Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing a free, digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Enchantée (Enchantée #1)
Author: Gita Trelease
Release date: February 5, 2019
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Length: 459 pages
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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…”
Here’s the thing: this book has a great premise and I thought it was well-executed. I loved the mystery and intrigue, but I cannot say enough how much the pacing seriously made the book worse. I complained about it from the very beginning, and sadly, it carried through until the last 10 or so chapters of the book. In these last ten chapters, so much happened! The pacing was good, scene after scene of good action that carries the plot, but why oh why couldn’t it be that way the whole book? 😔 These last chapters were the reason I bumped my rating from 2 to 2.5 stars. But despite that I did like the major plot points, loved how the main character slid seamlessly (almost too easily?) into each world she had built for herself. I don’t quite see how a sequel will come from this book as I thought ending was good. Alas, we’ll see.
I definitely enjoyed all the characters (except the villain, obviously). I loved the sisterly relationship between Camille and Sophie, though I did think Camille wasn’t really fair to her younger sister a lot of times. Despite the hardships they have faced in life, they really come to their own and you know, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t mind too much if the next book had chapters from Sophie’s POV. I loved Camille’s friends when she went to Versailles. I loved Lazare and his internal struggle of wanting to be French for his father’s sake but also not wanting to wholly give up his Indian heritage, too. It’s a struggle I know too well, and while it sucked to read how others thought of Lazare as a biracial character, I know there’s a spark of truth to the the accusations and contempt toward Lazare. Of course I really despised Camille’s brother, Alain. I want to punch him in the face every time he’s on screen, and I’m glad Camille reacted to him the way she did. He deserved nothing more!
Trelease is great a writer. Next to loving Regency and Victorian England, France before the French Revolution is one of my favorite time periods. I just have this thing about aristocrats even though most of them sucked during this time period. I envisioned things perfectly and it was all thanks to Trelease and her ability to bring you to Paris and Paris to you!
Sadly, this won’t be a book I’ll buy to add to my own collection. If it the sequel releases, I might pick it up, but it’s just hard to imagine when the pacing of this one was incredibly slow and left me struggling to even finish the book.
Check out these other reviews for Enchantée:
- Mia over at Pens and Parchment loved the book! Because she loved it, I really thought I was going to as well, but alas.
- Malanie at MalanieLovesFiction felt indifferent toward the book.
- Tahlia from Muse of Nyxmares provided a thorough and thoughtful review of the book.