Author: Gita Trelease
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date: February 7th 2019
Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old Camille is left to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life…
Enchantée is a compelling historical fantasy and is Gita Trelease’s debut novel.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts On…
Since her parents’ death in order to survive Camille has been using the magie ordinaire she learnt from her mother to survive, but with her brother gambling away every real coin she earns Camille and her sister are trapped in their situation. Until Camille discovers her magic cannot just be used to turn rusted nails into coins to barter but change the faces of playing cards, and she heads to Versaille where the stakes are higher and the rewards for herself and Sophie are greater.
I had high hopes for Enchantée, the blurb sounded amazing and a lot of the bloggers I follow seemed to be really excited for its release, but unfortunately I ended up being a little let down by this book. The plot was really slow, and it took me a long time to get into the story, and really connect with Camille’s character and her journey. There was definitely potential, I loved the concept behind Enchantée, but that potential never seemed to be fully utilised.
At Versaille though Camille finds herself confronted with a very different danger than she’s faced scamming merchants and hiding coins from her brother. The glamoire she uses hides her true appearance, and the magie ordinaire changes the suite or number of the cards to winning one’s in her hands, but magic is forbidden in France and Camille is not the only magician in the court of Marie Antoinette, but she is the most untrained and she’s caught the eye of dangerous people who play the game better than she can.
Most of this story seemed to revolve around Camille using magic to gamble and win at Versaille, and it seemed to me that it was only in the last quarter of the book that the action the blurb promised actually started to happen. I did enjoy how the slow build-up of tension the gathering revolution had, as Camille sees and experiences how unhappy the commoners are with the court, added another level of danger to Camille’s journey, but it felt like we only saw the beginning in Enchantée.
Camille is trying to do what’s best for her family. Since their parents died it’s just been her, her older brother and her sister, but Sophie is ill and Alain is drunk and violent. All Camille wants is to feel safe, to earn enough money to rent a better place for herself and Sophie, but the more she travels to Versaille, the more she uses her magic, the more she becomes addicted to the gambling and the life of the court at Versaille.
The relationship between Camille and her siblings is well developed; Sophie has been ill for a long time and so Camille is very protective of her. Everything she does in this book is to earn money to secure the two of them. Camille also tries to keep Sophie as far away from Versaille as she can, knowing how dangerous it is, but Sophie finds it hard to let her sister shoulder the burden of saving them both on her own when she’s been running herself ragged using dangerous magic.
While Camille’s relationship with Alain wasn’t as positive it was really well written. Camille loved her brother, and she mourns who he used to be before the violent gambler took his place, but he’s always after more. He doesn’t have either of his sister’s best interests at heart which Camille realises very quickly, he throws them away for the gambling tables and puts them in danger, and a lot of what drives Camille in this book is wanted to flee Alain.
The romance in this book was really sweet; Lazare is part of Camille’s life outside of the court. He wants to see more of her not more of the Baroness de la Fontaine, but Camille worries what a boy with such grand designs, a boy who plans to soar among the clouds, sees in her. There are also plenty of faces Camille sees at court, and it was interesting seeing their dynamic as some of them help Camille navigate rules and expectations of Versaille, others wait for her to trip up, and more seem unaware of the game the magicians are playing.
The setting was one part of this book I loved and didn’t have any issues with. This is a really beautifully written book and that comes across well in the descriptions of Versaille and the extravagant life of those in the court of Marie Antoinette. There was a stark difference between Camille’s time at Versaille verse her time in her rundown apartment using sorrow to feed her magic. The explanation we got into the magic was also well written, and I really loved how the growing revolution was woven into this story; building in the background and adding that extra taste of danger for Camille and her friends in Versaille.
Enchantée was a good book; the world building was incredible and the characters were well developed, there were plenty of interesting relationship to learn more about. The only place this story fell down for me was the plot which was slow to develop and didn’t pick up until the very end. There was a lot of potential, it just wasn’t all realised in Enchantée.
What did you think of Enchantée? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.