Jan 23, 2024

Review--Defend the Dawn by Brigid Kemmerer


New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer continues her electrifying series with more intrigue, romance, and heart-stopping adventure.

The kingdom of Kandala narrowly avoided catastrophe, but the embers of revolution still simmer. While King Harristan seeks a new way to lead, Tessa and Prince Corrick attempt to foster unity between rebels and royals.

But the consuls who control the Moonflower will not back down, and Corrick realizes he must find a new source for the lifesaving Elixir. When an emissary from the neighboring kingdom of Ostriary arrives with an intriguing offer, Tessa and Corrick set out on an uncertain journey as they attempt to mend their own fractured relationship. This could be their only chance to keep the peace and bring relief to the people of Kandala, but danger strikes during the journey to Ostriary, and no one is who they claimed to be. . .



Well, I didn't plan this out accordingly! I finished Brigid Kemmerer's Defend the Dawn a day too soon and now I'm left wallowing! Lol! Needless to say that this book was incredibly exciting and was in no way a "middle" book! There's always that fear when reading a trilogy that the second book will just feel like nonsense filler between the first and third book, but I didn't get that feeling at all with this one. Yes, in some ways it did just feel like a little bit of an "interlude," between books but it was a most exciting interlude for sure!

We start this series off with a brand new point of view from a mysterious new character! I was already brewing up with theories on who this unknown was and I have many things to say about that, but I won't say any because I don't want to my theorizing to effect yours! Lol. But anyway, I did enjoy getting a new perspective on things going around the kingdom! While we left things with a tentative feeling of hope for a better future, we can see that it will be a short lived hope towards better. I mean, the happily ever after can't be readily in grasp now can it?

Tension are still running high in the kingdom of Kandala. The sickness is still running rampant and the source for a cure is still hard to come by. But with Tessa's theories of making a less potent but still effective dose of the curse with the Moonflowers, there is hope that things could get better...if only the counsel was willing to listen!

But before much can be done with the counsel, another new character walks onto the scene, one Rian Blakemore, a pirate who's not a pirate so to speak. His father was once an Ostriarian aid to Corrick and Harristan's father and he comes to hope to negotiate trade for steel by offering up Moonflowers. Harristan is to send a select few to Ostriary to work out negotiations with the king so that both kingdoms can help their citizens. Corrick, is naturally a bit suspicious of Rian so he decides he will go, and since Tessa is the apothecary, she goes as well. To make matters more interesting for the reader, Lochlan goes as well and three guards.

Corrick's suspicions last throughout the journey and only continue to grow when Rian doesn't allow Corrick into a particular locked door aboard the ship. Then add in Tessa with two young men and you have the makings of a love triangle. It's definitely a complicated situation and tensions continue to run high between her and Corrick that it's almost believable that she might decide to side with Rian. 

Secrets continue to be the running theme of this series as everybody has them! I am all for it too! It makes for intriguing encounters and loads of tension! I'll admit that this time I was taken aback by some of the secretive reveals. I wasn't expecting quite a few of them and I love the way they were executed. It's hard to get into a lot of that as I don't want to get near spoilers but I did enjoy the hints and whatnot that Kemmerer laid out. I did foresee some of them and some haven't quite gotten to the point of resolution yet, but I suspect that will be made clear in the next book!

As far as the romance goes between Corrick and Tessa, things are tense between them. And now of course, you add in Rian and you start to wonder, just who will Tessa be with? I was glad that the love triangle issue didn't last the whole book. We do get an answer, so to speak, of her choice. But in between those chaotic moments, there were a few tender moments between these two that had me melting just a little! Lol.

From the little bits that I've heard about people's reactions and need for the third book, I was expecting a torrential cliffhanger. The ending that we got was indeed intense and I am dancing on pins and needles waiting to get my hands on a copy of the third book, but the wait isn't as terrible as I thought it would be. Of course, I write this the day before I will get the third book and by the time you're reading this I will be reading it already (nowhere near finished, but started at least! Lol!). But I suspect even if I wasn't nearly having the third book in hand, the wait would be pretty bad, but not as torturous as I had anticipated! So take that with a grain of salt if you have yet to start this series! Binging a series is always highly recommended!

Defend the Dawn was a most exciting read and fully lived up to my expectations after Defy the Night! It was enjoyable from start to finish and I am only sad that the journey is almost over! At least the next book has another 100 pages more than these first two books, so that will at least stretch out the enjoyment for a little while longer once I get my hands on a copy! If you're looking for your next fantasy read sans magic, but still in itself is magical and enchanting, I recommend Kemmerer's trilogy here!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars





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