Hello friends! I’m super excited to be participating on the blog tour for Enchantée today, I just finished this book earlier last week and had such a blast reading it! I hope everyone’s been doing well, I know it’s been a hot second since my last post (what else is new), but I’m so happy to be popping back in to talk about this beauty.
Author: Gita Trelease
Series: Book 1 in a trilogy
Genre: YA fantasy, historical fantasy
Pub. Date: Feb. 5th, 2019
Synopsis: When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail 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 the dark magic she learned from 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. Her resentment of the rich at odds with the allure of glamour and excess, Camille is astonished to find that her would-be suitor Lazare, a handsome young inventor whom she thought shared her dreams of liberty, is also living a double life.
As the Baroness de la Fontaine, Camille gambles at cards and flirts, desperate to maintain her place at court and keep herself and her sister off the streets. But la magie has its costs. When a scheming courtier blackmails her and Lazare’s affections shift, Camille loses control of her secrets. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose–love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, reality or la magie–before Paris burns.
Bestselling author of Caraval Stephanie Garber calls Enchantée “a lit firework crackling with treacherous magic, decadent romance, and disguises that take on lives of their own–deliciously addictive!” Gita Trelease’s lush, imaginative debut fantasy is perfect for anyone looking for immersive magic in the world of Sofia Copola’s Marie Antoinette.
When I first heard about a YA fantasy set during the French Revolution, about a girl who could turn metal into money, I hit the “Want to Read” button on Goodreads so fast you couldn’t have spelled the word “Versailles” before I was done. And I’m so ridiculously pleased to say that I think this was even better than I was anticipating!
Enchantée surrounds Camille and her very real struggle to survive in poverty and support her younger sister while dealing with an abusive older brother. If it sounds intense, you’d definitely be right. I think the class struggles in this book are a key element that helps unite the past with the present, and it was hard and frustrating to read at times. But don’t worry, we still get hot air balloon rides and magical ball gowns, so I’d say Enchantée has a very nice balance to it.
I’m just gonna dive right in and talk about the thing that I absolutely loved about this book that I’m STILL thinking about a week later and will likely be thinking about until we get the next precious book in this series: THE ROMANCE.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me yelling about the romance in this book like a maniac. I’m not a person that usually enjoys romance *that* much, when it’s done well I do get invested but it’s rarely my favorite element of the book. Well, Enchantée is a rare exception, my friends.
Lazare, the love interest, is absolutely one of my new book boyfriends, THE THINGS THAT COME OUT OF HIS MOUTH Y’ALL. It just wasn’t fair to my heart and that’s all that I can say.
I definitely prefer romances that carry on sexual tension throughout the entire novel (if not the whole series, I love pain), where the characters refuse to admit they like each other even though they’re obviously helplessly in love. While Enchantée has more than its fair share of tension (if you’re a fan of the miscommunication trope, you definitely need this on your shelf), Lazare is very open about his feelings from the beginning and I STILL loved this romance more than words. That’s a real achievement, you guys, I don’t think I can say that about any other romance I’ve ever read.
Oh, and this definitely has one of the top three most swoon-worthy romantic scenes I’ve ever read in my LIFE. I actually melted into a puddle and was resurrected back to life. If this sounds like high praise from a romance critic, that’s because it absolutely is and it means you guys NEED this in your lives!
But as much as I might like to scream about Lazare and Camille all day, there were a lot of other aspects to this book that I have to yell about too!
Enchantée is definitely an atmospheric fantasy, you could tell how much research the author did (I believe she has a PhD in British Literature, and you could absolutely see how those themes were present). The descriptions of this book were so beautiful, I honestly felt like I was breathing the streets of Paris as I turned the pages (which, I mean, 18th century Paris streets don’t always smell great but you get the idea).
The magic system in this book is fairly simple and easy to understand, essentially Camille can transform the appearance of objects at will. As you read, you learn a lot more about her capabilities and the existence of magic within historical France. I thought the fact that this book doesn’t have the strongest focus on magic helped highlight other aspects of the story – like the revolution and class struggles – that we don’t usually see in other fantasies.
The incorporation of historical events in this book seriously impressed me. While Enchantée is set during the French Revolution, I think it’s important to go in knowing this is not a story about overthrowing an oppressive power. The Revolution acts as more of a background for Camille’s own adventures at Versailles, rather than the central focus of the story. Supposedly book 2 is actually going to be focused on the unfolding of the Revolution, which I think is super cool! But Enchantée really highlights the experience of someone on the sidelines of the Revolution, who is affected by what’s happening but not directly involved. I felt like this was incredibly important to read, since most of us live on the sidelines of most political events that occur, reading and digesting what happens while feeling the reverberated effects of decisions made by others.
*whispers* If you like Hamilton, be sure to give this book a try! Certain beloved historical figures make an appearance and I thought it was the coolest thing!
Speaking of the sidelines, this book does have some diverse representation. Lazare is biracial (Indian and French), and there are two gay side characters (in a relationship with one another). I can’t speak for the rep, but the author definitely does not shy away from a conversation about the struggles of being a PoC in such a heavily bigoted era, which I feel like we don’t often see in historical fiction/fantasy.
I also adored Camille as a protagonist, usually I’m more passive towards main characters (as long as they don’t outright annoy me), but Camille’s boldness and willingness to “play dirty” was something I super appreciated and loved seeing. She always prioritizes her and her sister’s safety above all else, even if it means she has to break the rules a bit. If you have a strong sibling relationship in your life or like reading about them, this is definitely a book for you!
However, while I loved just about everything to do with Enchantée, I did have some issues with the pacing. The first three-quarters of the book are fairly slow (a lot does happen, but it’s most talking/partying), while all of the physical action is packed into the last quarter. To be fair, all the twists and turns that happened in that quarter left me absolutely breathless, but it would have been nice if the action had been more spread out and evenly developed.
Overall, Enchantée is one of the first books I’ve read in a long time that I genuinely never wanted to put down. Even when I was dead tired and could barely keep my eyes open, I desperately needed to keep flipping pages because it was just that good!
Thanks to Flatiron Books for providing me with a digital advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Blog Tour Schedule
Check out all the amazing Enchantée love that’s been happening around the book community and the rest of the stops on the tour!