One of the first books I remember re-reading was The Scarlet Pimpernel. It was full of mystery, daring, and a good twist at the end. Kat Dunn’s Dangerous Remedy reminds me of that book in all the right ways.
The first thing I appreciated was that even though it takes place in The Terror of Revolutionary France, the details that build the universe are all very personal to the characters. You get a sense of their Paris, coffee houses, crumbling ruins and the streets. The trauma inflicted by the revolution is very personal, and very complicated. It makes it seem more like a lived in universe, rather than just using the terror of a backdrop for the characters to play out their story.
The Battalion, made of the main Characters: Camille, Ada, Guil, Al and then eventually Olympe, have to navigate the dangers of their own making and that of the Terror. I like how the main plot kicks off, which I won’t spoil because it’s fantastic, but sets the tone of the book. The team works well together, but their work is dangerous and complicated. More than that, when their job doesn’t go to plan, it’s because of their principles and humanity. Even with horror happening around them, threatening their lives and the friendships they built, they won’t give in but instead press ahead with audacious plans. It was very fun to read, but never over the top, which I always appreciate.
Alongside the plot, there is so much emotion packed in these pages, especially between Camille and Ada. It added that layer of complexity and emotional punch, that made me want to race through to the end (and adding that extra level of danger to the situation).
Dangerous Remedy is the first book in a three books series, and what I also appreciated was that this book was not a sacrifice to that series. It has its own story and purpose, which is allowed to breath and come to a satisfying conclusion (though, warning, cliffhanger). As I’ve railed against before, having a whole book happen for no purpose other than to set up other books is A Thing Which Irks Me. It reminded me a little bit of Strange Practice, in that you get a feel for the characters – so by the second book you’re even more invested in the story.
And it is really easy to be invested in the characters, because they are all great. Camille, their headstrong leader, Ada, the smart and clever one, Guil, the ex-soldier, and Al, the aristocrat and information gather. They are all different and fun, bouncing off each other in both complementary ways (and sometimes in ways that lead them into trouble). As much as I love Ada and Camille (the best couple), my heart leads towards snarky Al (and his backstory, *sob*). I look forward tot the next instalment in the series so I can see him be more snarky.
Anyway, what a great book. I loved reading it, definitely one to pick up. It’s got love, action, daring-do, backstabbing, family secrets and so much more.