle, Tessa.”

Buddy read with Nashita. Thank you so much for reading it with me!

Review written and uploaded on 15th September, 2021.
Review edited on 11th November, 2021.

P.S.- I tried something different for this review. Feel free to me know your thoughts on which format you prefer!

Storygraph Review. Storygraph. Spotify Book Playlist. Spotify. Youtube. Pinterest. Linktree.

DISCLAIMER-All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it.

How I Rate-
1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed
2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed
3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing
4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing
5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite


And another 5 star read from Brigid Kemmerer. Review to come.


Going to start this today!




It looks nice, but I liked ACSDAL covers more...
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,067 reviews38.1k followers
October 8, 2021
This is promising, action packed, engrossing, thrilling brand new series from one of my favorite authors who can write both brilliant and addictive romance and fantasy novels!

I have to admit I loved this new installment more than A curse so dark and lonely trilogy the author recently published. If you ask me why? I can honestly say I’m all time favorite fan of Robin Hood and his remarkable philosophy: stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

So I always enjoy to read any new version story inspired by Robin Hood philosophy. And honestly portrayed, so much likable vigilantes / outlaws Tessa and Wes stole my heart since the first action packed opening the book.
Let me tell you more about the blurb:

The story takes place in Kingdom of Kandala divided by different sectors which have problematic relationships between each other because of outburst of contagious disease ravaging the land. Royal Palace barely holds it the control by negotiating with the consul members who are representatives of each sector demanding more power they can hold and King Harristan rules the entire kingdom with the help of his brother Prince Corrick who is designated with the most compelling title : King’s Justice. He takes the role of brutal killer, merciless punisher who triggers night terrors of entire folks of the kingdom.

He never chose to be brutal person and he was reluctant to deal with the shitty hand the faith dealt with him after their parents died before their eyes when they were young boys who were forced to rule the entire kingdom before dealing with their griefs.

Now the contagious sickness threats the entire land and only cure is made by moonflower petals which are limited, not equally shared by the sectors. As the richest and wealthiest consume more they can absorb, the poorest always suffers from lack of medicine.

Tessa Cade is apprentice apothecary who is so sick of seeing the inequality about sharing the medicine at entire land so she starts following the paths of her dying parents by stealing moon petals for concocting a powerful elixir and distribute them to the poor people who cannot afford. Her partner in crime Wes, wearing his mask and join her to lurk in the Wilds, helping the miserable people heal and give them enough hope to survive.

But the rumors spread so fast telling the cure is not effective enough to heal people and the rebellious attracts start arising. And a sudden tragedy changes everything in Tessa’s life, forced her to sneak around the palace to confront the cruel King and his merciless brother prince. But she finds out more secrets and she realizes nothing as it seems in the kingdom.

She may be forced to make a deal with her worst enemy to find a solution to stop her own people’s dying and the rising revolution can destroy the peace of the kingdom.
I loved genuine, honest, brave, hot tempered Tessa and tormented, charismatic, powerful, mysterious Corrick a lot.

Remarkable characterization, surprising twists, blossoming sweet romance, enthralling action packed adventure earned my four blazing stars!

I’m looking forward to read the next installment ASAP! This is freaking amazing start to unforgettable brand new fantasy installments!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,039 reviews463 followers
June 18, 2021
Imagine a kingdom plunged into chaos by a strange fever that has reached epidemic proportions. The only cure is a tea made from the petals of the moonflower.

In this retelling of the legend of the heroic Prince of Thieves,(aka, Robin of Sherwood Forest), Tessa Cade is dispensing elixirs made from contraband moonflower petals to the less fortunate inhabitants of her village in the Wildes sector of Kandala. Tessa's father, a master Apothecary, taught her everything he knew before he and his wife were brutally executed by the Kandala Night Patrol for smuggling moonflower petals and unlawfully distributing the cure in their district. (Moonflower petals were a tightly controlled commodity in Kandala.)

Traumatized by their deaths, Tessa secretly continued her parents' crusade. Tessa would sneak into the more affluent parts of Kandala, steal from the hording rich, and then redistribute the medicine to the suffering poor. Wes Lark had saved Tessa from certain death on the night her parents were killed, and has been her accomplice for several years now. They each wear masks so that, if they are captured, they will not be able to disclose the identity of the other if they are tortured.

When Wes is captured, Tessa - wild with grief - invades the royal palace, intent on some vague/half-formed notion of revenge. But before she can even catch a glimpse of the King, she is almost immediately captured by the ruthless Prince Corrick - the King's Justice! He is notorious for the slow torture and brutal extermination of all smugglers and traitors. Tessa is prostrate with fear and prays for a swift death!

Imagine her mounting terror when she is taken to Prince Corrick's private chambers! No spoilers here, but instead of her immediate execution, Tessa is given her own rooms at court and finds herself under Prince Corrick's protection!

The rest of this wild tale kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because I just had to find out what was going to happen to Tessa, Corrick and the rest of the characters of this madcap kingdom!

(Tessa's transformation from village waif to a lady of the court:)

I was highly entertained! There was a fair amount of violence, but it was not overly prolonged and graphic - for which I was very grateful! I approved of the redemptive themes in this novel. The King and Prince Corrick were as much victims of the power struggles and violence of those uncertain times as the rest of the inhabitants of Kandala.

Kind-hearted, brave Tessa was the voice of reason, reconciliation and the hope for peace: messages that I will support and uphold each and every time! Applause, Applause! A 5 out of 5 star rating for this stirring melodrama! My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Kandala's only hope: moonflower petals.... or is it!!?!!

Note: I've been a long-time fan of Brigid Kemmerer's YA novels. The exotic realm that Kemmerer takes us to in Defy the Night is not totally removed from present day society - with the exception of the long Disney-style princess gowns and courtly attire.

