Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn
Publisher: Zephyr Books
Publication date: 06 August 2020
Genre: YA historical fantasy
Page count: 432 pages
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
Dangerous Remedy has been on my radar for ages — I love a good historical fantasy and the French Revolution setting caught my eye. I think that for a reader like me, who has become incredibly picky about what I do and do not like in YA over the years, this one didn’t quite hit the mark. However, I think you’ll enjoy this one if you’re a dedicated YA reader and are looking for a fantasy with a different flavour.
Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?
In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.
A number of elements in this book didn’t click with me, however there were bits that I did enjoy. Dunn does a fantastic job with the world building — Dangerous Remedy is a book that really lets you sink into the setting. You can fully imagine each character winding through the dark streets of Paris, ducking into safe houses or huddling in cafes. I also really loved the opening sequence — who doesn’t love a prison break? A good heist is always going to get my attention. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get on with the story or the fantasy elements — I feel like there was a load of potential there that didn’t quite hit the mark.
Dangerous Remedy is a squad book, therefore the characters are the most important aspect of the book. This is where it fell a little flat for me — I just couldn’t connect with a single character. Camille and Ada are the stars of the show, and while I loved the fact that we got an established f/f relationship, they just felt a little flat. I’m not sure why — they both were great on paper as strong heroines with difficult pasts and good instincts. They just didn’t have that extra spark that makes characters memorable and special. I also found myself getting more and more annoyed with the fact that their priorities needed some serious reconsideration. They’d be in literal life or death situations and they’d be distracted by some argument they had had pages before.
Strangely, I was much more interested in the male characters than these girls. However, they felt more like background characters than actual members of the squad — they had absolutely no chance to shine. We spend so little time getting to know Al — easily the most interesting character in the book and someone who had the potential to be absolutely amazing and layered — and Guil is almost non-existent. I felt this was a real shame — a good balance between characters would have really helped my reading of the book.
Dangerous Remedy was a fun YA summer read, but not one that will stick with me. I will not continue on with the series, however I’d be curious to see what Dunn does next.
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