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.
Paris seems to be the theme of YA Fantasy novels so far this year! This the second one I’ve read (so far) that takes place in Paris. The stunning cover of this book, and the intriguing description of magic and gambling in Revolution-ero France, made me really interested in reading this book and learning more about the magic Gita Trelease has created. I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley.
The setting of the novel, Revolution-era Paris, at first seemed a bit over-played, especially since I had just recently read “Gilded Wolves” which also takes place in France. However, as you get into the story, you realize it could not have taken place anywhere else. The author does a wonderful job of describing the world and scenes, so I could truly picture every home, room, street the character walked through. The setting also set up some dramatic irony throughout, as the author understands what will happen to Maria Antoinette and many of the aristocrats in the upcoming years.
The plot of Enchantee is quick paced and high-tension throughout. The book starts with Camille stealing from a shop-keeper and things really don’t slow down from there. Camille is constantly looking over her shoulder and trying to figure out her next steps in keeping herself and her sister alive, while not giving up on the small things in life they still enjoy. There are multiple plot elements at the beginning, which seems difficult to tie together, but around the halfway mark, all the elements meet up and become one, solid and compelling journey through the end.
Camille is the narrator and protagonist of this novel. She starts with a pretty definite objective: save her family from being evicted and protect herself and her sister from their own brother. However, as the plot progresses, her objectives become more and more muddied as she meets new people and becomes more ingrained in the world of aristocrats, magic and gambling. Her chemistry with her love-interest is absolutely perfect and I loved every scene the two of them shared. I did feel like the cast of this book was large, considering the plot and length of the book, but the author did a good job of differentiating everyone so I never confused characters.
Enchantée is a fast-paced, high-tension read that had me eagerly turning pages until I reached the end. The setting is beautifully developed and the author does a great job of dropping her readers into the scene. The plot and characters are fairly complex and detailed, but I was never confused who characters were or what was happening. I was disappointed to put this book down, but am looking forward to seeing what happens next.