(By the way, morning glory SEEDS are toxic, if taken in large quantities so treat this plant with caution, especially near children and small animals.)
Profile Image for Kezia Duah.
356 reviews223 followers
April 17, 2022
Now how the hell am I supposed to wait till September?

I love how the synopsis barely gives anything away so I’ll try to do the same. The kingdom of Kandala is suffering from sickness and the only cure is not enough for everyone. It’s usually a certain class of people that can usually afford it, and this makes Tessa really mad. She and her best friend Wes steal some and give it to those who need it, something that her parents also did. After some events, she finds herself in the palace. There in the palace live the king and his cruel brother, the king’s justice. I know. This is already sounding so interesting right?

The twists come in right in the early chapters, which was great! Because you know that feeling when you feel like a book is going to be predictable? Yep! I thought I knew what was going to happen but events were not always as I expected.

We learn a lot about these characters. We do get both the prince and Tessa’s points of view, and I found the prince to be the more interesting character. He is known for not giving mercy to people who rebel against the kingdom, but is there more to him? I loved his relationship with his brother. Their parents died, and since then, the only people they really trust are each other. I love a good brother bond plot. Tessa is really smart and throughout the story, she learns more about the sickness and how she can help. Her father was an apothecary so she learned a lot since childhood.

This one was definitely darker than expected, not incredibly dark, but still darker than expected. I enjoyed the sexual tension between some of these characters. Not too slow burn and not too “instant” love.

The ending was great. We still have some problems to solve though, and I really can’t wait to read the next book. I really hope the second book is just as good or better!!

Profile Image for pauline.
120 reviews20.5k followers
August 10, 2021

I haven’t been reading fantasy books lately so this was my jump back into the genre and MANNNN, it didn’t disappoint!

This is a story told through two POVS—Tessa and Corrick’s.

AND YKNOW WHAT—I didn’t expect to tear up?! But I got so attached to them and there are chapters here that really TRY YOUR HEART 😭

It’s a story that’s easy to follow along. You won’t get bogged down by the world building. I have such an attachment to not just Tessa and Corrick, but to Harristan and Quint and even Rocco!

I loved the Cursebreakers series (I always say that’s one of my favorite YA fantasy series, hands down) and I found Defy the Night to be just as great!

I was hooked from the start; I liked the flow of the plot, I LOVED the romance, and it reads fast for a book over 400 pages!

I had theories as I went through the book and the beginning literally took me through a rollercoaster because I thought I had it, then I didn’t, but then I thought I did and UGH. Also I genuinely dropped my jaw in surprise.

I loved it. 1000% recommend for when this releases. Great cover, great story. I can’t wait for book boxes to release special editions because I’m IN THERE LIKE SWIMWEAR BYEEEEE ENJOY!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,368 reviews9,435 followers
October 11, 2021
This book is a beautiful edition that came in my Fairyloot box. It has purple stained edges and a purple ribbon. I might show it later.

Anywayyyyyy, I’m going to leave this at a 4. I’m on the edge because her last trilogy I was moving until the last book. I mean I gave it a three star which isn’t bad, but I traded those Fairyloot editions in to. the used bookstore and I’m hoping this isn’t going to happen with this trilogy 🤨

Fingers crossed!
Mel 🐶🖤🐺🐾
Profile Image for Paige ♠.
276 reviews737 followers
January 28, 2023
Jan 2023: Re-reading to prep for when I pick up the sequel sometime soon! Still as good as I remember.


This was absolutely magnificent! I really did not like Brigid Kemmerer's Cursebreaker series, but I still had high hopes for this new book because of all the great reviews I've been seeing, and it did not disappoint!

THE PREMISE FELT VERY relevant to the state of the world with the current pandemic, but still had a fantastical flare that allowed it to feel fictional and not too similar to the current COVID crisis.

THE ENTIRE CONFLICT and everyone's motives were completely explained and realistic. This is so important to me because I hate when characters are either good or bad "just because".

I LOVED HOW THE BROTHERLY relationship between King Harristan and Prince Corrick was portrayed. It felt so real and so raw. While there was conflict between the two at times, it was still always obvious how much they both cared about each other and their relationship was just so well done.

THE ROMANCE was also incredibly well written. It was small things like pretending to read a book when they were actually just stealing glances at each other that made their crushes so cute and relatable. It was obvious they were both pining for each other, but they had some things to work out before they could be together. Even though the romance wasn't steamy, there was still a lot of heat and tension because of how much you could tell they cared for the other

PRINCE CORRICK DESERVED a big hug 🥺🥺 Seriously, he had so many layers and he is now one of my favorite male characters ever. His internal conflicts were so emotional but relatable that my heart was bleeding alongside his as I read 😥 My bby better be getting a HEA at the end of all this!

Overall, this book exceeded my expectations in every way possible! I kind of made the mistake of spoiling myself with some of the key twists by reading other reviews, so I tried to keep mine as vague as possible 😅 If you are looking for a book that has emotionally conflicted characters, a good combination of political intrigue and action, and a swoon-worthy romance then you really need to read this book!

Steam Scale: 🔥/5
Swoon Scale: ❤️❤️❤️❤️/5
Profile Image for Katrin D.
283 reviews462 followers
April 28, 2022


I'm in big trouble if I've started adding books that come out in 2021.
Profile Image for Elle.
584 reviews1,253 followers
September 20, 2021
Nobody is more surprised at how much I enjoyed this than me. I’ve read the first book in Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreakers trilogy, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and I did…….not love it. So when Madison suggested Defy the Night for our Fantasy Frenemies book club I wasn’t sure I would be into it, but I’m so happy to have been proven wrong!

