Reviews

Defend the Dawn Review // yeah, I can’t defend this.

This Thanksgiving, there is a lot to be thankful for. I was provided with the oppurtunity to really ponder my list in AP Psych the other day and came to two conclusions: I am thankful for understanding REM sleep cycles that allow me to utalize an online sleep calculator to maximise restful sleeping hours, and I am thankful for my weighted cheetah. And my charming friends online and off (hiii!), family, and everyone else who has made this year special. In that order, of course. #Priorities.

Book: Defend the Dawn

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Format: Ebook

Rating: 3/5

Circles are round. They have no end. According to the Girl Scout motto, that’s how long I’ll be your friend. But when it comes to the circular and everlasting nature of “Defend the Dawn’s” plot? Burn it. Be gone. Off to geometry hell with you. 

“Defy the Night” — “Defend the Dawn’s” predecessor (the favorite, older child of the slated trilogy by Brigid Kemmer) — albeit basic, was fun. While it follows the traditional mold of many modern YA fantasy books (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), the charm of the characters and romance made it stand out among the crowd. It boasts dazzling romantic chemistry, intense webs of political intrigue, and a somewhat predictable, but still fun, plot to keep things moving along. 

“Defend the Dawn” on the other hand, feels senseless and lacking all of the intrigue that made the original stand out. The cliffhanger, it seems, was the only motivation for the second book’s existence — a fact that was all too clear based on the senselessness of the plot. Seriously. Nothing happened. 

Except for a love triangle. And maybe the same two conversations on loop. But really, those don’t earn any points in the originality or plot categories. They just made me want to faceplant into one of my family’s 18 home baked pumpkin pies. 

“Defend the Dawn” so desperately wanted to be doing something — from the betrayal and political schemes to the very pretentiousness of the boat’s name — but failed in every regard. Only the last 20 pages held the slightest bit of interest, in a whirlwind of a rushed climax, but it took 500 pages and hours of avoiding family Thanksgiving to get there. #NotWorthIt. 

It seems that any spark of romance that made the first book exciting was promptly chewed on, spit out, and then haphazardly paper macheted back together. Not effective, to say the least. The banter and chemistry between Tessa and Corrick that shone through in “Defy the Night” was nothing more than a lingering memory. 

Quips and banter soured into bittering and nonsense; every disagreement Tessa and Corrick engaged in picked at underlying problems that were seemingly resolved in “Defy the Night,” but noooo, let’s hash them out for the eighteenth time. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it? *Insert frustrated, feral scream*

Now that the enemies-to-lovers dynamic is shed, the characters and romance seemed to be without progression or purpose. Without the trope-tastic glue holding it together, it fell apart, which seems like an indication of a sloppily constructed ship to begin with. 

In so many ways, “Defend the Dawn” took itself too seriously, resulting in no more than a swing and a miss. The first red flag should have been the three pages of tables laying out the characters and their roles; seriously, if you can’t write a tight enough scheme to keep all the players straight, that’s on you. 

Ultimately, I wish my expectations weren’t as high as they were, perhaps that is what led to the biggest disappointment. There truly was the potential to carry on the fun, fantastical adventures, but alas, we were left with nothing more than a half-baked story that should have been left as a standalone. 

At least I have some pies — fully cooked, might I add — waiting for me downstairs to fill the void in my heart. They, at least, are a welcome sight of a full circle. 

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