Cover Image: Dauntless

Dauntless

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Member Reviews

Dauntless, to me, was a book that had lots of potential but ultimately was just very average. I LOVED the Filipino representation (I don't think I've read any this year? Let alone in the past few years??), and also loved that the two main romances gave us both a sapphic couple and a het couple that were both enjoyable. However, I found myself rooting for Eshai and her man more than our main two characters, solely because it didn't feel fleshed out enough to me. That's honestly how most of this book felt: great plot and ideas, but not enough time devoted to them to make me properly feel things for them. However, with the way things were written, I could definitely see a sequel in the future though this was written to be a standalone, so if that were ever to come out, I may change my mind.

Overall, very fun and action packed, just needed a little extra something. I would still definitely recommend, as it was a good read.
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After picking up DAUNTLESS multiple times because of how good and intriguing it sounded, I've come to the conclusion that the writing style just isn't for me. I can't seem to get through the rest of the book so, unfortunately, I've decided to DNF it.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

I enjoyed this immensely! Dauntless is a Filipino-inspired YA fantasy and was full of fun twists and turns throughout the entire story. Seri as a main character was really interesting, and it was fun to follow her as she learned that the world wasn't necessarily as black and white as she had previously thought. The relationship that develops was adorable, and the beasts in this world were really fascinating. 

We all know I love a good animal companion, so the fact that that develops as well during the story was nothing but a bonus. I gave this book four stars and, if the end indicates that there is a sequel coming sometime in the future, I'd love to continue on in the series.
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i felt like this one started out really strong for me concept-wise, but kind of lost me halfway through. the romance between ceri and tsana felt a bit rushed and almost forced (same for eshai too, to be honest). i really did love the idea of the world and the treetop societies, but i don’t know, i think i’m just left confused a bit on the whole.
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Exciting YA fantasy, with a kick butt female lead, and little bit of sapphic romance. This book was a little slow at first but once you get in to it really keeps you involved.  I haven’t read another fantasy book with the this type of magic system before, and it’s always fun when an author can put a new spin on we haven’t seen before. I would read  a full series based in this world.
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I am going to make this short as I don't want to put spoilers in this review. But I loved this so much and I highly recommend it to everyone. Will be ordering me a phyisical copy this week.
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I enjoyed reading this "girl power" sci-fi/fantasy book with two strong female main characters. It's not something I would normally pick up, but I did like it as I read. I can definitely see a lot of students at my school checking this book out.
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A must-read! This book is a refreshing take on YA fantasy with great characters and amazing world building. Bonnin has got the chops!
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Seri is a member of the People, a society that lives above the ground, in huge trees called spreading trees. They live in these trees to avoid the beasts - animals of a wide range of types that attack people at random and at will. Young people who desire to help protect their community can train to be a valiant - a member of a fighting group, called a valor, that exists to protect the tree cities from the beasts.

Seri is not a valiant, nor does she have any desire to be - but she is assigned to valor leader Eshai as her aide, and gets drawn into the life of the valor over time. Eshai travels to another city and takes Seri with her, and there, Seri meets Tsana, a girl unlike anyone she's ever met before. But Tsana has a secret - and more, she knows something about Seri that Seri doesn't know about herself. Seri and Tsana are from different cultures, and the difference is vast and fundamental.

Dauntless documents a quest to save the People from the beasts, and also from outside forces that seek to destroy their world. This is a novel about getting to know oneself, about learning about other cultures, and accepting and working within the differences between cultures. The differences are between those who fight the beasts and those who have learned to live with them, but they mirror many of the differences seen between many groups in our own society, and the need to understand those differences. There are some great characters in this novel, who learn and grow and make mistakes, and it's a well-done and enjoyable story.
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DAUNTLESS is an incredible and refreshing YA fantasy, with all of my favorite elements. Sapphic warriors from opposite sides of a conflict meeting together! Court intrigue! Adventure! Really incredibly lush scenery! ARCHERY. I recommend picking it up. Four stars.
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I thought this was a first book to a series so I am not reviewing this title as this time. I might review later if I am able to get around to reading the first book.
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“She wasn’t that same girl anymore—the one who stood back and let people die because of her, let people save her, all because she was too scared to stand out. Too afraid to be seen for who she was. She wouldn’t be that girl ever again.”

DAUNTLESS is an action-packed young adult fantasy novel about two girls on opposite sides of an ancient conflict. It’s set in a Filipino-inspired world where the People live in massive trees to protect themselves from the Beasts who roam the known world. Seri ends up as the assistant to a young valor commander charged with leading her valiants to protect a new settlement. When Seri meets Tsana, a girl from the unknown world, it shakes up everything she knows about her world and even her own past.

I really enjoyed the world Bonnin has created here: the light fantasy elements, the clashing cultures, the slowly unraveling mysteries, and the parallels to our own world. The plot does not stop, with gripping battles and compelling twists. There’s a lovely little sapphic romance and some powerful character development for Seri. The setting is beautifully done too, lush and atmospheric. A really solid queer YA fantasy. Thanks to Fierce Reads for the eARC!