A deadly illness has been ravaging the kingdom of Kandala for years, the single cure being rare Moonflower petals that grow in only a handful of locations. After their parents death, King Harristan and Prince Corrick have been doing their best to deal with the contagion, though the cracks in their hold seem to be showing. Nobody knows how it’s spread, only the rich and powerful have access to treatment and the leaders of the two sectors that supply the flower are constantly at odds with the rest of the realm. And on top of the political and logistical tensions, there has been an uptick in smuggling of the precious petals….and whispers of rebellion amongst the common folks.

There’s also people like Tessa and her partner Wes, who steal and redistribute the life-saving elixirs to people with the least means who need it the most. They may not be smugglers, but the ruthless crown under the iron grip of Prince Corrick, the King’s Justice, makes no distinction between stealing for profit or survival. But desperate people make desperate choices, and after Tessa suddenly finds herself on her own there’s even fewer options for this apothecary turned Robin Hood if she wants to keep providing relief for her people.

I did go back and read my A Curse So Dark and Lonely review to try pick out some of the differences between my experiences with the two. And wow, I forgot how mad I was after reading that book. My biggest issue seemed to be the two main characters, namely that the male love interest was terrible and irredeemable and the female lead was a typical ‘nOt LiKe OtHeR gIrLs’ protagonist. I’m also going to throw out there that I hate Beauty and the Beast retellings so that may not be entirely on the author.

I think, though, if you’re someone who had issues similar to me then you’re probably going to like Defy the Night much better. One of the most interesting things about Tessa Cade is just how common she is. There’s nothing ‘special’ about her in a fantastical chosen-one sense, she just deeply cares about other people. She sort of fell into the life she’s living through circumstance and having limited options, but does absolutely everything in her power to help her community that’s struggling. In this way she’s so much more relatable than some vague description of intangible superiority I’ve seen attached to other young, female main characters. *See: Harper (ACSDAL), Bella (Twilight), Feyre (ACOTAR), etc*

And as far as love interests go, I’m not going to spoil anything here, but I will say that while there’s some moral greyness the character is not irredeemable. I think Kemmerer does a good job generally at writing each character in a way that is easy to, if not sympathize with, then at least understand where they’re coming from. Personally I found a few of the issues described that the king, prince and nobility were having to be a little, ehm, whiney in comparison to what the rest of the populace was dealing with. Harristan in particular seemed like a pretty lame king if he wasn’t allowed to *seize* things during an epidemic in his country. (even the US army could, like, march into Nebraska and take all their corn if it cured COVID so???? idk)

I enjoyed the romance in this book much more than Harper and Rhen in Cursebreakers, not like that was a super high bar to clear, but still. I bought into the struggle Tessa was having reconciling her past with her present and thought the relationship she has in this book was well-developed. And okay, I’ve got one petty complaint I’ll put under spoiler tags

Overall, I loved this. It’s not a perfect book, and I’ve liked other ones more this year, but it was still a great read. I am so excited for the next in the series and clearly any misgivings I had about Kemmerer’s last book are more about that specific story and not her as an author. I love seeing how much her storytelling and characters have evolved with her as time has gone on and am expecting the sequel to be even better!

*Thanks to Bloomsbury YA for an advance review copy!

**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
Profile Image for Reynita ★ The Night Reader ★.
122 reviews933 followers
September 14, 2022
I haven’t read a single book that I truly enjoy for about a year now (more or less) and this book is highly disappointing. I didn’t even have any expectations toward the story, but it managed to be this dull. Here are the reasons why I didn’t like this book:


The plot was so slow and dragging a lot of times. There were so many descriptions and informations; but honestly I couldn’t care less about them. Perhaps it’s because it’s info-dumping or perhaps it’s because I was extremely bored reading it. I also skimmed reading it and frankly speaking, the course of the story and ending weren’t exciting at all. I wasn’t even intrigued or had a slight of curiosity for how the book ended. I just finished it because I bought for it and I tried not to waste my money. Lol.


My God, the characters were AWFUL. TERRIBLE. The book is narrated in two point of views and they’re all horrendously dull. It’s been a while since I truly loathed a main character and the female character managed to pull it off since the beginning of the story. I couldn’t stand her at all. There’s no problem in having weaknesses or being sensitive person. But this female character which I forget the name cried for all sorts of strange things and it happened a lot. She’s also stubborn in a foolish and dangerous way. I honestly don’t get what’s going on inside of her head. She couldn’t think logically based on reasons, pros and cons. Wow.

The love interest was slight better. Slightly. He wasn’t annoying. I didn’t loath him. But still he’s such a bore. Not exciting at all. At first I pretty enjoyed reading his point of view but then around the middle of the book I just didn’t care about his POV any longer lol. He’s just not remarkable at all. The personality and the characterization weren’t interesting.


Don’t get me started on the romance. I loathed the female character and the male character was so dull. I couldn’t stand both of them and I honestly didn’t understand how the love interest actually liked the main character? Like how? She didn’t think logically. She’s foolish. She’s annoying.


NONE. I HATE THIS. I WASTED THE TIME OF MY LIFE READING THIS. What is it with me and terrible books? I seem to read unenjoyable books most of the time. It seems like a curse at this point. 🙂
Profile Image for ✧ Emily ✧.
135 reviews105 followers
November 15, 2022
4.5 stars

When you reaaaaalllllyyyy want the person you like to make a move and then you realize they probably won't because:

1. They're not a royal in disguise

2. You aren't in the midst of a kingdom-wide rebellion

3. You aren't extremely wounded by rebellious officers trying to take out the monarchy and they probably aren't extremely wounded either

*please read this book now because this was so good*
Profile Image for Mara YA Mood Reader.
332 reviews262 followers
Want to read
December 23, 2019
No blurb, no cover, no problem. YA Fantasy and Brigid Kemmerer is apparently all I need ?
Profile Image for Bryneyre The Book Eater .
43 reviews21 followers
October 2, 2022
Bookstagram | Facebook | Booktok

This book was more remarkable than I expected it. It's the first book of Brigid that I read, and I'm positively surprised.

