Reviews

Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin

cosmossol's review against another edition

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DNF at 63%
Sadly, this isn't working for me, the pacing feels all over the place and although i really love the themes of the story

cvandy34's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

haileyb_reads890's review against another edition

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adventurous hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

lqvekanej's review against another edition

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adventurous tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

berbs's review against another edition

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adventurous tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

rsk1315's review against another edition

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adventurous mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes

3.0

hannahgarstang's review against another edition

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adventurous
Was an enjoyable read. Would recommend to someone who enjoys fantasy YA with action, mystery and romance elements. 

Wouldn't recommend to someone who is grieving. 

The world building really captures your imagination, with a society built physically in the spreading trees. Exploring customs and details, like standing vigil for the dead or beads marking the trees, made the world feel lived in. 

The characters were good company. Loved the queer rep.

Careful world building, paired with a plot line that focuses on one part of a larger situation, meant there was alot set up at the end to be resolved. 
The epilogue did its best to wrap things up, but there was so much to reconcile
between the people's different cultures, their long history, the expansion of the people and all the pain and loss from the conflicts in the book. 

My interest was piqued reading the different reactions in vethaya to the conclave envoys. I was glad the author chose the reconciliation to peace narrative because stories can shape the limits of our imagination. 

Both societies had internal issues to resolve too. The hollow's strict heirachical class system where orphans are abandoned and power and blood rule. And the peoples long war with the beasts and wearing their skin and hearts as armour despite their sentience.  

The potential for nuance in all of these threads meant the epilogue  could have been a political drama novel in it's own right. Thats how good the set up was.



opalmars's review against another edition

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adventurous slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.0

 I don’t know what to say about this book. 🫤 The story is really good, *on paper*. We’re following Eshai (a legendary beast killer) and Seri (a girl who killed her best friend after he got possessed by a beast – something that no one would believe happened). These 2 end up meeting and teaming up to kill beasts who recently started behaving and strategizing like humans. They go to the capital city to let people know what’s been happening with the beasts. There, Seri meets (and falls for) Tsana, who is revealed to be part of an outsider group that can control the beasts that are attacking the People. Seri is then torn between saving her people, or joining Tsana and her group (who, turns out, knows things about Seri’s family).

It sounds SO interesting!!!! Genuinely! But, for some reason, it just didn’t work for me. 😭💔 This book never managed to grab my attention or keep me invested, unfortunately. It took me daaaays to even reach the 25% mark – the first time the book managed to catch my attention; and, even then, I lost interest really quickly.

This is the type of book that, even though I didn’t care about, I could still actually recommend. Like, YES, I was bored reading this, but I can’t actually pinpoint exactly anything BAD about this book. Even the things that I didn’t like weren’t *enough* for me to be THIS bored while reading this book. I genuinely DO NOT KNOW what happened for me to not like this book more. 😅


Things I liked:

➤ The setting!!!!! A high fantasy story that takes place on a tropical rainforest, with tree-top societies, is SO UNIQUE! The setting was definitely my favourite part of this book! I also enjoyed the magic system (where valiants kill beasts and use their remains to forge armor and weapons specifically tailored to them). Very interesting.

➤ As I mentioned, the story is really interesting, on paper. I genuinely found the plot interesting, I just didn’t get invested, for some reason.


Things I didn’t care about:

➤ The romance. Eshai and her childhood friend Lavit’s relationship was kind of interesting, but I never really cared about it. The main romance was just boring to me. Seri and Tsana start liking each other really fast. They knew each other for just a couple of days and Seri was already really intent on finding and protecting Tsana (who, as far as Seri knew, was part of a group that commands beasts and murders Seri’s People). Their bond didn’t make any sense to me; they barely knew each other! 🫥

➤ The characters were fine, but I think I’ll forget about them quickly. Perhaps if I had cared more about the other aspects of the story I would’ve cared more about the characters, too.

➤ As I already said, while the story was overall interesting, I never managed to get invested in it. So I didn’t care that much about the characters, or the romance, or the plot. To me, this was just a book I read. 😐 

azurahh's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

OK bitches now HERE is a good book! 
Dauntless is a SOLID 5/5 sapphic YA fantasy romp featuring THREE female POV characters (and no men 🎉 [lol]). 
I loved this one + it genuinely might be my fave book club* read so far this year! 
* "book club" here means my bestie and I reading stacks of sapphic novels and bitching. 
It served vibes like a slightly more grown up (and GAY) version of those 1990s/2000s middle grade fantasies like Tamora Pierce, Emily Rodda, or Linda McNabb. The world and plot captured that immersive fantastical quality that those books had when you were a kid! 
The themes, character development, and plot were definitely solid YA, but I still found them enjoyable as an adult. The setting is apparently Filipino-inspired and the world and setting were really immersive. 
The world wasn't homophobic at all which was also nice! (And had the added bonus that there was no identity talk which always takes me out of fantasy/sci-fi). 
This one is a standalone and it's super satisfying as is, so I highly recommend for a quick, fun summer beach read (or equally a curled-up-in-bed winter read!). 
Recommended for fans of Tamora Pierce, Motherland: Fort Salem, or Willow (TV show). 

thepagelady's review against another edition

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4.0

A great fantasy story with plenty of action, fun and some romance! The world building and the unique way things work was interesting and exciting to learn about! It's wonderfully written and the way everything comes together was done nicely! I loved the message throughout the story of bravery and how there are many different ways to be brave! Dauntless is a great fast-paced action adventure story with a world and characters that are easy to become invested in and want more of! I'd love to learn more about this world and how it all works. Hopefully there will be another book! Thank you Xpresso Book Tours and Elisa Bonnin for sharing this story with me!