Content warnings: injury, blood, violence, death, death of a parent, animal injury/death, physical and emotional abuse, suicidal thoughts
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The worldbuilding in Dauntless was so gorgeous. It reminded me of the fantasy books I grew up with: interesting worldbuilding, beautiful settings, lots of action, and a dash of romance! I
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Thanks to NetGalley & Swoon Reads for the early copy in exchange for an honest review. Sadly, I was unable to keep reading due to a lack of interest and left it at 20% of the way through. 

I really could not understand the worldbuilding--this book really throws you into the middle of chaos, a war between humans and animals, I guess? There appears to be some magic involved but not too much. I couldn't keep track of the characters, they were all the same forgettable battle-hardened warriors except one of the protagonists who doesn't seem to like to fight. There are really expansive descriptions but my personal taste is the fewer details, the better left to the imagination. It didn't help that the description of the scenery annoyed me because the characters were so 2D already...can they get some descriptions, too?
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This is one of those books where I just knew going into it that I was going to like it. Dauntless has a lot of things I love in a fantasy novel, but it also introduced me to things I don’t think I’ve ever seen done before, or at the very least, not this well.

I honestly recommend going into this book knowing as little as possible, I think learning everything organically really helps this world feel real and grounded. And what a world it was. I love when fantasy worlds are dripping with history and legend, and Bonnin did such an amazing job crafting exactly that. All of this world felt believable, and the lore that suffuses everything about the way these characters interact with that world is excellently written.

The characters themselves were also top tier. Seri was such an excellent protagonist, and I really loved how she alone could be the central character of this story. From anyone else’s point of view, this would have been an insanely different book, and while I think it could have still been a good book, it would not have been this good. Seri is headstrong and wracked with guilt, but more than that she’s endlessly brave, and she doesn’t even really recognize it in herself.

The side characters were just as compelling. They each felt so fleshed out and well-rounded, with histories of their own that you learned slowly. It truly felt like getting to know someone as opposed to an infodump. I actually really loved Eshai, or more specifically getting to break down the walls around her identity and finding a real person underneath. Tsana was another favourite, I often felt just as frustrated with her as the other characters did but I think she really holds her own as a character and a love interest.

I think one of my favourite things about this book was the way that Tsana’s society was often more advanced than Seri’s (especially in regards to weaponry) but Bonnin never made Seri or Eshai or anyone else look less intelligent for being confused. This is something I see often in fantasy novels where one group has obvious advantages and the characters that haven’t been exposed to that written as though that makes them uneducated or dim-witted. I find it frustrating, and I really appreciate that Bonnin leaned into humanity’s natural curiosity.

The romance itself was also really well written in my opinion. Seri and Tsana had a really interesting push and pull to their dynamic that I thought was fantastic, I really could not help myself but ship them. Eshai and Lavit’s little secondary romance was also incredibly cute, I think the sweetness of it played really nicely with the seriousness of Seri and Tsana’s relationship and made them feel very different.

I really cannot think of a single thing I would change about this book. I loved the adventure aspect, court intrigue books are great and all (I read plenty!) but my heart lays with characters venturing off into the great unknown, in this case quite literally. I think Dauntless has something for everyone, and if it isn’t already on your TBR it definitely needs to be.
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The best thing about the message of bravery that Dauntless shows us is that it emphasizes the fact that there are so many different kinds of courage. There’s the courage to stand up to our enemies. And there is also the courage to stand up to our friends. There’s the bravery needed to face the past. The bravery needed to confront your abusers and tell them, enough. And of course, the courage to admit your feelings.

Dauntless tells us that there is no one way to be brave. All that matters is having conviction and strength of will to do what is right. Especially in the defense of others. What a beautiful message, don’t you think? We all owe it to the people around us, those who we share a sense of community with, to try our best to be strong and brave for one another. And every character in Dauntless displays this to the fullest extent.
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WOW! I have been putting Dauntless off for some time and I did not expect to like this one so much!!

Is this a debut novel because I am obsessed!!!

5 STARS!
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Dauntless was just so much fun to read. The lush world combined with dangers lurking inside and outside plus superheroes!! And everyone, who wanted to work for it, CAN be a superhero or rather a Valiant. Such a great name instead of ‘superhero’ and a group of Valiant is known as Valor – again such great naming convention!!! Let’s not even get into the names of the characters. 

Told from 2 perspectives, Seri, who began as practically a nobody but got roped into being an assistant to the Commander, and Eshai, the legendary Commander. Together they fought off attacks, explored the unknown, found respect & friendship in each other and be braved enough for love. While it wasn’t quite unputdownable for me, I have really enjoyed this world which is full of surprises and enough action AND romance to keep the read exciting for me.
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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!
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A powerhouse of a debut from Elisa Bonnin! It's a story of women finding their agency and bravery, which I am always a fan of. While the book does start slow, it by no means stays that way. Bonnin's worldbuilding and Filipino cultural references were beautifully done. I cannot overstate the intricacy of Bonin's worldbuilding, and how her pacing always felt like I was learning something new. A win all around!
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