Review: Defend the Dawn by Brigid Kemmerer

Defend the Dawn by Brigid Kemmerer

Defend the Dawn (Deft the Night #2)
Brigid Kemmerer
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published September 20, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Defend the Dawn

To save their kingdom, they must embark on a dangerous journey…

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 seemed to be. . .

Defend the Dawn on Goodreads

My Review

I love this series, but I don’t know that I would truly classify it as young adult. The issues that Tessa and Corrick deal with are more adult– figuring out your career path and relationships– rather that the more figuring out who you are and what you believe about the world stuff typical of YA.

That said, I’d probably also call it a crossover because Brigid Kemmerer has written other young adult novels and has a pretty significant (well-deserved) following among YA readers.

Okay, so onto the book itself. The story of DEFEND THE DAWN is divided into three points of view: Tessa, Corrick, and an Outlaw. Tessa and Corrick face challenges to their relationship and doubts about each other’s feelings and values. The Outlaw has to navigate his dual roles as a masked helper to the poor by night and a powerful man by day. I found it easy to invest in all three characters, and some of the side characters kind of stole the scene a few times, too. Lochlan, the rebel leader, Quint, the king’s right-hand man, and Rian, the captain of the ship all had some great moments. I’m really excited to see what happens with each of them in the next book.

In terms of the plot, I felt like the pacing moved really nicely. I felt like there was a bit of a lull around the middle where Corrick and Tessa kind of rehash the same conflict they’d been having, while I was ready to move on.

I really liked the directions that DEFEND THE DAWN flowed in, though. We learn so many new things about the kingdom and the politics between the crown and the consuls. We also learn some things connecting events of the past, when Corrick and Harristan’s father was king, to issues in the present. I felt like that painted a much bigger picture of what was going on and why some things had happened earlier on in the book and series.

Reading the next book will be easy– I really want to know what happens next! Waiting for it to come out will be a little harder.

Defend the Dawn on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

The Outlaw character (a man) is attracted to men.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Some derisive comments insinuating that a girl is only useful because she sleeps with a powerful boy. Kissing between boy and girl. Flirting between two boys. In one scene, a boy opens a girl’s top and touches her. In another, a couple spend a night in his bed, just sleeping.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
References to torture and execution. Situations of peril. Some battle scenes in which characters receive injuries.

Drug Content
Some discussion of which plants are used to poison and which to heal.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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