DEFEND THE DAWN, by Brigid Kemmerer, Bloomsbury YA, Sept. 20, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Return to a land of royal intrigue, adventure and romance in Brigid Kemmerer’s sequel to Defy the Night — Defend the Dawn.
What will they sacrifice to save their kingdom?
Tessa Cade has gone from masked outlaw to palace advisor, but even with her newfound power, she can’t stop the sickness still raging. And the kingdom’s supply of Moonflower elixir dwindles all the while. Prince Corrick is trying to find a new way to lead, but it isn’t easy to repair the rift between the royals and the people — or the one growing between himself and Tessa.
When an emissary from a neighboring kingdom arrives with an intriguing offer, Tessa and Corrick set out on an uncertain journey to find a new source of the lifesaving elixir. But with tensions brewing on deck and the sea swirling below, Tessa and Corrick must decide who they can trust–including each other. But they’re shocked to discover that a craven betrayal may be much closer than they think . . . —Synopsis provided by Bloomsbury YA
It’s been a year since Brigid Kemmerer introduced readers to a young apothecary and a dangerous prince with Defy the Night. Now, in Defend the Dawn she continues Tess and Corrick’s story. While you don’t have to reread the first book in this series to understand what’s going on, it’s definitely worth doing to refresh your memory and catch the nuances.
As with its predecessor, it’s hard to say much about Defend the Dawn without giving away too much. There are some really good plot twists that expand the world Kemmerer has deftly created. It doesn’t take long before you are swept away by her overall storytelling.
Kemmerer’s strength lies in her ability to balance plot and world-building to create a cohesive whole. You’re never distracted by flowery prose or stuck wondering how her world works. Her immersive writing makes Defend the Dawn hard to put down.
Second books in series can often feel like a bridge from Point A to Point B. Though it sets the scene for a compelling third book, Defend the Dawn is anything but a bridge. Characters continue to evolve; plotlines end and others begin. It feels like a complete novel.
Defend the Dawn is an addictive read — I stayed up late reading rather than waiting until the next day to finish the final 75 pages. My only complaint is that I have to wait for the next book to come out.
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