The Reverse Readathon took place more than a week ago, but I’m still thinking about all of the amazing books that I had the opportunity to read. One of my favorites was the fourth book I read during the challenge, Defy or Defend, by Gail Carriger.

Defy or Defend tells the story of “fixer” Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, who is sent by the War Office to infiltrate a vampire hive. The hive’s queen has sequestered herself underground for some unknown reason, and the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR) is concerned about the fact that the rest of the hive has “gone Goth” and may present a threat to the local human population. Dimity’s task is to convince the queen to come out of hiding, and help the rest of the hive get back to their normal routines.

Her partner for this assignment is Sir Crispin Bontwee, a knight whose job is to keep Dimity safe. The pair certainly has their work cut out for them, because if Dimity and Cris can’t fix the problem within their deadline, a Sundowner will be sent to eliminate all of the members of the hive, whether they are a danger to society or not. But a couple of weeks might just be enough time to “fix” the situation, and it might also be enough time for these two War Office agents to fall in love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this new addition to Carriger’s body of work. I’ve been a huge fan of her writing ever since I picked up the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless. Throughout her various series, Carriger has created a unique world that I always enjoy visiting. I especially love how she blends steampunk and fantasy/paranormal elements in her stories.

While Defy or Defend could probably be read as a standalone novel, I feel like it would be best enjoyed if you consider it a (more adult) sequel to Carriger’s Finishing School series. The Finishing School series is a total of four books in length, and follows the adventures of a young lady named Sophronia and her friends as they attend a prestigious finishing school with a rather unusual curriculum. Aside from being a tremendous amount of fun to read, this series will also give you a lot of Dimity’s background from her school days, and does explain some of the choices she has made in both her professional and personal lives.

Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, steampunk, or paranormal romance (or just enjoy a good story), I highly recommend checking out Defy or Defend, as well as Carriger’s other books.

Have you had the opportunity to check out my reviews of the other books I read during the Reverse Readathon? If you’d like to get caught up, you can find my reviews of Shinjū and Codename Sailor V in the Readathon category here on The Unapologetic Bookworm.

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