Author: Gita Trelease
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication date: 26 February 2019
Synopsis from Pan Macmillan Australia:
Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians . . .
When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old Camille is left to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine‘ and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life . . .
Enchantée is a compelling historical fantasy and is Gita Trelease’s debut novel.
*Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*
I don’t tend to read or enjoy historical fiction very often. This is normally because I find the plots tend to be very slow and a bit of historical information overload. And I also find that authours tend to focus a lot on the positives of a time period while glossing over or not mentioning the negatives of that time. Having said this I believe Trelease has managed to write a story with Enchantée that runs into none of these problems. Overall I really enjoyed this read.
For me, the fact that this story is an historical fantasy and not just a historical read, allowed for a more multifaceted and fast-paced plot. The magic system is more subtle than many found in the YA fantasy genre. However, it seems to fit so perfectly with the setting and time era. And the way Trelease describes the use and weaving of the magic is just superb. Essentially the magic system is just the magic of illusions, making one thing appear as another or in another way. However, the idea that one needs sorrow to make this magic work, I found unique and allowed the book to have a slightly darker tone. As we all know magic always comes with a price!
I also think Trelease did a fantastic job of describing the state of Paris in 1789. The way she described and brought Versailles alive made me wish to travel to Paris right away. She managed to give the palace such a whimsical quality while still mentioning the filth and not so royal behaviours. Trelease also did not shy away from describing the darker, negative events and aspects of Paris at this time. The poverty, the civil unrest, the class issues and the beginnings of the revolution. These were all things that made the story seem more real despite being a work of fiction.
The highlight of this book for me though was the characters. Trelease brought each different character to life so well that despite having issues remembering all the French names and noble titles I could easily distinguish between their personalities and traits. I also love the variety of characters from heroes to villains, nobles to the poor. This book has it all with a strong female heroine, a passionate romance without excessive physical contact, female friendships, scheming villains and monstrous human beings.
Despite enjoying almost everything about this book I did find the relationship between the main character and her sister to be underdeveloped and at times annoying. I also struggled with the bits of French included. There is a glossary in the back of the book. However, I did not realise this until I was about 3 quarters through. Meaning until then I had to guess at the meaning of what was being said in French. Therefore, I am giving this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend to any lover of YA, fantasy or historical fiction. Do you read a lot of historical fiction? What is your favourite time period to read about? Do you like reading about magic systems alongside true historical events? Let’s chat in the comments below! Until next time happy watching and reading!