1794, Paris and the revolution is in full swing. Camille, the daughter of a revolutionary, leads a group of outcasts as they fight to rescue those unjustly punished from prison before they face the guillotine. There’s Ada, Camille’s lover and wannabe scientist, Guil, an army deserter, and Al, a disgraced aristocrat – together the four of them are the Battalion of the Dead. Their latest rescue mission sees them encounter Olympe, a girl with dark and mysterious powers, and as they try and figure out a way to stay alive, they find themselves caught between the Royalists and the Revolutionaries as both sides want to use Olympe for their own gain.
Dangerous Remedy is the first book in a YA historical fantasy trilogy and boy does it start with a bang. It drops you straight into the action – mid-prison break in fact – and from there the pace, excitement and adventure never really lets up. I read Dangerous Remedy in just a couple of days as it was a really readable book with a lot of action and twists and turns and drama that it leaves you wanting to see what happens next.
I liked the characters a lot though some characters got less focus and some of the relationship dynamics I wasn’t so sure about. Dangerous Remedy is a dual POV story with chapters tending to alternate between Camille and Ava’s perspectives. Naturally this means you see how they both feel about each other but what they say to one another and their actions don’t often tally up with how they feel when you’re in their heads. It doesn’t quite mesh and if I didn’t get their internal thoughts and feelings, I’d sometimes wonder why they were together. Guil is the one in the team I feel we know the least about and he is kind of the character that’d I’d forget about as he doesn’t really have anything that makes him standout. Al, on the other hand, was my favourite as he’s snarky, gay and fluctuates between being a showman and super cagey.
With Camille it’s interesting as some of her actions or personalities traits made me wonder if I’d find them as frustrating if she was a guy. She keeps everything close to her chest and is very much a what she says goes kind of person which can hurt the other members of the Battalion. She, like the rest of the team, has gone through traumatic things in her past which doesn’t necessarily excuse her actions but does explain them. She and Al butt heads a lot but it’s one of those things where they rub each other the wrong way because they are so similar even if they don’t want to admit it.
It is very easy to compare Dangerous Remedy to the likes of Six of Crows due the ragtag group of heroes and all the heist-like plans and double-crossing. However, I think it’s a disservice to both series as they are still very different. Dangerous Remedy makes full use of its historical setting as the tensions in Paris have a big effect on the characters pasts and the situation they currently find themselves in. Plus, it’s only Olympe’s powers which is the fantastical element at the moment making Dangerous Remedy more historical fiction than fantasy really.
How Dangerous Remedy blends science with magic is pretty clever and interesting. The powers Olympe has seemed to be around electricity and it’s natural for characters to not understand what’s going on with her as it’s set in the late eighteenth century and electricity was an idea that hadn’t been fully explored yet.
Dangerous Remedy is a really fun and engaging book and I’m someone who loves heist stories with a (reluctant) found family and these teenage heroes fit the bill. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. 4/5.