Review: Defend the Dawn by Brigid Kemmerer

Alexis holds a copy of Defend the Dawn in front of bookshelves in a bookstore.

Alexis: 

Did this book just come out on Tuesday? Yes. Did I binge read it and finish it today? Also yes. 

Defy the Night is one of my favorite books, so it’s safe to say that Defend the Dawn was one of my most anticipated reads. And I’m happy to say it did not disappoint.

Defend the Dawn brings even more political intrigue, plot twists, and morally gray characters. I was constantly second-guessing what I knew about character motivations.⁣

⁣While the middle moves a little slowly, in classic second book fashion, I still really enjoyed it. I love both of the main characters, Tessa and Corrick. I loved reading about their messy emotions and relationship. I also really enjoyed getting to know Corrick’s brother, King Harristan, better, and I love his brotherly relationship with Corrick.

While Defy the Night only has 2 POVs, a third POV is sprinkled into Defend the Dawn. I found that it worked really well for the story, especially since Tessa and Corrick are on a ship for the majority of the book.  ⁣

⁣And then of course, we have the ending. The appropriate reaction is “ahhh!!” It was so action-packed and I loved it, but of course it ended on a cliffhanger. Now I have to wait and see what happens, and I’m an impatient reader!

If you still haven’t picked up this series, it’s a New Adult fantasy series filled with politics, a rebellion, a pandemic, outlaws stealing for the sick, and of course a dash of romance. It’s also low fantasy, so if you want a fantasy without magic, then this is the series for you.

⁣VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⁣

Review: Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

A hardcover copy of Defy the Night lays on tops of an orange, pumpkin printed blanket and a gray blanket. Alexis' hand holds an iced pumpkin black tea, while her dilute calico cat sniffs it. A purple candle rests behind the book.

Alexis:

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!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Review: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Alexis holds a library copy of The Bone Shard Daughter in front of a fence and trees.

Alexis:

At first, I wasn’t sure this book would be for me. I was unaware that it has a total of five POVs, some in first person and some in third person, something I’m usually not a fan of. The writing style is slightly more “tell” rather than “show,” and the book takes a while to set up the scene for each character.

However, I found myself drawn into this story. All of the characters have very interesting backstories and motivations, and I found their stories engaging, and the world itself to be fascinating. While Jovis’ perspective was my favorite, as he seemed to have the most personality (and more page time than the other characters, besides Lin) I never found myself bored by any of the perspectives. 

While the pacing remains fairly slow throughout the book, I hardly noticed it, because there was such an atmosphere of mystery and suspense; there were so many mysterious things working in the background that I found myself endlessly curious about, and I kept wanting to know what was going to happen!

While I sometimes struggle with the accessibility and writing style of adult fantasy, I found this book to be a great segway from my usual YA fantasy. It was also nice to see a fellow twenty-something in a book, as Lin is twenty-three.

So here’s what you need to know before going into this book:

Lin, the Emperor’s Daughter, is trying her best to get her memories back after an illness. She’s also trying to figure out what her father, who can wield bone shards, is keeping from her. 

Jovis, the Empire’s best smuggler, is on a mission to find his long-ago kidnapped wife. He finds a mysterious little otter-like creature, Mephi, who becomes his sidekick, and who quickly became my favorite!

Phalue is the daughter of Nephilanu Island’s governor. She’s a fighter who’s trying to win the hand of her girlfriend. 

Ranami, Phalue’s girlfriend, is a woman with a heart of gold who’s doing her best to make a difference in the world. 

And finally, Sand is a woman stuck on a remote island, whose job is harvesting mangoes. But she doesn’t remember why she, or the other island inhabitants, are there, how she arrived, or who she really is.

The Bone Shard Daughter is one heck of a debut, filled with political intrigue, creatures created from bone shards called constructs, and a chilling yet thrilling ending filled with twists and turns.

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