I didn't start this book earlier because I was wary about the virus theme, since it reminded me of coronavirus, but it was still cheery and captivating enough to compare the virus in the book with coronavirus, thus comparing the situation in the book to the reality we've been through to better understand the plot and the character's motives/feelings, without dwelling in the negative parts of it.

The pace is correct and steady during the whole book, and the world building is incredibly well-written and broad without losing the reader's attention.
I love how Brigid's prose is full of detail about the vast but interesting world, the complexity of the situation and the realistic characters without entering into tedious infodumping

Tessa, Corrick and Harristan are remarkable characters anyone could relate to at some point , but so it is with other more secondary characters, like Karri, Jossalyn or Lochlan, that are deep and round in terms of personality too.
Brigid has the talent to portray the convoluted emotions of unique, round and complex characters in a way that the reader can understand easily, without telling too much and showing exactly what's needed.

The romance was quite strong in this book, accurately depicted and not rushed, demonstrating the deeper, prettier and more pure meaning beyond it besides the superficial looks and infatuation, the evolution the characters in love suffer through the ups and downs of friendship, animosity and a possible courtship (so swoon worthy during many scenes). Basically, it is one of the best elaborated slow-burn romances I've ever read, I want to see how it will still develop in Defend The Dawn.

Brigid has the magic to turn things that would normally bore the readers into captivating elements of the story. I tend to avoid political books, even if I'm interested in politics, due to the extreme political discourse that plagues media and makes me want to avoid discussion, but this story weaves politics around the plot in a way that everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy and reflect while being entertained by the action, the mystery, the humor, the romance and the characters in general, in a youthful and approachable way. We can see the differences between social classes and their priorities while not being weighed down by it, but having hope for a better Kandala.

Brigid reminds us to open our minds to different perspectives apart from our own, since the lack of perspective will blind us and prevent us from seeing the whole picture, the significant piece that will aid in the solution of the problems the people of Kandala suffer, if we also add compassion, respect and equity to the equation.

The revelation wasn't so surprising but well justified. The ending, an elaborated and good comma for all the problems to finally be solved in the second book.
What can I say more? This book was fascinating and I can't wait to read the continuation. 5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Kyle.
374 reviews541 followers
August 24, 2021
Actual rating: 3.5 (rounded down—and maybe subject to change?)

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books and NetGalley for providing me this ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

First thing’s first: this was a very quick read for a 500 page book! I was surprised at how fast I got through it. It’s one of those rare books that keeps you reading long into the night, and well past the time you said “Just one more chapter.”

The big plot twist you can see coming from a mile away. I had a thought—for an excited, fleeting moment—that the author would give us a double fake-out… but no. Another downside was that this felt a little like ‘been there, done that’ in terms of characters, story, and dialogue. It’s not the author’s fault, though. The YA Fantasy genre is oversaturated, to the point where tropes and cliché have made it incestuous.

In terms of characters… well, they were fine. Really. I didn’t grasp anything nuanced or surprising here. I get it, though: Corrick, the morally grey Prince (who I am sure will have people fangirling, fanboying, and fantheying—I will not be one of them!), and Tessa, the bleeding heart apothecary. I’ve encountered these characters many times before. Nothing new to see here. I think my favorite characters were King Harristan and Quint.

I wish the romantic aspects were less obvious (and less frequent!). This is coming from me, though: Someone who doesn’t care much for romance in literature to begin with. In this instance, with Defy the Night, everything about the romance was trope-y and expected. I will never not roll my eyes at a female character “gasping” or blushing when a male character takes his shirt off, or a male character left speechless mid-sentence when a female character enters a ballroom with her hair done up… or some sappy sh*t like that (which happens quite a bit in this book).

I so wish there had been a map of Kandala! The surrounding territories are mentioned a LOT, and I wanted a visual representation of the geography of this world. This being an ARC, I’m thinking it wasn’t ready (maybe?)? I’m hoping there’s one provided in the finished copy.

All that aside, I was all-in on the political intrigue, violence, and (surprisingly) socially-relevant themes. I like it when a YA titles veers more towards the “adult” side of the genre. I don’t really know where the story will go from here… it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, which is a nice change of pace, but it did end in a very saccharine way, which I didn’t like (again, I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to romance and lovey-dovey passages). We shall see, I guess. I’m 60% sure I’ll read the next in series.

*side note*
There’s another review out there that stole some of the language, ideas, and syntax from my review here. It might not be blatantly obvious to some, but if you spend as long as I do on my reviews, you’d know when your words are being plagiarized by another. It’s unfortunate, but Goodreads is notorious for plagiarism.
Profile Image for chaity.
162 reviews341 followers
April 24, 2022
this book was equal parts refreshing and boring to me.

after mildly trashing this book, i was more than thrilled to give this new fantasy series a try (because second chance and all that). although it had started off great, it ended up being one of the dullest read of the month for me. ehh um anyways i hope the next one will be better?? 😴
Profile Image for Anna *Bran. San. Stan*.
238 reviews56 followers
September 26, 2021
4.5 stars. A promising start to a new YA fantasy series! I already loved Kemmerer‘s Cursebreaker series and her Elemental series was also enjoyable so I was really looking forward to Defy the Night and am glad to report it didn’t disappoint!

In a kingdom ravaged by a deadly disease, the Moonflower is the only known cure – which complicates matters as its supply is limited and the poor can ill afford it. After the assassination of their parents, young King Harristan and his brother, the King’s Justice, Prince Corrick, are tasked with maintaining order in the kingdom, which they do by ruling with an iron first. (As their caring but complacent parents were killed by a close relative, they feel that is the only way to avoid their fate.) Tessa, a common girl and apothecary’s daughter, and her friend Weston steal, Robin-Hood style, medicine from the rich and give to the poor. From there, things can only go wrong… (Btw, if you’re worried this will remind you too much of the Covid 19 pandemic, don’t be: the situations have little in common.)

