Book review: Defy the Night by Brigit Kemmerer

Published September 14th 2021 by Bloomsbury YA


A 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.

My rating:

Defy the Night is nothing new or special that you haven’t read before. But as I love to say I don’t mind a book made of cliches if it is well-written cliches that hook me right away. That is what happened with Defy the Night. Basically, the story has everything I love in fantasy books: political intrigues, morally grey characters, from enemies to lovers – oh yeah, this one is especially good – and nice prose which Brigit Kemmerer is very good at.

Defy the Night is also a mix of Robin Hood and Zorro, with a slight dusting of Cruel Prince on top. To be honest, I cracked the ‘secret’ pretty fast and it was not a shock factor for me but I still enjoyed the transition from the first part of the book which was mild and a little bit boring to the most exciting part – the middle of the book.

I really enjoyed the morally ambiguous part which was done if quite simple but still made me ponder on the good, bad, and in between. From enemies to lovers part was a real candy that I found the most interesting to read. I am such a girl at heart and love political intrigues to be mixed with love. You know: who stabs who first etc. So sweet!

But now I am nearing the less exciting part and it is the last quarter of the story. Well, the romance developed too fast, in my opinion. It lacked a slow-burn element that I love so much in young adult. The characters overcame their issues too fast turning from morally grey into honey bunny white characters. Oh come on, there was so much space to make this series (as I understand it is going to be a series) into so much more than they came, they saw, they won story. But I am not complaining too much because I still enjoyed the story more than I did with the author’s previous fantasy series.


5 thoughts on “Book review: Defy the Night by Brigit Kemmerer

    1. Thank you, Marta! Yes, I didn’t enjoy ACSDAL as well. I think it is highly overrated. This one is better mainly because of the hero, who’s got some grey spots. I am curious about your opinion if you decide to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review! I (surprisingly) haven’t seen too many reviews for this book and I still haven’t finished her ACSDAL series but I’m intrigued by your describing it as Robin Hood and Zorro with some Cruel Prince dusting! What an intriguing combination 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I haven’t seen a lot of reviews as well. It definitely has morally grey characters and some outlawed superhero vibe. I am curious what you’d think of it if you decide to read it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s