Saturday 29 June 2019

Book Review: Enchantée; Gita Trelease.

I spent a long time leading up to reading this book but it was so worth the wait! I'm here for historical fiction mixed with a pinch of magic, and I don't read many books set during the French Revolution, so this was great!

SOURCE: ARC Sent By Publisher
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Enchantée
AUTHOR: Gita Trelease
SERIES: Enchantée (#1)
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children's Books
PAGES: 480
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians...

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she's playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

What I Liked:
  • The world-building was absolutely stunning. I was totally swept away by Trelease's Paris, especially whenever Camille visited the glittering Palace of Versailles to mingle with the aristocracy. She incorporated so much of 18th Century France into the pages - the lifestyle (for both rich and poor), the culture, the politics and the very intricate details. I was totally impressed at both the huge amount of research and knowledge that went into this book, and the way that Trelease wrote everything into it so effortlessly.
  • The characters were very likeable and well-crafted rather than falling into archetypes. Camille was a wonderful MC with lots of personality, and I liked that not all of the aristocrats were stereotypically rude and snobbish, nor were all of the poor the 'good guys'. I also really loved the incorporation of diversity into a historical society that would usually be written as through a purely white, straight lens. It added to the story without 'ticking boxes'.
What I Disliked:
  • The sub-plots at times felt a little too loosely connected to the overriding story and that confused the pacing for me. I enjoyed them individually but something was a little off with the combination. I did also feel that considering the very impressive build-up, the ending felt rushed and anti-climactic.
Overall Conclusion:
This book really made me smile, and it had pretty much everything I had wanted from the moment I saw this book announced. I loved the characters, adored the setting even more, and enjoyed the plot even though at times it got a little lost. I was originally drawn to this book thinking that it would be a stand-alone, but I'm now pretty glad it will be a series. There is so much potential in this version of France to see and do more! I'd love a little more detail on the intriguing magic system, and the big revelation regarding the Queen should certainly be addressed.

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