What I loved the most was, funnily enough, not the romance between but the sibling dynamic between Prince Corrick and his brother King Harristan. It fulfilled something I had wished for in Cursebreaker, where our two heroes, Rhen and Grey, never took the chance to be true friends but remained prince and guard – sovereign and subject. (I won’t go into spoilers how that relationship develops after book 1). Corrick and Harristan are close – as close as I’ve often wished Rhen and Grey could have been. Of course, there are complications too but it was rewarding to see their deep connection.

In essence, Harristan and Corrick’s characters reminded me of Rhen and Grey, respectively – Corrick can be as stoic, cold and inscrutable as Grey is and if you love one, you’ll likely love the other. I will say, though, I had trouble reconciling Corrick’s “cruelity” with the kind soul he is underneath. I wonder why he never questioned the necessity of his cruelty (which essentially means handing out death penalties for minor crimes).

Also, the negotiation at the end required some suspension of disbelief on my part as I doubt the fact that . I can already see problems arising from how that situation was resolved. (I sure hope they do because I would find it unrealistic if they didn’t.)

Overall, a great, engaging read I wish I’d had the time to finish in one sitting. The plot provided me with two “holy shit!” moments which showed me how emotionally invested I already am. And besides enjoyment, emotional investment is all I really want from a book, and since Defy the Night provided both, they made up for any minor issues I had. Very much looking forward to book 2!
Profile Image for Nasi.
72 reviews46 followers
April 28, 2022
The things I liked about this book: how compulsively readable it was. the writing and the pacing were good enough to get me through this book.

The things I didn't like about this book: basically everything else.

Soooo, I know that was harsh, but I promise I have good reasons for the last sentence. And I tried to build a complete list of all those reasons.

1. This Is Not a Fantasy. So if you're thinking of reading this book because the idea of Robin Hood in a fantasy setting sounds amazing just wait a minute and let me explain this. There is absolutely no magical element in this book, no magical creature, no magical power, no witches or wizards or anything that would classify this as a Fantasy book. Even the sickness and its cure had no relation to fantastical elements. I think there should be another genre other than fantasy called secondary world stories, or something like that. Because that is what this book is. I know that for some people, when they say fantasy is their favourite genre, what they actually mean is that they like stories about royalties and adventures and quests and rebellions and Great Destinies. So for those people this wouldn't be a problem. But I live for the magical elements, I want to lose myself in magical worlds, I want to see what insanely creative things every author comes up with every time I pick up a fantasy book. And I need to tell you this, if you're like me, you're going to be very disappointed with this book.

2. Corrick this one really hurts because the primary reason I read this book was Prince Corrick. If you know me then you know even the mention of a cruel guy as the point of view character is enough to send me screaming from excitement. In the blurb he's mentioned as this ruthless prince that is willing to do anything to keep his brother in power, and in the book, he's not like that at all. I mean for a while I could believe him as such a character and I was dying for him and Tessa to meet. but after a while it becomes clear that he's just all talk and no show. Now, you could argue that is just a part of his characterisation, that he doesn't like violence and is just pretending to do so because he thinks it's necessary. But then we'll have a new problem, he doesn't even put up a good show for other characters. there's a scene when he has to execute others to show how ruthless he is, another character later on tells him that you looked like you wanted to cry, which is fair and accurate. but the point is that, he's not even convincing enough in front of the exact type of people he wants to convince. Which begs the question, why haven't these brothers been overthrown? they're neither competent enough to keep the elite and their subjects happy, nor cruel enough to keep them afraid. so again, how the hell have they lasted this long?

3. Tessa this is the second book I read from this author and both books had heroines that were super kind and understanding and naive and saw the world through rose-coloured glasses and had no thought about the realities of leadership. Both of them had to face male characters who would explain to them that things aren't as easy as they thought. I'm not going to point fingers here, but if in all of your books the female character is the naive one and the male character is the one who sees the world for what it is, then maybe just maybe you have some internalised issues about gender roles.

4. This world is just very stupid. Here's the thing: there's a limit to my suspension of disbelief and I can't take it when a book asks me to throw away all of my logic and reasoning. there are certain things that just don't happen in real life. For instance, there's a scene of mob violence and the MC can just stop them by asking them kindly. I don't know which world Kemmerer lives in, but in my world you just don't stop mob violence like that. then there's the issue that when the revolution reaches the palace the king tries to stop it and it FUCKING WORKS. yes I've seen leaders trying to calm down revolutions ( with pretty promises, which is what the king does in this book ) when it's loud enough for them to notice it. the chances are that by then whatever they offer is too little too late. and the people have had enough, so it almost never works. By that point the only thing that can stop the revolution is even more violence from the authorities. lastly, there's the issue of incompetence. These brothers are extremely incompetent, so why the fuck the book wants us to root for them? For a looong time Corrick knew that they could cure more people with less medicine, and he's the second most powerful person in the realm, and he is the closest person to the most powerful person, and he chose to do NOTHING about it. I mean he has his excuses, but those are just that: EXCUSES. I'm sorry I can't root for monsters like that. He chose to do nothing about a cure and you want me to root for him?

5. The second twist was incredibly obvious and the fact that the two brothers haven't seen it is just another testament to their incompetence and stupidity. So there's a kind girl who is always advocating for the people, always talking about the fact that people are acting out of desperation because their leaders have failed them and the said leaders need to show them leniency, so you're telling me that girl wasn't the Big Bad our hero thought she was. Instead the Big Bad was the power hungry guy who is constantly trying to put doubt and distance between the two brothers, and is constantly asking them to prove their power and constantly trying to get benefit out of the completely terrible conditions. * gasps * wow just wow, I could never saw that coming. SUCH A GREAT TWIST. you know a twist is good when the guy you always knew was evil turns out to be, *gasps* actually evil.

