Kat Dunn's historical YA book 'Dangerous Remedy' feels like a prequel
Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn ★★★
"The job was still the job. Sick, strange, twisted, but still the job."
I received this e-book from Netgalley. This does not affect my review or opinion. All thoughts are my own and I'm being 100 percent honest. Thank you to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for providing me this e-book for reviewing purposes.
Dangerous Remedy has an interesting plot and could've been the new Six of Crows. However, it fell a little flat for me. It took me a while to really get into the story and I didn't have any connections with these characters. The story is very slow-paced and only really gets interesting in the last 30 percent of the book.
Dangerous Remedy is about the Batallion of the Dead. 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.
First of all, let me say this. The cover is gorgeous and really corresponds with the story. The color scheme of it felt very accurate compared to the story and I love the whole vibe of it.
The plot is an interesting one and it genuinely grabbed my attention when I read the blurb. Dangerous Remedy's pace is a weird one, meaning the story starts in the middle of a mission. As the reader, you're thrown into this quest without knowing these characters. Even though the book has a lot of action in it, the plot takes a while to kick in and really starts. So throughout 60 percent of the book, you're reading random things about these characters but when the plot starts, it's good. It had a lot of plot twists at the end which I liked. Normally I don't mind a slow start, but with this book, it didn't offer me anything in return. Dangerous Remedy felt more like a prequel to this series rather than the first book.
A thing I really enjoyed in Dangerous Remedy is the fact that the characters are very diverse. There are some POC characters and characters that are LGBTQIA+. That's a nice thing to add to this book. It gives the story something extra, something more special. So I liked the diversity of the cast but didn't really care for these characters. I read this whole book and didn't feel connected to any of them. It felt like I didn't know who these people were. I was expecting a story like Six of Crows. A story about a group of comrades who have a lot of banter between them and are very close. It didn't feel like that at all. I had the impression all the members hated each other or didn't even really know each other that well. The characters together didn't feel like a squad of friends. I also would've liked more depth to the characters. They fell flat and I didn't care for them.
I normally don't like historical YA. I never had a thing for history, I didn't like it at school and wasn't very good at it either. Dunn, however, makes it very interesting. The world-building was pretty good in Dangerous Remedy. It felt like I was there in the town watching how people were being led to the guillotine. I did enjoy the historical aspect of the book and will definitely read more books like this one.
Would I recommend it? I wouldn't necessarily recommend it because I have read better books but I wouldn't say Dangerous Remedy is a bad book. The plot took too long before it started but when it did, it got very interesting and thrilling to read. I would read the next one in this series.
Kat Dunn grew up in London and has lived in Japan, Australia and France.
She has a BA in Japanese from SOAS and an MA in English from Warwick. She’s written about mental health for Mind and The Guardian, and worked as a translator for Japanese television.
Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition, and Dangerous Remedy is her first novel.