Title: Enchantée (Enchantée #1)
Author: Gita Trelease
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Release Date: February 5th 2019 from Flatiron Books
Format: Physical ARC
Goodreads Synopsis: 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…
**I won a physical ARC of this book through an Instagram giveaway. I wasn’t asked to review this book. But this doesn’t influence my opinion. All thoughts are my own and no quotations from the book will be used**
When I found out that I won a giveaway for an ARC of this book, I squealed and waited impatiently for it to arrive. Then once I was ready, I read this book very quickly! This book is getting a TON of hype recently and a lot of people have been talking about it. I knew that since it was set during the French Revolution, which is a period in history that is very complex and interesting that I had to get a copy. I will say that this is my favorite book from Flatiron Books so far and this is one of the strongest writing in a debut novel that I’ve read in recent memory. Here’s a breakdown of my thoughts:
The first thing I loved about this book was how the magic was used in the historical setting. Magic isn’t really around anymore at the time of the book and many people forget that magic was very popular during the reign of King Louis (a.k.a. “The Sun King”) It was very different to read a book that doesn’t have a ton of elaborate details of the magic system; I’m used to magic playing much more of a role in fantasy. But the magic that Camille uses was very interesting. There is a magical dress people! This magical dress was kind of creepy and yet fascinating at the same time. The magic never takes over the story and it fit so well into the setting.
The second thing I loved were the side characters. I loved a couple of the nobles that Camille meets and I also LOVED the love interest Lazare. He is half Indian like the author and his struggle with his skin color and identity was meaningful and wonderful. He is one of the absolute best love interests I’ve read about in a long time. The romance between him and Camille reminds me of The Scarlet Pimpernel, so if you’re a fan of the novel/movie/musical, then you’ll enjoy the romance. Also, the nobles that Camille meets are quirky, sometimes vain but you still love them anyway. Chandon is a noble who helps Camille with keeping up with her disguise and I really cared for him and his struggles. He played more of a role later in the book and I worried about his fate. So with both Lazare and Chandon being my favorite side characters, many of the other characters truly reflect the time period with the hatred of the revolution, difference of class and the major level of indulgence.
My next favorite thing was of course, the writing style. I have found that sometimes, debut novels have writing that doesn’t quite engage me or make the story flourish like I had thought. But this was the total opposite with this book! It’s not super flowery, but uses word choices and great sentence structure to bring the world to life. The dialogue reflects the many period pieces I’ve watched/read during this time period. Also the gilded glory of the nobles, palaces and fashions is glinting with envy and money. If you’ve seen pictures of Versailles, you know how “all out” that went into creating that building, along with many others. She captured the curiosity and wonder of the time period with just the right amount of words 🙂
The only two things I wanted a little bit more of was the pacing and the romance. With the pacing, it felt a bit jumbled in places. The middle felt a little bit repetitive without really going anywhere and the stakes weren’t quite what I thought. I wanted a little bit more tension as far as her disguise amongst the nobles. But the biggest thing that disappointed me was how the French revolution played in the plot. It felt like the synopsis promised that danger would come with the eruption of the pivotal event, but it wasn’t nearly as much involved like I had thought. Also, I don’t say this often, but I wanted more of the romance! They have such chemistry and their meetings were so romantic. But they didn’t seek each other out as much as I expected since they obviously have an attraction. While what is in the book was great, I just wanted a few more moments of them meeting in secret.
Overall: I truly enjoyed myself in this historical fantasy, with at least one sequel to come in the future. This book shows the indulgence, magical addiction and romance in 1789. This debut novel was magical, romantic and at times truly original. While I wanted more from a few aspects of the book, this hype is solid and worth it. If you love this time period, or wanting to try historical fantasy novels, don’t miss this one when it releases on February 5th 🙂
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it as well? Do you know of other YA historical fantasies that you would recommend?