Now that I'm done ranting, I suppose it's time for me to say some obligatory nice things about the book to avoid coming off too harsh, so here we go: I liked the first twist with Corrick, and I liked the romance in the beginning, and like I said, the book is very readable. But it lost its readability when I saw all the flaws, and I can't ship a couple if I don't like neither of them. So basically, all the good things lost their value by the end of this book.


I feel like I lost all of my brain cells reading this 🥴
Profile Image for dhuha.
158 reviews37 followers
November 5, 2021
I refuse to believe that brigid kemmerer, the same author who's written LETTERS TO THE LOST, had even a role in writing this book
2 stars
"I think that very few people truly deserve what they get, Tessa. For good or bad."

I have a thing against fictional girls named tessa, i'm sorry but it's true. It's not like i'm TRYING to be biased i swear i'm not. And idk what it is, but they all have the same vibe and at some point the same personality. Because i'm feeling super inspired and excited rn i'm going to start on my review straight away and without delays.

First of all, what was this book? A fantasy? YA obviously but why didn't I get a lot of that fantasy vibe? Why did it unequivocally feel like 20 average young adult books were combined into a more of a romantical than action-packed story? It was a lot like the legend series, but only lacking everything good about it. The plot was honestly messed up and the whole thing seemed to have come completely out of an illogical dream. I did enjoy the way it started and a few parts were quite wholesome I ADMIT but really I saw the downturn coming from miles away but I was obviously stubborn in digesting the fact that one of my favourite authors wrote a book that stabbed me with such agonizing mediocrity to this level.

The tropes here are completely messed up especially when you combine them all together and look at the mixture from afar, seriously how
tropes in defy the night
1. the orphan
2. the morally grey, cruel prince
3. life of inescapable responsibilities
4. the rebels (robin hood edition)
5. the impossible love story
6. ugh do i still have to keep going?

i mean, it doesn't look that bad sure, and this could sure be subjective but overall the whole deal just seemed hugely dissatisfying and amateurish even though WE KNOW how good of a writer Brigid Kemmerer is (i mean, leave lttl bc i am clearly obsessed with it, EVEN A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY OMG it is one of the best books I HAVE READ)

but for now, let's start on the characters
Prince Corrick
Why does royalty come with the inexorable package deal that life must be lived with a horrendous fancy and glamorous name [that usually consists of 5 or 6 titles]???- for real, it's like they cannot rule a kingdom with a normal name, it has to be outlandish and unnatural. It is a genuine question that i would really love to know the answer to one day.

But can I tell you how much i truly ENJOYED his character!!! From the oppressor-sort of reputation to the whole terrifying king's justice thing- but we see it from HIS POV, and that is one of the many talents in kemmerer's writing, the way she captures personalities and uses relative information to analyse them through OTHER personalities and i'm not sure i make sense to anyone right now outside the faithful assembly of my own brain cells but ISN'T SHE JUST AMAZING???

Harristan, the King and his brother, the King's Justice, Prince Corrick have been ruling the kingdom of Kandala for 4 years since the assassination of their parents. The love that these two brothers have for each other is so wholesome, i'd read a novel just about the both of them any day... honestly, characters have flaws but in his, they were fairly typical and all that but he could still be imagined as a real human, a solid person you know? He's no Prince Charming but then he's not all savagery and brutality either.

Don't get me started on her. I was actually preparing to like her, training my intolerance to tessa's to fade to a bare minimum- to the background. BUT "LORD, TESSA" DO YOU MAKE IT HARD! First of all, she awfully well gives a damsel in distress vibe even when she JUST SHOWS UP, and she's compassionate and kind A FREAKING CRYBABY WHO'S UNREALISTIC AS HELL... she expects everything to be GOOD or BAD, like grey areas exist child, stop being so NAIVEE
yes, she's awfully naive

I can pick out at least 25 DIFFERENT TIMES that she just started crying out of nowhere for no reason. it literally goes like, my eyes turn hot and prickly in every, single CHAPTER!!! i get sensitivity and excessive emotional whatever but there's a limit... and she's kind and righteous yea but the hype around her character is overdone because everything is just inside her head and her heart- she barely has any conversations throughout without tearing up and being all awkward and-
I COULD COUNT THE NUMBER OF TIMES SHE SAID PLEASE ON ONE PAGE and that was just annoying to me, because say anything but that in a crisis.

yes this was MESSED UP (but in a good way). i was hooked to the book but towards the end i literally drowned in disappointment and the only way i could describe EVERYTHING was, just stupid. that's all
ik it's ya but it should at least make sense right? the court politics were really enjoyable and realistic but then after, it was just too childish as in- teenage priorities moment- and oh yea i also have a country to rule!!
there was a lot about the fever that didn't make sense to me, like is it contagious by contact? because i didn't see anyone staying away from the victims and how does it spread? what does it do? we just had inadequate information regarding lots of things

Overall, it was NOT a bad book but it disappointed me, i wasn't a fan of the romance and the fantasy world was not thought out enough. i wouldn't recommend spending any money on it, but go ahead and see what you think!!
Profile Image for mads.
316 reviews340 followers
August 23, 2021
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

TW: death, illness, panic attacks, PTSD, torture, and violence.

With less than a month until this beautiful book is released, I get to finally share the review I wrote back in June. Even though it's been a couple of months, my thoughts and feelings haven't changed even slightly. I love this book and I can't wait for everyone to read it.

I have yet to read a Brigid Kemmerer book that I haven't loved and 'Defy the Night' was no exception. If anything, this might actually be my favorite of hers yet. ACSDAL is one of my favorite trilogies and after finishing VOW earlier this year, there's been a little bit of a void in my heart. 'Defy the Night' filled it and then some.

