Book Reviews · Reading

Review: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, 41577908revolutionaries—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…

My thoughts:

  • One of my favourite troupes right now is mixing historical w/ fantasy and this book perfects that blend. I’m no expert on revolutionary France, but the world building here was so vivid and real, and the magic system was weaved in effortlessly.
  • I really enjoyed the relationship between Camille and her young sister, Sophie. I thought the love and care was so clear, and as an overprotective older sister, I got Camille’s instinct to shelter Sophie. The fact that we saw flaws in both of their actions was great too, it made the relationship feel more real.
  • The writing in this book was beautiful. I could picture Paris and Versailles and hot air balloons and printing presses galore. If I can write half as well as Gita one of these days, I’ll be so happy!
  • The romance. Firstly, Lazare was dreamy. I fell in love with him in the same way Camille did. At one point I thought we were headed for a love triangle, and I am SO glad the book didn’t head in that direction. The one drawback for me was that I wanted a little more buildup with the romance–it felt like it jumped from ‘I really fancy you’ to ‘you’re the one!’ a little too quickly.
  • The plot was sometimes a little plodding. It took me a good fifty pages to really get into the story. I also wasn’t that surprised by the way in which the story played out. It was headed towards a logical conclusion, and it that’s where the story ended up! Despite this, I was never bored. Once I was hooked, I couldn’t put this book down. Reading it was like slipping into a dream for a while.
  • Overall, I LOVED Enchantee, and it was well worth me pre-ordering it! I’m also very excited that there will be a second book, following the characters into the French Revolution, and I’ll definitely be picking that up as soon as it’s out.


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