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.
Camille is panicking. They’re latest job was going swell until Ada and Al crashed the balloon and now it’s not just their mark they have to rescue. While Guil runs off to rescue their crew mates Camille delves deeper into the Prison intent on rescuing their mark, a young woman sentenced to death by a corrupt revolutionary government. Only when she stumbles into her room she senses something is wrong, the girl is practically stitched into her clothes, and has a huge metal mask around her head. When they eventually meet back with Ada, Al and Guil they realise that things are not what they seem. This girl is wanted by both the revolutionaries and the royalists, both for a deadly purpose, and in trying to save her Camille may just be risking the lives of all her crew, herself included.
This book was breathtaking. I was swept away by post revolutionary France, as someone who has visited Paris I had little trouble imagining myself in the streets along side Camille and the crew. Dunn’s descriptions of Paris and characters makes the book jump out of the pages and has you desperately gripping on for one hell of a ride.
The plot of the book is amazing but one of the things that truly makes it is the characters. Camille, a revolutionists daughter, she has seen the darker side to the revolution and knows that not everyone sentenced to Le Guillotine deserves their fate. She has a constant weight on her shoulders from her need to protect the innocent whilst also knowing she is putting the people she loves in danger. Sometimes brash and strong headed, she soon learns their is no weakness in relying on those around her.
Ada is Camille’s lover and lock picked extraordinaire, she is a big part of the brains of the operation and her knowledge of the streets of Paris makes her invaluable. She is probably the character I bonded with the most, constantly questioning her place in the world, and if Camille’s love for her can survive past the secrets she is keeping.
Al is their inside man, part of an aristocratic family who are on the run from the revolutionaries who want their heads. He still has numerous contacts and it is him people seek out when they need a rescue. Growing up in a family where showing love was a weakness, he is not one to wear his emotions on his sleeve, but he will need the skills of his crew before long.
Guil is the brawn, an ex revolutionary soldier, he went a wall when he realised that the revolutionaries were just as bad as the royalists and found his home with Camille and the others, but there is more than just his ideals keeping him there.
Finally we have Olympe, the girl they rescued from the Prison. Her story is a dark and troubled one and you can’t help but feel for this poor girl. No one, least of all her, want’s her power in anybody’s hands, and I loved seeing her characters growth through the story. This gang made for a truly unique and lovable literary crew, and with the new members we meet throughout the story you will be sure to fall in love.
Dunns writing style makes the story flow effortlessly, I found myself flying through the pages and had read the first half of the book without even realising it. It is fast paced, but manages to not loose any of the backstory/history that I enjoy being able to delve into. Dunn manages to write a well known story line but with a twist that keeps you glued to the pages and eager for the characters to find their happy ending. With plenty of twists and turns, some predictable but others appearing out of seemingly nowhere I really struggled to find a good place to put the book down, which certainly isn’t a bad thing, unless you were reading it at work like me.
Now I will warn you, there is a love triangle in this book… I know, I know but it was well done in my opinion. I find sometimes love triangles are added simply to add some unneeded tension to the plot. Does this one add tension? Yes! However, as annoyed as I was by a certain Brits entrance, their story becomes almost pivotal to the plot in a way I did not see coming at all.
An easy 4.4/5 for me. The authors descriptive writing truly blew me away and I bonded with each and every character we get introduced too. With it ending on a brilliantly written cliffhanger I will certainly be picking up the sequel.