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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Gail Carriger brings you a charming story of love, espionage, and Gothic makeovers set in her popular Parasolverse.

Narrated by the wonderful Emma Newman.

Spy...

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.

Versus knight...

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 of them are vampire experts, but when 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. 

Spinning off from the Finishing School series, featuring deadly ladies of quality, this story stands alone but chronologically follows Poison or Protect. It's Cold Comfort Farm meets Queer Eye meets What We Do In the Shadows from the 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 it, sometimes in detail, but mostly in retrospect. May also involve excessive use of velvet, melodramatic poetry, and the strategic application of interpretive ballet.

©2020 Gail Carriger LLC (P)2020 Gail Carriger LLC

What listeners say about Defy or Defend

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Delightful indeed!

The first Carriger books I actually read were the Finishing School series, and Dimity was my favorite character, so I was very excited to see that hers was the second Delightfully Deadly novella! And it really is as delightful as I would expect from a novella with Dimity as the heroine! It's nice to see her as an adult and how she's grown and changed, and stayed the same as well. I also adore her moniker- it suits her so well! Crispin is very sweet and so very repressed, and I for one spent the novel supporting Dimity's determination to climb him like a tree.
I also really loved the way Justice was handled as a character, and of course seeing little cameos of Lord Maccon and Pillover, and mentions of Sophronia and Soap, Sidheag, and Agatha!
The narrator did very well, but sometimes her voice changes were a little subtle for me to catch which character was speaking, and there were a few places where she said the wrong character's name in a scene or seemed to stumble over a word, but nothing major and it didn't really pull me out of the story.

5 people found this helpful

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I'm a fan, but this one is skippable fluff

The best Parasolverse books pull off a rare balancing act: they're both broad satires of a genre and stirring examples of the genre. You care about the characters and get caught up in their adventures and romances, even while the humor pushes the limits of the ridiculous. Not "Defy or Defend," alas. It's all fluff, all arch whimsy, all Parasol and no Protectorate. It's harmless and occasionally fun, but a bit tiresome and utterly forgettable--which is fitting for a book focused on Dimity, who may be the most forgettable major Carriger character.

3 people found this helpful

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remember to read full description before hand.

while I did thoroughly enjoy the story, I neglected to realize it was an erotic novel. now while, I am 27 years old, I'm not so inclined as to enjoy erotic scenes being read to me.

the performance was good as well. while I was coming off the back of the parasol protectorate, and had gotten very used to the previous narrator, this one was very charming for the story and character. though, I wasnt as big a fan of how she pronounced certain names and it took me too long to realize she was referring to B.U.R. when she'd say Brr.

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Totally enjoyed hearing Dimity's story

First, before you read this book you owe it to yourself to read the 4 YA novels in the Finishing School series where Dimity features as the best friend. Once you have invested that time in this woman who loves sparkles, you will truly enjoy hearing her romance. I loved that the very "make pretty" interests she had that never seemed quite enough during her espionage training, ended up being just the thing to save the day in this novel. The relationship between the two was solid, though I did find myself unclear as to exactly what his father had done to make the son so dislike him. It was alluded to a few times, but I was left with more questions than answers. Well worth it!

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fun

I have read this book and I was delighted by the narration in this audible version. Emma Newman did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. I was also delighted to have found that this was a nod to Cold Comfort Farm... which I just read (after first reading Defy or Defend) and complimented my enjoyment of the audio version. Cris and Dimity are the cutest couple.

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All the best parts of all the best things

I believe that Gail Carriger's books are for everyone and this one is no exception. I laughed out loud, I got a little teary eyed, I gasped, I sat on the edge of my seat. This book is thoroughly enjoyable. Its like if you took the best parts of Queer Eye, the best parts of HGTV and the very best parts of fanfiction and you put them all together in a wonderful book. Then you took that book and added a few drops of your favorite tea and a few crumbs of the very best food. Don't be put off by it being a part of a series and a part of an even greater universe, you can most definitely read this on its own if you are so inclined. But if you want to explore the entire parasolverse you will find lovely little connections for you to enjoy.

