SERIES: Enchantée, #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Historical Fantasy
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…
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Oft! I really wanted to love Enchantée more than I did! It had so much going for it and some things which really shone, but ultimately I found it a bit of a meh experience.
Trelease’s writing is absolutely beautiful and the scenes she paints are incredibly vivid. Whether it’s the pain, squalor and desperation of the family’s poverty or the rich, opulent lush splendour of the palace, everything felt tangible — like you could reach out and touch the aristocrat’s dresses.
I really loved the magic system — there are three types with varying levels of difficulty, effect and cost. I really liked that there was a cost to Camille’s magic, and that she was really reluctant at first. I admire the way the two sisters worked together to come up with their scheme and the idea of infiltrating Versailles to cheat at cards. But I just felt that I wanted Camille to commit more to it. I mean, in terms of the plot she was risking everything — being outed as a magician, caught cheating at cards or sneaking into the palace — it was all so danger-filled and exciting, but something about Camille just seemed so half-hearted.
Sadly, I found the pacing of Enchantée really off. Everything was just far too drawn out. Although the events themselves where interesting, I felt that there was too much introspection and the plot developed too slowly.
It also felt like perhaps there were too many things going on around the main plotline to really keep things moving — the family history, the balloon flights, the outlawed magicians – and a lot of characters to keep track of too. While there’s not much I could point to as something to exclude, I do think something needed to stream-line the story. I just wish more time had been spent on the intrigue, politicking and adventure than the romance. I’m sure other readers, especially if you enjoy the romance aspect, will find Enchantée absolutely magical.
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