ARC Review: Enchantée

enchantée


Title: Enchantée

Author: Gita Trelease

Series: N/A

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Release Date: February 7th 2019

Rating:

Four Stars

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…

…The Plot

She flipped her last remaining card face up and waited for their jeers.
“Merde! How is it possible?” Sandrine swore.
Next to her two red cards – the ace and the ten – lay a ten of spades. So much like the eight, but with two wonderful lips in the middle. The either of spades seemed to have—vanished?

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.

She’d studied so hard to learn all of Sophie’s etiquette, and now there were more rules, magical ones she didn’t understand.”The only magician I knew was my mother. She told me almost nothing.”
“Not proud of her heritage?”

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.

…The Characters

“By working the glamoire and using the sinister, magic-threaded dress, Camille had stepped over some kind of dark and desperate threshold.
Now she stood on the other side. It was a lonely place.”

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.

“I know you love to dance, darling,” Camille said carefully as she watched Alain out of the corner of her eye, “but you’ve been so ill—”
“Alain asked me to.” Sophie’s narrow chest heaved. “He wanted to see if I was still a good dancer.”
“And she is!” Alain’s smile gleamed. “I’ll find her a husband yet. See if I don’t.”

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.

“Is the great magician Camille Durbonne afraid?” Sophie said gleefully. “Afraid to fly through the air? Afraid to say yes to a boy?”
She was. And what if it was more than that? What if, when he got to know her better, she was nothing like what he imagined she might be, like a coin turning back into a nail?

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

“Down avenues of parquet, under jangling chandeliers, past innumerable marble rooms, Camille ran. She raced past whitefaced statues and portraits of men on horseback and more mirrors than she had ever seen in her life.
In each one, she couldn’t help but look. Invisible hands were erasing the glamoire.”

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.

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12 thoughts on “ARC Review: Enchantée

  1. I finally managed to get around to reading this one, and I’d have to agree with you. The magic was described fairly well and the world-building was strong, but the plot took far too long to develop. And the relationships Camille has with her family and Lazare were well written. But I felt that the “villain” of the book was superfluous and that the build-up to the French Revolution was underutilized. It felt like the beginning of something, not the end. And I was sad that the focus on Camille’s balancing act of using magic and gambling was never fully realized. Her time in the gambling dens felt glossed over, so some of the suspense was taken away from what should be an extremely tense and suspenseful sequence of events. There were a few things that fell short in the book, but there were many strengths the author’s world-building and her characterization of Camille. Wonderful review, as always, Beth! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m glad you managed to read this book then Azia. 🙂 Yeah the world building was really strong (which I am really glad about because the world building is a large part of the reason I was interested in this book) but it couldn’t wholly make up for the slow plot.
      I get what you mean, it would have been better if the villain had been taken out of the story and instead the French revolution had a bigger impact. I would have loved to see more of Camille’s power too.
      The concept of this book was an interesting one, but yeah like you said too many things just fell short.
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I loved all the descriptions of the french dress and the city environment, as well as the little snippets of French dialogue!
        I agree; I think a larger focus on the consequences of Camille’s use of magic and the growing unrest in France would have made a much better conflict. Even though the book wasn’t as amazing as we hoped, I’m still looking forward to reading more from this author. She’s a lovely writer 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep, and I think she’s writing other books set in the same world. (I can’t remember where but I feel like I did read something along those lines). I’d be interested to see the story expand, maybe another book will improve on the issues we had with this one.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Beth ❤️

    I love the sound of this book SO much and I’m so excited to read it. The blurb reminds me so much of The Night Circus – one of my all time favourite books. I’m happy you enjoyed the world building (the world and scenes sounds really magical) and I’m also happy that you loved the characters and that they had great relationships with one another.

    I’m sad to hear that the plot was slow and it took some time to get into the action, this is always frustrating when you’re excited about a story and you just want to get to the amazing parts! I’m still keeping it on my TBR for now and will probably still give it a read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Michelle. 🙂 ❤️ Yeah that’s what the blurb reminded me of, the sound of the story and the world combined was like a blend of The Night Circus and Caraval, and as those two are favourites of mine I couldn’t resist picking this one up. 🙂 The world building was great (I mean it wasn’t quite The Night Circus great but what is?) and between that and the relationships there was enough to keep my interested even with the slow plot. I suppose we can’t have it all, I imagine there are books higher on your TBR list but I’d still recommend this. It was a good read and I think you’d still enjoy it. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shame you ended up being a little letdown by this book. It’s a pity it took so long for the action promised on the blurb to happen and that it felt like only the beginning of the story. It’s good that the relationship between alain and Camille was well written at least. And glad to hear the romance was sweet. I’m especially excited about the world building. It sounds decent overall- though I think I’ll have to lower my expectations for this one. Excellent review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it had a great concept, and kind of gave me Caraval/The Night Circus vibes when I thought of the magic and the setting described in the blurb, but it was just too slow.
      Definitely, I mean it wasn’t a good relationship but it was well written so I enjoyed reading their dynamic.
      The world building was decent, and so were the relationships, it was just the plot and pacing that let this one down for me.
      Thanks so much. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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