For the first few chapters, the tropes are the most obvious to the reader and it was easy to feel like I was reading another version of a story I've read before. I didn't mind, but there wasn't anything that stood out to me. But then, the story reaches a turning point and the reader is no longer just interested, they're hooked. It was at this point that I started feeling as though Brigid Kemmerer wrote this book specifically with me in mind.

Let me explain: Not only are we delving into quite a lot of fantasy politics in the book, no no no, better than even that! We've got the 'well, I've believed I was in the right the whole time but maybe it's not as simple as I originally thought and perhaps, the people I've seen as the enemy are actually human and they're doing the best they can". Which, if you don't know me, hi, my name's Maddie, that is my favorite thing in books. Period.
(My one (extremely minor) criticism about this was that the development of it felt a bit rushed, but given the length of the story, it was to be expected.)

One of the things Kemmerer excels at are her characters, and this proved to be no exception. She has such a way of giving each character such a distinct voice that makes you feel so strongly for them. And even if you don't agree with their decisions, which often times you don't, you know exactly why they're making them and you can't guilt them for it.

And because I feel like it would be wrong to go through this entire review without at least mentioning him once: Prince Corrick, guys. That's it. That's all I have to say. If you loved Grey in ACSDAL, you aren't ready to meet his character.

Overall, this was exactly what I was hoping for. From the action to the moral dilemmas to the plot twists, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you waiting (impatiently) for more.

My review will be posted closer to the release date but until then, just know that Brigid Kemmerer is amazing and I think she wrote this book specifically for me😌
Profile Image for Yeganeh.
522 reviews191 followers
September 23, 2022
~4.5 stars~

So when I started reading, I was nervous. I’m always nervous when I start a book. If I liked the author already, I worry that the book won’t live up to my expectations based on how I felt about previous books. If it’s a new-to-me author, I worry that the book won’t be a good fit for me, and I’ll struggle to read it. So. Yeah. Apparently I’m just a nervous reader.

Okay, so Brigid Kemmerer is one of my all time favorite 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.

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 really enjoyed the Robin Hood vibes throughout. The whole steal from the rich give to the poor bit works well here and in the end when everything bubbles to the surface that division between the haves and have-nots will make or break Kandala and King Harristan.

When I was reading Defy the Night I thought I knew the direction that Brigid was taken the story. But she would pull out something different. This kept me hooked and entertained through the book. I also liked that she wrapped up certain elements at the end, as well as living the story open to continue that next book


≫ ──── ≪•◦ ❈ ◦•≫ ──── ≪
the fact that we are so lucky to have this early arts is a blessing and the artist did an excellent job for that.

I loved Tessa’s character– and I feel like Kemmerer always does this to me. She always gives us these bright, strong heroines with layers and grief and depth, and I love them from the first pages.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.

Brigid has this way of writing characters that I adore. There’s always one that you love right away but then become unsure about because HELLO IS HE AN ACTUAL VILLAIN?! 😏

Buttttt it always comes back around…who are we kidding, I’d love a villain, no questions asked anyway. not gonna get to spoilers but the first time i saw the fanarts I kinda went oh crap are we having a love triangle? and yes I know there are 3 male fanarts here but no, that can't be love-square😅. so one of the twist circles around this issue and god bless you Brigid for. and the arts does a great job to hide that twist pretty well.😏
“Kindness leaves you vulnerable, Tessa. I learned that lesson years ago.”

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.

He is also the morally-grey character that dreads all the violence he has to do, yet he has no choice but to do everything and at some point

There was a romance that I totally believed and and I want more of and I want more of it now. 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.

King Harristan and Master Quint are also the perfectly lovable, learning, growing characters that I wanted them to be, I’m invested in case that is not glaringly obvious. I'm honestly surprised of how much i love harristan.I loved the brotherly bond between Corrick and Harristan. It was so well written. Corrick and Harristan love each other very much, and it was wonderful to read about how they supported and trusted each other. at one point in the book, for a second i thought harristan IS really a villian , but damn yes i was wrong and I'm sooo glad I am.🥰
“When there are calls for revolution,” I say to him, “we should be riding at the front, not hiding in the shadows.”

≫ ──── ≪•◦ ❈ ◦•≫ ──── ≪

I also liked that it didn’t end on a cliff’s edge. It had what I’d call a comfortable resolution (??) where, like, things felt completed without at the last minute introducing a new thread to tease us about the next book. So I really appreciated that! I’m excited about the fact that it’s a series, though, because I would definitely read more of this story world. I’m wondering, since it didn’t have a cliffhanger end, if the next book centers on different characters??? I’d be very interested in that.

Brigid Kemmerer’s writing and her ability to tell a great story has never failed to amaze me, and Defy the Night was no exception. The pacing in Brigid Kemmerer’s books are always wonderfully done and the 500 pages didn’t feel like a drag at all. The writing isn't over the top or filled with purple prose, but its not dry either. It's subdued, which is perfect for this book and the tone it is going for.

One of the biggest things I noticed was the difference in the kingdoms. I had Vow and Emberfall on the brain when I dove into Defy The Night. I was worried I would find myself comparing this new world to the one I already know and love, Kandala is vibrant and interesting, full of turmoil and strife, but it is not Emberfall. I was so happy to have another equally amazing setting to fall in love with, after the first few pages I didn’t find myself comparing the two at all.

“All this time I’ve thought that the people within the gates were the most powerful, but maybe I was wrong. We all have power.”

There is a pandemic infecting the people of Kandala. Brigid has created one that doesn't match the pandemic we are currently experiencing. It is especially interesting in the way they are treating it. And they are taking the medicine. 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.

