Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger

June 23, 2021     erinthebooknut     Book review

Defy or Defend by Gail CarrigerDefy Or Defend by Gail Carriger
Published by Gail Carriger LLC on May 3, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Vampires
Pages: 264

A vampire hive descending into madness. A beautiful spy with a sparkly plan. And the bodyguard who must keep them from killing each other.
New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Gail Carriger brings you a charming story of love, espionage, and Gothic makeovers set in her popular Parasolverse.
Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, code name Honey Bee, is the War Office's best and most decorative fixer. She's sweet and chipper, but oddly stealthy, and surprisingly effective given the right incentives.
Sir Crispin Bontwee was knighted for his military service, but instead of retiring, he secretly went to work for the War Office. Mostly he enjoys his job, except when he must safeguard the Honey Bee.
Neither one is a vampire expert, but when the Nottingham Hive goes badly Goth, only Dimity can stop their darkness from turning bloody. And only Crispin can stop an enthusiastic Dimity from death by vampire.
In a battle for survival (and wallpaper), Dimity must learn that not all that sparkles is good, while Cris discovers he likes honey a lot more than he thought.
"This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans." Publishers Weekly, starred review (Soulless)
Spinning off from the Finishing School series, featuring deadly ladies of quality, this story stands alone, but chronologically follows Poison or Protect before the start of the Parasol Protectorate Series. It's Cold Comfort Farm meets Queer Eye meets What We Do In The Shadows from the hilarious author of the Parasol Protectorate books, perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Jodi Taylor, or Meljean Brook.
Delicate Sensibilities?
Contains fraternizing vampires and one very curious young lady, who asks about seduction, sometimes in detail but mostly in retrospect. May also involve excessive use of velvet, melodramatic poetry, and the strategic application of interpretive ballet.
Also by Gail Carriger set in the Parasolverse
The Curious Case of the Werewolf that Wasn't
The Finishing School series (start with Etiquette & Espionage) The Delightfully Deadly stories The Parasol Protectorate series (start with Soulless) The Supernatural Society stories The Custard Protocol series (start with Prudence) The Claw & Courtship stories (try How to Marry a Werewolf)
As G L Carriger
The San Andreas Shifter series (start with The Sumage Solution) The 5th Gender

DEFY OF DEFEND (Delightfully Deadly #2)

The Universe

I have a few books or series that I go back to when I can’t figure out what else to read. They’re a sort of happy place, a familiar world that calms me. At the very top of this list sits Gail Carriger and pretty much everything related to her main body of work, The Parasolverse.

The Parasolverse encompasses a wide variety of books that span everything from YA steampunk espionage to steamy Adult urban fantasy. There’s something for everyone in Gail’s catalogue. Now if you’re like me and marathon an author’s entire traditionally published universe and still want more, Gail STILL has more for you to enjoy in her Parasolverse. Gail self publishes too!

The Delightfully Deadly Novellas are a series of shorter tales taking place after her Finishing School series, each featuring one of Miss Geraldine’s girls as an adult. However, unlike The Finishing School series, the Delightfully Deadly novellas are self published instead of published with a traditional publisher. These are not the first novellas Carriger has published this way. She has several other novella series that she releases this way. Because of this she is experienced in this format and able to create books that are of much higher quality than most self published titles.

The Book

Today we’re focusing of the newest of the Delightfully Deadly novellas, DEFY OR DEFEND. DEFY OR DEFEND is the much anticipated story following Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott. I think Dimity’s story was probably the most asked for of Miss Geraldine’s pupils’ stories, purely because she is the best friend of Finishing School’s protagonist. That’s not to say she is not a great character of her own. In fact DEFY OR DEFEND only makes her better by the time you get to the end.

Set between Finishing School and Parasol Protectorate, DEFY OR DEFEND features characters from both series. You get the ones you expect, like Dimity, but you also get a few surprises that will have you squealing if you’ve also read SOULLESS and the other Parasol Protectorate books.

Dimity continues “intelligencing” as she was trained, now working for the British Home Office. She meets all sorts of creatures and characters as she works and even a sexy soldier or two. Now, being sent to deal with a crumbling vampire hive she will find more than just blood suckers. One of my favorite characters is a young trans vampire whom she encourages to truly be themselves (and who steals her nightgown because its pretty).

LGBT Representation

Carriger excels at highlighting LGBTQ+ characters of all types throughout her books. She always laughs that her “best” worst review is someone complaining that after 5 books they just now became disappointed that her books have a “homosexual agenda”. Considering said series has a flamboyantly gay vampire who lives in a house full of pretty young men I’m not sure how that took them 5 books. Happily Carriger has continued featuring LGBT characters in the majority of her books, never to be deterred by such a silly comment.

As is usual for a Parasolverse novella, Dimity gets a studly love interest of her own. He’s probably one of the best in the series, if not the Parasolverse itself. I love him. I love him even more in his little dance outfit. Between the two of them, he and Dimity give the hive a nice overhaul and a nudge in the right direction. I hope that means we’ll see more of them in the future. Heck, after this book I’d be happy to see Dimity and/or the hive get a series of their own.

*makes sad puppy eyes at Miss Gail*

Overall I would say this is my favorite Delightfully Deadly novella, and my second favorite of all her novellas so far. The only one that beats it is ROMANCING THE WEREWOLF, Biffy and Lyle’s sweet little tale (or tail, since we speak of werewolves).

I can’t wait for more Parasolverse books in the future. Gail has already stated that there will be a Delightfully Deadly #3 and you can bet I’m going to preorder it as soon as I can. Gail is at the very top of my autobuy list for a reason and I believe I currently have a complete set of physical Parasolverse books.

If you’d like to see more about the Parasolverse, Gail has a lovely rundown on her website.

Have you read any of Gail Carriger’s books? Which is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below.

From my shelf to yours,


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