DEFY THE NIGHT, by Brigid Kemmerer, Bloomsbury YA, Sept. 14, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
A young apothecary pushes back against the status quo in Brigid Kemmerer’s Defy the Night.
Apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her people die. King Harristan and his cruel brother, Prince Corrick, ignore the suffering of their people and react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion, even as a sickness ravages the land. That’s why she and her best friend Wes risk their lives each night to steal the petals of the delicate Moonflower, the only known cure. But it’s not enough to keep everyone she loves safe-or alive.
When Prince Corrick commits an act of unspeakable cruelty, Tessa becomes desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds there makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix their world without destroying it first. —Synopsis provided by Bloomsbury YA
I first fell in love with Brigid Kemmerer’s writing in 2017 with Letters to the Lost. Since then, I’ve eagerly picked up everything new she’s put out, and Defy the Night is no exception.
It’s hard to say much about Defy the Night’s plot without revealing some pretty major revelations, which is to say, it’s got some great twists.
Kemmerer is great at setting the scene. She’s incredibly detailed, yet never gets lost in the details. She deftly balances emotion with plot, creating an immersive feel that nabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go.
And though Defy the Night is fairly long — approximately 500 pages — it doesn’t feel overly ambitious. In fact, I finished the book wanting more, which is good, because Defy the Night is the first book in a planned series.