≫ ──── ≪•◦ ❈ ◦•≫ ──── ≪

I really like how it ended. It ends in such a strong position for the next book to explore (which I am already highly anticipating). and You know what’s really annoying?the fact that I’m going to have to wait more than a year for another installment in this series. Impatience is my natural state of being it seems, being a reader does that to me, but the struggle is real here!
At any rate, I think readers who enjoyed A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN will find the same great storytelling and complicated characters here.

“Mind your mettle, Tessa.”
Profile Image for Souhaila.
201 reviews67 followers
November 26, 2022

First time that I read Miss Kemmerer even tho I have Cursebreakers trilogy waiting in my shelf for a long while now but I couldn’t be happier with my decision, Defy the Night was a great introduction to the author.

The author created a world devastated by disease and fevers that cause death to anyone who can’t afford the overpriced moon flower elixir. Tessa a girl with few resources and her best friend, Wes, steal these flowers and distribute them among the least disadvantaged facing the danger of being discovered and sentenced to death. Everything changes when Wes is caught, and Tessa loses everything, her desperation leading her to sneak into the palace where she’s discovered and held by Corrick, the prince and brother of the king, who makes all the decisions of sentencing those who steal the flowers, being very harsh, which has earned him a reputation for evil among the people.

The book is written with dual POV, on the one hand we have the point of view of the people, Tessa, and on the other hand we have the point of view of the “villain”, Corrick, proving that how people see things from the outside and how they really are from inside the palace is not the same and that sometimes the issues are not black and white, and both parties are trying to do the best they can.

I really liked the author's way of narrating, simple and clear, giving the right amount of information when needed with no unnecessary and long descriptions. Being someone who politics is not my favorite theme to read about, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the politicking and corruption in here.

Another thing that I’m coming to realize I like is how subtle the romance was, there’s just enough cuteness to make you root for the characters but it doesn’t take the focus from the main problem/plot.

I also liked king Harrison, a young man who was forced to ascend to the throne early because of the death of his parents but still trying to do his best, and Quint, Corrick’s best friend. I really hope to see more of those two in the next books.

Overall, a book that reads very well, very fast and hooks in a brutal way from the first pages. Politics, power struggles, corruption, romance and the sibling’s relationship specially, was top tier.

P.S. If you are wondering, like I did, if the book was inspired by the pandemic, it wasn’t. I looked it up (because ofc I did!) and apparently it was written before the pandemic hit.
Profile Image for ~ a foray in fantasy ~.
267 reviews258 followers
October 11, 2021
Very, very tropey but also really fun. I have a feeling this isn’t going to be a book I remember well.

3.5 stars rounded up
Profile Image for Gabriela.
402 reviews214 followers
June 16, 2022
This book has:
• Good worldbuilding
• Great characters
• Sweet romance - enemies-to-lovers
• Interesting plot

I had 0 expectations and if I'm being honest, I didn't even know what the book was about. It was a beautiful story and I'm glad I picked it up ❤

Tessa annoyed me at first, but then I started to like her, as for Corrick, I wanted to give him a hug and take all his suffering away. Quint is still my favorite character, that hasn't changed 😂
Profile Image for Avani ✨.
1,470 reviews287 followers
October 11, 2021
4.5 stars

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer, the first book in another spellbinding fantasy series set in the kingdom named Kandala. Over the years, Kandala has been ravaging with fevers in different sectors.

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 only way to stop this sickness is through an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals which is severely limited.

Tessa Cade, an Apothecary is tired of seeing people die around her. She has the power to mixing herbs and knowledge from her father. She and her friend Weston Lark both go on rounds every night and supply the elixir to the ones in need and the ones who cannot afford.

This is my first Brigid Kemmerer book and I just couldn't stop reading the book after a point. Yes, the book and world building is abit slow in the start considering this the first book in the series. But I absolutely loved every character and how their part was played in the book. Quint, the palace master and friends to Prince Corrick was one of my favourite character.

It's really hard for me to right a review without leaving out any spoilers, but I genuinely felt the book and the world building was very unique. And no the fevers are no where associated with the current pandemic situation so please don't go on those lines. 😂 I can't wait to see what the future books in the series hold.

Some of the twists and turns I never saw coming where placed at right times in the plot. While others it was definitely good to see Prince Corrick as a King's Justice along with King Harrison. I would have loved if we had some more light on other female characters in the Royal Palace.
Profile Image for Katie.
523 reviews624 followers
August 16, 2021
"A spark of rebellion is all it takes to defy the night."

First Thoughts

Kemmerer's new book takes a spin on the classic legend of Robin Hood. Tessa Cade is a would-be apothecary living on the outskirts of the Royal Sector, where a deadly plague is ravaging the populace. The only cure are moonflower petals, kept tightly controlled by the sector that grows them. Tessa and her best friend Wes steal petals from the rich, who have plenty of supply, and give them to poor families who cannot afford their own. Meanwhile, King Harristan and the King's Justice, Prince Corrick, rule with an iron fist to prevent an instance of rebellion after the brutal murder of their parents. A particularly cruel act from the King's Justice prompts Tessa to do the impossible: sneak into the palace. But once she's there, everything is not quite what it seems...

I was literally hooked every single second of reading this book and I could not put it down. I'm already sad that there is such a long time to wait for more!!! Kemmerer has managed to create such an intriguing political landscape, where everything is really not what it seems from the outside looking in. I loved reading about the political maneuverings and was really impressed with the intricacies of the politics!

The characters - I loved them all. There are so many layers to each and I really enjoyed the time I spent learning about each and every one of them. Oh myyyy the romance. It really took a lot of twists and turns I was NOT expecting but it was such a sweet, sweet slow burn. I loved every second of it and am literally obsessed. I NEED MORE.

I am absolutely obsessed with this book, it was so so good. I honestly am really excited to follow along with the whole trilogy and I can't wait to see where the plot builds from here!
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