Tag «Author: Kemmerer»

Fresh Fridays: Defy the Night (#1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Fresh Fridays: Defy the Night (#1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Defy the Night Series

Other books planned to be in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Defy the Night (from Goodreads):

A fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.

breakdown

Series: Defy the Night
Author: Brigid Kremmerer
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 2021 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

A few years ago now, I read Kemmerer’s Elemental Series and really enjoyed it. Despite that, I never picked up another title by her and I honestly have no good reason to explain why I haven’t. But when I read Kait @ Katie’s Book Blog‘s review, I decided to get my hands on my library’s audiobook.

I love a good fantasy novel and this one sounded great! I definitely forgot about the Robin Hood inspiration when I read this book, but that was one of the reasons I decided to add it to my TBR.

I had just finished reading the audio version of Realm Breaker–which I didn’t enjoy–so I wasn’t sure if reading another fantasy audiobook immediately after that flop was a good idea. But, my library loan was going to expire and I was optimistic I would enjoy this one!

What I Liked:

–The Pacing–

I felt like this story was always moving. Yes, it definitely helps that we have two POVs that we flip between but I found both Corrick’s and Tessa’s stories to be equally intriguing. Plus, I couldn’t wait to see how they would cross paths.

–Kept Me Guessing–

I liked that nothing was overly predictable with the plot. While I certainly had some theories that turned out to be true, they certainly got tested along the way and had me second guessing.

–Tessa–

While Corrick has great character development and layers, I really enjoyed Tessa’s character. She’s passionate and compassionate. She’s certainly stubborn but I appreciated that she could see when she was wrong. There’s three sides to every story (yours, mine and the truth) and as Tessa starts to learn more about the kingdom, she discovers that maybe her views aren’t necessarily the right or the only ones.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It Was Just Missing that Next Level–

While I really enjoyed this book, there was just something missing here to take it to that next level. Perhaps it was the fact that I was reading about a medical epidemic in a kingdom during the global COVID-19 pandemic that stopped me from getting totally into it. I also think that some of the other side characters could have been developed a little more, like King Harristan.

My Audiobook Experience:

I thought the audiobook production was great. I was very happy with my decision to listen to this story. It’s easy to follow along and the narrators were fabulous.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Now that there have been some great character and plot developments, I’m excited to see where this will go next!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Defy the Night 4.5/5 | Defend the Dawn TBP

overall

With a dash of romance and a dash of Robin Hood inspiration thrown in, this fantasy book makes for an engaging read.

Read if You Like: Robin Hood, fantasy, slow burn romance
Avoid if You: dislike fantasy
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Series Review: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Young Adult Series, Sad to See Go Series 2014
Series: Elemental Series
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
# of Books: 5 (Storm, Spark, Spirit, Secret, Sacrifice)

There are novellas: #0.5 Elemental, #1.5 Fearless, #2.5 Breathless

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I found these series online at my local library and was intrigued enough to pick up the first book. I loved the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender (and Legend of Korra is AMAZING) so I’m always excited to read series that focus on the elements.

This is one of those series were reading the novellas is key to understanding what is going on in the book–but you don’t have to necessarily read them before you read the next full length book. For example, while the very first novella, Elemental (#0.5), does setup the story and provide some background context, but I think I would have gotten more out of it and saved myself from some minor spoilers if I had read it after Storm. Fearless (#1.5) should definitely be read after Storm (#1) BUT I would actually read Breathless (#2.5) after Spirit (#3) (though you can totally read it before, it does take place right after Spark (#2) chronologically time-wise) just because Breathless (#2.5) is part of Nick’s story and his book is Secret (#4).

So in short, my recommended reading order for the series is: Storm, Elemental, Fearless, Spark, Spirit, Breathless, Secret, Sacrifice.

Overall, this series truly rocks my socks! It’s great and so refreshing. Ms Kemmerer is not afraid to go places in her novels. The twist we get in Breathless truly left me gasping for air and what she does in Spirit left me in disbelief. She also tackles every issue from abuse to sexual assault to bullying to first loves to the tough choices in life. For a book that is based on supernatural elements, it is so realistic at times and I think a lot of readers will appreciate that.

The characters are great as well. I love all the Merrick brothers–especially Gabriel and Nick. While I’m not the biggest Hunter fan, he really grew on me in Spirit (#3). All the girl characters have been fantastic as well but I’m glad that the focus is mostly on male characters for once.

So far, Spark (#2) is my favourite book but I’ve enjoyed all of them and I’m expecting my new favourite to be Secret (#4) once I get a chance to read it.

UPDATED (June 19/14): And I was right, Secret has definitely become one of my favourites in the series. It’s hard to say what one was my favourite between Spark and Secret because they deal with completely different things but Secret was fantastic. It was really refreshing to read Secret because I don’t think a lot of books discuss what happens in this one with such grace and realism. Most of the book deals with the personal issues of the characters but we get a great plot spin at the end that has me counting down the days to Sacrifice. This series has definitely become a favourite of mine!

UPDATED (November 10/14): Sacrifice wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. My need to read Michael’s story has grown throughout all the books and novellas so I was really excited to read his story and see what was next for the Merrick brothers after that major cliffhanger in Secret. I thought there would be some more physical action than there was but, I found the plot kept moving at a really good pace that I finished it before I knew it. However, nothing really wowed me like in the previous books. I also wish there was an epilogue–I really felt like so many things about everyone’s personal lives were left unanswered and after growing to love these characters so much, I was really dissapointed in that. But, all in all I like how things wrapped up and I really didn’t know how everything was going to wrap up so bonus points for always keeping me guessing.

Conclusion:

A unique and refreshing read for young adult readers (even for 20-somethings!). Girls AND boys will appreciate this series for its realistic take on high school life while adding elements of the supernatural. One of my favourite young adult series in a long time!

FYI: I tried to hard not to use the word “elements” in this review in case people thought I was trying to be PUNny but it’s so hard to do!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #1)

Synopsis for Storm (from Goodreads):
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming . . .