Defy the night by Brigid Kemmerer

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Defy the night is a fabulous read for fans of stories like Robin Hood and other tales of masked outlaws breaking the law to assist the helpless and poor. In the kingdom of Kandala, a virulent sickness is spreading and there is not enough medicine made from the rare Moonflower to go around. Tessa Cade has been trained as an apothecary and she does her best to illegally obtain medicine and get it to those who need it the most. She is assisted by Wes, whose face she has never seen. When danger overcomes the pair, Tessa makes the terrifying decision to steal into the palace and face King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick, the King’s Justice, who metes out harsh punishments to those breaking the law.

Defy the night is Kemmerer writing at her best, with a beautifully described world, court intrigue and a potential rebellion of people who need the medicine for their families. Tessa and Wes are engaging characters who will have the reader breathlessly reading as they undertake their dangerous missions and their slow burn romance helps to keep the reader immersed in the story. The tension really ramps up when Tessa enters the castle and meets the King and Prince Corrick. She learns more about the pair and begins to understand some of the complexities of ruling a country and navigating jealousy and ill-will. Will she be able to influence the King to help her people?

I really enjoyed the author’s Elementals series beginning with Storm, which is still in print, and for fans of outlaws seeking justice, readers might like to read Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley, Murmuration of starlings by Franny Billingsley, Mask of mirrors by M.A. Carrick  and Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud. 

Themes: Fantasy, Outlaws, Corruption, Politics, Romance.

Pat Pledger