Review of Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

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.

“you can’t just write “we’re all equal” on a piece of paper and expect everything to be okay. People are selfish and shortsighted and don’t know how to change”

I feel like Dangerous Remedy is an either love it or nonplussed by it book. I say it like that, as the story reminds us that the opposite of love isn’t hate but have to say I did fall down on the nonplussed side of the fence for this one. The story is pacey and whilst I do enjoy a countdown to bring focus, I feel the author backed herself into a corner by giving our team a very short time frame to work with. Kat Dunn, is though very good a writing set pieces and the opener is certainly stunning, and a pretty unique introduction to her characters. I’m a sucker for a squad and a heist and all the boxes were firmly ticked. I found I flew through the first chapters, with my heart pounding and loving that as a reader I was thrown right into the action. There were a number of similar moments throughout, which did manage to recapture the excitement of that opening stage, and the feeling of terror that some of the scenes evoked showed a real storytelling skill. However, if not in a set piece situation the story for me felt a little static, moving mainly between a couple of interchangeable safe houses, where opportunities to delve more deeply into the story felt missed.

The backdrop of revolutionary Paris was pictured well and delves into the aftermath of the execution of the Royals which is a time that often get missed. The almost blood thirsty need to take out the entirety of the aristocracy felt chilling and somewhat lawless, I would have loved to have learnt more about the Battalion and the feats they accomplished as the story shows that they had done plenty of good leading up to current events.

I sadly couldn’t get on with Camille, I found her to be utterly reckless and honestly a little bit rubbish. I have no idea why she was the leader of the Battalion where there are clearly better choices, such as Guile, close by. I get that perhaps she was painted in a comedy of errors style, but when people’s heads are literally on the block you would think that someone would have the guts to stand up to her and say “let someone else have a try.” But therein lies the problem, by lacking development in the other characters Camille is the only obvious choice to drive the story forward. Honestly I still have little idea about Olympe and why everyone’s so desperate for her and her abilities; Guile and Al had snatches of brilliant back story but they just weren’t given the time to shine which is a shame as they were probably the stand out characters for me.

I don’t know, I’m not the age demographic and I did read this during a heatwave which didn’t help so I feel bad being overly harsh as I know there is a lot of love for this book. For the most part this book was a missed opportunity for me, the book should have been longer to have allowed the author time to flesh out the characters and fully explain the situations they find themselves in. For me, having that extra knowledge and substance would have made this a 5* read because it has glorious potential. Because of the issues I had with the story I kind of feel that the twist to propel this book into sequel territory felt forced in and perhaps would have worked well as a standalone, but I’m not going to gainsay what the author has planned next. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll pick up the sequel.

Kat Dunn has a great writing style and is definitely an author I would like to read more from, I picked the quote because in the current climate it spoke to me so much and shows that Kat Dunn has a brilliance and understanding to her story telling which makes her one to keep an eye on. Dangerous Remedy was a quick and mostly enjoyable read, I just would have liked more depth.



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