Defy the Night

Publication Date: 14 Sep. 2021
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781526632807

    16.99 16.99 16.990000000000002 AUD


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    In a kingdom where sickness stalks the streets and only the richest can afford a cure, King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist.

    Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw marked for death, but she likes it that way. Together with the mysterious, handsome Weston, she robs from the rich to help the poor, distributing food and medicine to those who need it most. As it becomes clear that the only way to save her people is to assassinate the King, Tessa must face a deadly mission that will take her to the dark heart of the kingdom--and force her to work with the very people she intended to destroy.


    Book Type: Junior High
    Age Group: 14 years +
    Traffic Lights: Amber
    Class Novel: No
    Good Reads Rating: 4.5/5
    Literary Rating: 4.5/5


    A fever has spread through the kingdom of Kandala; the only known cure is an elixir created from dried Moonflower petals. Moonflower is native to two areas--Moonlight Plains, controlled by Consul Allisander Sallister, and Emberridge, controlled by Consul Lissa Marpetta. The supply of Moonflower is tightly controlled. Raids on the supply ships are driving up the price of the petals. Those in the royal sector have three doses of the elixir per day while the majority of people receive none.

    The former King was assassinated in a plot by Consul Montague. Harristan, the eldest son, ascended the throne at only nineteen. His brother, Corrick, was named King's Justice. As the enforcer of the King's law, he has a reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty.

    Tessa Cade is the assistant to an apothecary. She uses her skills to brew the elixir for people in need. She despises the King and Prince Corrick. Her friend Weston "Wes" Lark is her confidant, and the two work together to steal Moonflower petals from the Royal Sector and distribute the elixir to the people. One day, Tessa finds his body hung from the Royal gates, seemingly executed for theft of the petals.

    Seeking revenge for Wes' death, she hides in the palace, but is found by the guard. They take her to the hold, where she meets Prince Corrick and recognises him: Corrick is Wes. Tessa is horrified to discover that the friend she thought she knew is someone who is rumoured to be cruel. Corrick ensures Tessa is spared; she is clothed, fed and allowed to remain in the palace.

    During an audience with King Harristan, Tessa informs him that the wealthy are needlessly overdosing by having three elixirs a day, while others go without any. Harristan asks her to remain and provide them with advice. Corrick is trying to uncover the plot to rebel against the crown. Consul Allisander encourages the King and Corrick to take a hard line on the raids to his supply ships. Allisander threatens to cut off supply and raise prices if nothing is done.

    After going undercover to try and uncover the rebel plot, Corrick and Tessa are arrested for treason. While they are incarcerated, Allisander comes to gloat to Corrick about his plot--he has been organising the raids on his own supply ships in order to drive up the price of Moonflower, alongside Consul Lissa who controls the other major supply. Allisander and Lissa are the rebels' benefactors. Corrick turns the tables and his brother soon finds himself locked in the hold, while Corrick and Tessa go free.

    While making Harristan an elixir to treat the illness he's struggled with since he was a child, she notices that the petals don't look as expected and realises the wealthy are being sold a weaker product that requires more doses to be effective. Harristan and Tessa go to the rebels, who are executing the Consuls, and attempt to make peace with them. They promise eight weeks of Moonflower doses, from Consul Allisander's stock, for all.

    A fun, captivating fantasy from the author of the popular Cursebreakers series. The Wes/Corrick character twist was clever and unexpected, particularly given that the story is told from both Tessa and Corrick's point of views. Despite being written pre-pandemic, the story makes obvious connections to current conversations around healthcare and class equality. This first book resolves much of the mystery surrounding the rebel plot and its benefactors, but hints at further conspiracies against the crown. A delightful read for any fantasy fan.


    royalty, conspiracy, justice, duty, fever, medicine, class, inequality

    Content Notes

    1. Language: bitch x 1. 2. Wes whistles a song about a sailor wooing a maiden, and it references "removing her underthings' (p. 24). Tessa is taken to the hold and finds herself dressed in clothes that are not her own. She is disgusted at the thought of being undressed while unconscious, but no abuse is implied (p. 123). Tessa finds out that the man hung at the gates (in the place of "Wes') was a smuggler who was caught beating and raping a woman (p. 150-51). Rumour that Tessa "spent the night' with the prince and is carrying his bastard (p. 204). Corrick and Tessa kiss (p. 325, 432). 3. Tessa finds the body of "Wes' strung up at the gates with daggers sticking out of it (p. 94-95). Corrick cuts the throat of the prisoners (p. 259). When they are under attack Corrick kills a patrolman with a crossbow and Tessa kills another with a dagger (p. 315). Corrick interrogates Allisander, he orders the guards to twist Allisander's arm and break two fingers (p. 419).

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