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Delightful

Another delightful tale by Gail.
Gail never fails to lift my spirits.
Best enjoyed with a cup of hot tea and little nibbles!
Emma does a fantastic job narrating and let’s me get lost in the story and characters completely.

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Gail did it again!

Gail Carriger has written some great books in my mind. Her ability to take stuck up Victorian England and add in vampires, ghosts, and werewolves, while still keeping it prim and proper is amazing. This book was in the same vain and done very well. It was a nice look at Dimity and explanation of what happened to her after finishing school. It played to her characters strength and was exactly what it should be. Well done, and a really nice completion to another part of the story.

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Another winner from Gail Carriger!

What a lovely story. As always I am impressed by Carriger’s treatment of LGBTQ characters.

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Delightful frilly perfection

Everything about this book is uplifting and humorous. It’s a feel good ode to the true joy of finding and fulfilling a true calling after years of just doing a job. Dimity is sublime. Justice is a vision. And The Baroness made me giggle hard enough to startle my coworker. (So good I listened at work!)

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  • Roberta Reads
  • 09-10-20

Full of beautiful and humorous writing

Another truly excellent book from Gail Carriger, Defy or Defend is Dimity’s story. It is full of all the beautiful and humorous writing that characterises the author’s writing. As it is Dimity’s story, it is also full of sparkles. I chuckled lots (both at the witty words, and the story itself), and enjoyed the whole book immensely. All the characters are well written - they all have their own personalities and motivations, and seem real.

Emma Newman does an excellent job of narrating this audiobook (as she always does). The reading is clear and easy to listen to. The expression is excellent, bringing all the characters and their various emotions to life, and highlighting the brilliant and subtle humour of the writing.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone, really. Obviously, you get extra enjoyment if you’ve read Gail’s other books, as a few characters pop in to say hello.

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  • Amanita
  • 08-13-20

Simply wonderful!

As usual GC delivers! A delightful follow up from the Finishing School series, it's so lovely to meet the characters again and catch up with their lives. I loved Presheas book and loved Dimities just as much! Will there be more? I really hope so!
Highly recommended!

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  • Linda
  • 08-02-20

Thoroughly enjoyed!

As always, Gail Carriger has hit the spot again. An extremely engaging, entertaining book with much humour. You do not need to have read Gail's other books to listen to this, but I would recommend doing so, or check out her website to understand the world she writes about if you, as I do, like to have background. I can't think of a single one of Gail's books which I have not enjoyed - although to be honest I prefer reading about the characters from the Finishing School series as adults. Emma Newman does a very good job of narrating too. If you like the quirkier side of vampires and steam punk then this may be for you.

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  • Lauren
  • 06-18-20

Thank you Miss Gail ❤️

Just what I needed - to spend more time with Dimity (and her sparkles) and in Gail's inclusive, positive, witty world ✨ Really enjoyed the story - laughed out loud so many times - and the performance by Emma Newman. Thank you Miss Gail!

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  • London Lass
  • 06-14-20

Enjoyable fun

Delightfully quirky, very entertaining. Good story, fun characters. I always enjoy Gail Carriger's work immensely.

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  • Victoria Pring
  • 06-08-20

excellent addition to the parasolverse

I have loved all the books based in this universe but ive always had a soft spot for Dimity and I'm so glad she got her own book, it's a little more straight in there with the romance than some of the others, both characters tell you they like each other pretty much the second you meet them, but you dont get frustrated waiting for them to get together as there is so much else going on. Would reccomend reading the finishing school series first to get to know Dimity, however its not strictly necessary, this book could be read without reading any of Gail's other books.

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  • Anne H
  • 06-06-20

Delightful and just a little silly

This is wonderful, lighthearted, kind, and just a little silly - like Dimity herself. It’s a story of intrigue and occasional peril, where bustles save the day. And best of all, it features Pillover!

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  • love to read
  • 08-18-20

pirouettes and velvet

so love this wonderful tale. so happy to have a story harking back to the parasol quartets
funny laugh out loud moments. enjoy