Defy the Night is a classic upper YA fantasy, complete with political intrigue/court politics, a sickness ravishing a world, and a brewing rebellion. And romance, of course.
I loved the dual POVs. The story follows Tessa, an apothecary who makes elixirs by night to give to the sick poor, and Corrick, the prince and the King’s Justice. I enjoyed reading from both of their perspectives, and I liked how their voices actually sounded distinguishable.
I loved how Kemmerer explores the brotherhood between Corrick and Harristan. And the romance is written well and doesn’t feel forced.
All that being said, the world itself feels pretty generic and doesn’t stand out from any other YA fantasy. There were some easy to guess plot twists. However, I still enjoyed the plot. The pacing is great and never too slow, the characters are engaging, and Kemmerer’s writing style feels immediate in a way that sucks you in.
I’m looking forward to the sequel to this one, too!
Here’s the thing: This was a highly entertaining read. It’s basically The Bachelor but in a dystopian America: drama, drama, drama. Once I reached page 140, I was a little more invested, because that’s when the worldbuilding actually started.
The world itself is interesting, and I wish there was even more of it! I think the overall themes and commentary on the current American society are great, including purity culture, self worth based on class, and the US’ relationship with China, despite the main character’s name being too on the nose.
The writing is…not great. Too much telling. And if felt too unpolished, too unedited.
The dialogue is stiff and too direct. Aspen’s character is such an asshole; Maxon comes off as a little, well, off; America is basically, “Oh, poor me. Everyone thinks I’m beautiful enough to win this contest, but I don’t think I’m good enough and want to go home to my asshole boyfriend.”
I also couldn’t help but compare this to The Hunger Games the entire time I was reading. That might be my own fault, but I think there were just too many similarities (though watered down similarities, to be fair).
This had the potential to be a great commentary on American society, but what can you do!
Welcome to my last review of the year! As awful as this year has been, I managed to have a great reading year, and read a total of 51 books.
Nina Lacour’s writing is lovely. It flows well and holds so much emotion.
Watch Over Me follows Mila, a young woman who aged out of the foster care system and finds herself taking a teaching job on a remote farm.
Lacour handles the themes of this book—loneliness, past trauma, wanting to belong—with care. The flashback scenes were well done, and I enjoyed the gothic-like setting and the blurring of genres/reality with the inclusion of ghosts.
However, I never found myself fully invested in the characters. I felt bad for them, and all the trauma they’ve been through, but I felt like the secondary characters weren’t fully fleshed out, and despite knowing about Mila’s past, I never fully understood her character, either.
That being said, if you’re looking for a slow-burn, lyrical, and atmospheric book that focuses on grief, trauma, and loneliness (with a dash of magical realism) then give this a shot!
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are far more than our abilities.” -Albus Dumbledore
It’s been cold and rainy here for June. But it’s been the perfect weather to re-read Harry Potter. Just put me on the Hogwarts Express and take me to Scotland, please.
I found myself comparing this book to the movie adaptation (which seems to be a trend, considering I did the same thing for the first book). Out of all the movies, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is known for being the closest to the book. And while there were bound to be some differences in the details, I still found the movie to be true to the book.
I’m comparing it to the movie simply because, like most people on the planet, I have seen the Harry Potter movies over and over again, so often that I have most of them memorized. While I’ve re-read Harry Potter in the past, it’s a lot harder to read and memorize 7 books than it is to watch and memorize 8 movies.
Of course, the books have so much more subtext. On this re-read, I loved noticing all of the foreshadowing and the details that will come into play later in the series.
I also think it’s imporant to note that Harry is picked on and disliked by a group of Hufflepuffs in this book, when they believe that Harry is the heir of Slytherin. While Rowling certainly typecasted Slytherin as a walking house of bullies, I feel like the movies play this up even more. It’s also important to note that the books are mostly from Harry’s point-of-view, so of course the Slytherins are going to seem more villianish.
Overall, I’m enjoying this series re-read just as much as I thought I would, and I can’t wait to read more!