Book Review

ARC Book Review: Defend the Dawn (Defy the Night #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 13th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


To save their kingdom, they must embark on a dangerous journey…

The kingdom of Kandala narrowly avoided catastrophe, but the embers of revolution still simmer. While King Harristan seeks a new way to lead, Tessa and Prince Corrick attempt to foster unity between rebels and royals.

But the consuls who control the Moonflower will not back down, and Corrick realizes he must find a new source for the lifesaving Elixir.

When an emissary from the neighboring kingdom of Ostriary arrives with an intriguing offer, Tessa and Corrick set out on an uncertain journey as they attempt to mend their own fractured relationship.

This could be their only chance to keep the peace and bring relief to the people of Kandala, but danger strikes during the journey to Ostriary, and no one is who they seemed to be. . .

Thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for an eARC.


This was almost a miss for me, buuuut I liked the second half so much more that I’m anxious for the finale. And what I did most love was the writing. Kemmerer is a brilliant writer and I love how smooth and easy it is to follow her story and be tucked into the pages.

This book had very slow pacing. The entire first half was dedicated to getting onto a ship. At least interspersed were some total character upheavals. I think the progression focus was on who Corrick and Tessa are becoming. That mindset really helps set the scene for how a lot of these moments occur. I wish there was a toooouch more romance, but I feel it in my bones that it’s coming!

There’s even a third POV thrown in that was fun to figure out and to see another side to the world that was needed to keep the pace for book three. I think there’s SO MANY places that POV could go and I can’t wait to get to know them even more. I already love this character as much as Corrick and Tessa so it was exciting to have that added in as well.

While it took a long time to get to the ship, I do love a good boat book. There’s the right amount of drama and intrigue. Characters getting to know one another. And allll the secrets revealed (like what’s behind the door?!). I thoroughly enjoyed how this played out and even though the ending left me going WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, I know the next book will deliver too.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: some mild
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of life, battle scenes, physical altercations, weapons violence, kidnapping, poisoning

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Book Review

Book Review: Defy the Night (Defy the Night #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.


I feel it should be said first, I didn’t finish this author’s previous series (A Curse So Dark and Lonely). After book two, I shrugged my shoulders and didn’t want to read the last one and I left it at that.

THEN. Many of my bookstagram friends raved about this book. RAVED. So I found myself downloading my library’s copy and here we are. I am much more thoroughly invested in this initial read and wow I can’t wait for more!!

What helped sell me on this was the romance. It moved beautifully. I loved the connection Tessa had with him and how things were unraveled and explained. The conflict worked itself out just the way it should and I want mooooore of them desperately.

A lot of this is predictable, but the plot is solid enough to still feel like it’s giving me new things to love. I liked the set-up for the next book and that this didn’t end on some massive cliffhanger. This is a fantasy I found myself not wanting to put down. One of those, shirk your duties, reads and I’m so glad it turned out that way. Can’t wait for more.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: battles, physical altercations, weaponry
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents (and other loved ones), executions, rape and sexual assault discussed, epidemic, torture

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