cover image Defy the Night (Defy the Night #1)

Defy the Night (Defy the Night #1)

Brigid Kemmerer. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0466-1

A new series starter from Kemmerer (A Curse So Dark and Lonely) centers on an illness that divides the kingdom of Kandala into those who can afford the Moonflower petal elixir that keeps the deadly fever at bay and those who cannot. By day, 18-year-old Tessa Cade, whose parents were killed by the King’s night patrol, is an assistant apothecary; by night, though, she is a masked outlaw stealing petals to make elixirs for the poor. When Prince Corrick, the King’s Justice, does the unthinkable, Tessa sneaks into King Harristan’s palace for revenge. Discovered, Tessa bargains for her life with her knowledge of potions, assisting 19-year-old Prince Corrick in tracing the fever’s trajectory. Political intrigue flourishes as the royal brothers battle outsider rebels and scheming counsels; Kemmerer presents intense moments of torture amid scenes rich with covert power plays and swoon-worthy romantic dialogue, and the positioning of Tessa as peacekeeper and nurse conforms to gender stereotypes. Switching between the perspectives of Tessa and Prince Corrick, the expansive plot promises a commanding sequel. Main characters are assumed white; many secondary characters are described as having dark skin. Ages 13–up. Agent: Mandy Hubbard, Emerald City Literary. (Sept.)