A review by bookishflower
Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin
- Plot- or character-driven? A mix
- Strong character development? Yes
- Loveable characters? Yes
- Diverse cast of characters? Yes
- Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
- Lesbian rep
- Filipino-inspired fantasy
- star-crossed lovers
- childhood friends-to-lovers
- 'I'd let the world burn but never let it touch you' trope
This is a book I can tell will stay with me for a long time.
I think the shining star of Dauntless is without a doubt the characterisation. Both Seri and Tsana felt their age and incredibly human, with their PTSD, relationship, and coming-of-age arc handled beautifully. (I am officially a Tsana protector, if anyone says anything mean about her I am running at high speed to your location. Eshai is also very relatable, if you've ever hidden in self-preservation or felt responsible for everyone at the expense of your own welfare be prepared to cry).
The wonderful writing and world building was beautiful and completely immersive with a dark underside. The lack of a clear moral judgement or good and evil between the two people added a wonderful depth to the book too. However, this never takes over the story. The found family relationship between Seri and Eshai, Eshai and Lavit's relationship, and Tsana and Seri's lesbian romance creates the needed light and hope to balance the dark.
This was a beautiful book that deserves to get so much love!
I'm very thankful and proud to have read this book early as a part of the street team for Dauntless (all opinions are my own), and I'm very excited to be able to gush about this book with everyone on July 19th!
Graphic: Animal cruelty, Animal death, Blood, Death, Gore, Grief, Injury/Injury detail, and Violence
Moderate: Death of parent, Fire/Fire injury, Murder, and Toxic relationship
Minor: Physical abuse, Mental illness, Alcohol, Suicidal thoughts, and Classism