Blog Tour Book Review: MONSTROUS DESIGN by Kat Dunn

I received an ARC from the publishers as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on red smoke with black bottom
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - second book of trilogy



Book cover for MONSTROUS DESIGN: title in gold on red surrounded by needle and thread

1794, London: Camille and Al are desperately hunting Olympe’s kidnapper. From the glamorous excesses of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to the city’s seedy underbelly, they are caught in a dangerous game of lies and deceit. And a terrible new enemy lies in wait with designs more monstrous than they could ever imagine… Can Camille play on to the end or will she be forced to show her hand?

In Paris, the Duc is playing his own dangerous games. With Ada in his thrall, old loyalties are thrown into question. The Battalion are torn apart as never before, and everything – Ada’s love for Camille, her allegiance to the battalion itself – is under threat.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


An action packed sequel, MONSTROUS DESIGN plunges back into the world of the Terror as the Battalion of the Dead are divided by the English Channel.

We get a new POV in this entry, James – Camille’s fiancé and betrayer. He was quite an enigma in the first book, which was necessary to ensure his motives were uncertain, but now it’s nice to see into his mind and understand why he’s acting as he is. Plus it helps round him out as a character, with his own complexities and twisted loyalties.

This sequel takes us to London! I love books set in London written by Londoners – there’s a level of authenticity to the setting – from getting streets to travel right. I love my home and I love seeing it done justice. You can tell there has been a fair bit of research done into what 1790s London and Paris were like, with lots of little details sprinkled in. The clothing and food is just as superbly done.

There are some anachronisms in the language – things like OK (mid-19th century, and also came into usage in America first) and teenager (20th century, also American). I doubt most would notice it, but it did pull me out at times because they’re very easy words to work around (Olympe would be calling herself a girl not a teenager etc.)

MONSTROUS DESIGN is one of those books where, on a basic plot level, seemingly not much has changed by the end. (It’s hard to talk here without spoilers, so apologies if it’s either too vague or lets spoilers slip.) Camille hasn’t achieved her primary goal and Ada is sort of where she started. However, it feels like a lot has happened, both in terms of actions taken (and allies lost and won) and in terms of the emotional blows sustained.

The ending sets up a high stakes final book in the trilogy which cannot arrive soon enough.

Read my reviews of other books by Kat Dunn:

Battalion of the Dead (this series):

Blog tour banner with list of participating bloggers in white on red next to image of book
Blog tour banner with list of participating bloggers in white on red next to image of book

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