Defy the Night

Defy the Night

by Brigid Kemmerer

5 out of 5

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.

With a deadly sickness bringing the country to its knees, and a king who kills anyone who steals the only cure; Tessa is risking her life to save those who can't afford it.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The narrative is split between our two main characters, Tessa and Prince Corrick.
Tessa has been scaling the walls and dodging the guards to steal moonflower petals for years. Ever since her parents were killed for doing the same.
Her constant partner has been her best friend Wes. They see so many atrocities happen on the order of the king, but everything is slightly better with Wes at her side. And it's Tessa's fault when he gets caught...

Prince Corrick has been the King's Justice for the last five years, ever since their parents were murdered by the nobles that betrayed them. 
King Harristan and Prince Corrick were young when they were pushed into power, and they have spent every minute since instilling fear into those around them, to earn their loyalty.
Trying to protect his brother, Corrick takes on the darkest work. He has killed and tortured, remaining cold and detached the whole time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. And I don't want to say anything that might spoil it. There was one twist that I didn't see coming - and I got that happy feeling of not knowing about it going in (like when I saw Sixth Sense before all my friends).

The rest of it keeps you guessing as to the motives of the others, the king, and the rest of court; the bandits and the mysterious Benefactors.
I liked how it explored all the pressures affecting them. It was so much more complex than Tessa could have imagined, and it spent so much energy on being more than a straight-forward us-vs.-them good-guys/bad-guys.

Tessa and Corrick are interesting characters, and you root for them to find a solution to the crisis. They develop throughout the book, as their knowledge of everything at work broadens.

I enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next part of the series.


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