– 5/5 (Loved it!)
Release Date: 6 August 2020 (UK)
Publisher: Zephyr (UK)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, historical
How I read it: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
It’s my stop on the DANGEROUS REMEDY blog tour! I haven’t been posting (or reading) much this year so the blog’s been a bit silent, but I had to take part in the tour for this book!
I’m a big proponent for more UKYA fantasy novels, especially from debut authors, so I was very excited to see Zephyr launching this historical fantasy trilogy as a lead title this year. Of course I had to buy one of the fancy hardbacks from Illumicrate (it’s so pretty!) and keep it alongside my proof. (I was very lucky in that I got to read this novel a bit earlier than most people, but of course when I got my ARC I had to read it again…and will probably read it AGAIN soon…)
DANGEROUS REMEDY follows the Battalion des Mortes, a group of young people who have the risky job of saving people from the guillotine – the group is led by Camille, a girl with a secret aristocratic past, who is in love with scientist Ada. While I am all about my French action girlfriends, I have to say that the real scene-stealer was Al, another member of the gang who a) is sassy b) is gay and c) spends most of the first chapter like he’s about to barf over the side of the hot-air-balloon basket. I was also a big fan of the mysterious Olympe, the latest person that the gang have saved – why is she sewn into her dress? Why does she wear a mysterious mask? Why do both sides want to get to her?
I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, as I find a lot of it to be too dense and slow for my taste, but that wasn’t an issue here – Kat Dunn has a real skill in peppering the action with just enough detail to give you a clear picture of the setting and events, but without dragging the pace. I know next to nothing about France, or French, or anything to do with Paris (despite visiting several times) except that they have some nice buildings and tunnels of bones and also macarons are tasty. But that didn’t matter when reading this book as the descriptions are so vivid and clear – something I find super important when there’s so much going on and the characters are flitting from place to place (there’s a lot of that, especially as characters get separated and we switch back and forth between Camille and Ada’s POV).
I was so happy to see great bisexual, lesbian and gay rep in it too (Camille is bisexual, Ada is a lesbian and Al is gay) – something I definitely want to see more of in UKYA fantasy, and DANGEROUS REMEDY delivered on that front by keeping me thoroughly invested in Camille and Ada’s relationship, especially when a spanner is thrown into the works in the form of Camille’s charming ex-fiancé James. The romantic arc was well-balanced with the action-packed main plot, and intersected in certain ways I wasn’t expecting (I am usually good at predicting things in YA novels, but I was out-witted this time…).
If you are looking for a cinematic, fast-paced fantasy with plenty of twists, DANGEROUS REMEDY offers all of that with a diverse cast of characters and a nice helping of romance (love to see already established romantic relationships in YA!). The book is the first in a trilogy, and while most of the action wraps up well, it’s definitely left open in some ways for the sequel – I’m excited to see what happens to the gang next!
For fans of: ENCHANTEÉ by Gita Trelease, SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo, THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi