Review: Enchantée | Gita Trelease

ENCHANTÉE | Gita Trelease

BOOK DETAILS

Series: Enchantée (Book 1)

Hardcover: 464 pages

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

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 Antoinettemore

Remember – magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.

Enchantèe was one of the books I really looked forward to back in February. It had been a while since I read a historical fiction and so I was very excited to finally get into it. Even though there were many aspects of the book I admired, I can’t say that it was all that I had hoped for.

Trelease does a fantastic job in paying close attention to the visual/historical details of 18th century France. The dress, customs, and language are given some room to shine and the smaller details successfully contribute to the construction of a romantic vision of France on the brink of revolution.

Camille is an enjoyable character in that she is smart, headstrong, and wistful. She employs a great deal decisiveness when faced with adversity, namely that of her good-for-nothing brother and financial necessity. While magic, let alone blood magic, is frowned upon and kept secret, Camille is willing to do whatever it takes to discover a better life for her sister and for herself.

The family dynamic among Camille, her sister, and her brother is a strong point in the book. There are several points of contention among the siblings. Camille holds much love for her sister as well as the past self of her brother, while Sophie is naive in her distribution of love, choosing to trust both her siblings even though it is apparent one does not earn that trust. These combative emotions between the two sisters leads to interesting outcomes, some of which are much more dangerous than first realized.

Camille’s relationship with Lazare is also a glimmering aspect of the book. It’s not too quick in its development and the added focus of the hot air balloon project adds some whimsy to their delightful little romance. Lazare is a sweet love interest, though I can’t say much else. Which leads me to some of more disappointing parts of the book.

Magicians needed sorrow. And deep sorrow existed only because of love.” 

Even though the book is centered on the idea of magic, it feels as if the magic is overlooked. The details of ordinary magic and blood magic are quickly introduced, but then the weight of their usage by Camille doesn’t hold as much gravity as it is supposed to, mostly because the scenes in which she relies on magic are few and entirely glossed over most times.

Gambling is already a suspenseful sport. Add some illegal magic and you have a natural source of suspension and thrill. The first gambling scene is tense but then all the gambling scenes thereafter suffer from being summed up and accelerated past in favor of romance and hot air balloons.

Also, the “villain” is completely unnecessary and by the end, completely contrived. Camille’s effort to conceal her identity while using illegal magic to solve her financial troubles, as well as the slow build up to the revolution are powerful enough to behave as proper sources of conflict. Adding a singular villain into the mix feels superfluous.

This was the Paris of the strivers, of those who dwelt low, not high. This was not the Paris of balloonists. It was her Paris, and it was the same as it had been this morning. But she, perhaps, was not.

I did mostly enjoy the ending, which leaves both a sense of hope and doom as the French Revolution is on the horizon. However, the book is very slow to build up to this point. It takes a while to get into Enchantée, but the characters are interesting, the atmosphere is well-developed, and the gilded depiction of Versailles and Paris are absolutely enchanting.

My Rating

13 thoughts on “Review: Enchantée | Gita Trelease

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this book Azia, though I definitely agree with you that Enchantee wasn’t quite all I’d hoped for either. I thought the setting was really good, like you said the historical details were really well written, and I loved the family dynamic between Camille, her brother and her sister. I mean it wasn’t a good relationship between Camille and her brother but it was well written which is the important thing I look for in family relationships in books. 🙂
    The villain was definitely something I felt was a little unnecessary, it felt kind of tacked on to the end and the book would have been so much better if the author had developed the revolution aspects or Camille’s identity struggles instead like you said.
    Great review. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I thin we talked about most of these issues when you posted your review of it. I thought on it some more, but still felt the same way about it two months later haha. The setting and characters are the strongest aspects of the book, but the smaller details concerning the magic system and the cost of using it along with the rise of the French Revolution would have made for a much more focused conflict. But I have hope that the next book will be more intense!
      Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah if it’s been two months and you still feel the same about these issues it means it wasn’t just something that popped up while reading and you realised looking back it wasn’t like that you know? I find sometimes my thoughts change after I’ve read books but they didn’t with Enchantee.
        It was a little like there was too much in this one book, there was too much focus on the setting and character development that the other stuff fell in the wayside a little. 🙂
        That’s all right. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, one of the major changes I felt towards a book months after reading was ACOTAR, but my opinion of Enchantee has remained constant. So, now I’m just hoping the seuqel improves a bit! There’s so much potential!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah. The more you think on it, the easier it is to see the flaws. At least it’s still an enjoyable read. Still, if I were to reread any of the books in the series, it’d be ACOMAF. Though, I’m really looking forward to the spinoff series with Nesta and Cassian

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry this wasn’t a five star read for you, Azia! The things you mentioned seem to resonate with most of the reviews I’ve seen of this book, so it’s really not up to personal taste but simply a fault on the author’s part (which I always find reassuring XD)
    It’s a shame that so much could have been done with this book yet it never reaches its true potential… I love the idea of a historical set in 18th century France so so much! And that part seems to have been well executed… Yet everything else seems to have fallen short.
    Just another case of focusing too much on the aesthetic and not enough on the actual content, which is unsurprising but still quite disappointing. It’s like authors don’t think YA can be rich and complex, otherwise readers might lose interest or not get it. Give YA readers some credit!
    Anyway, I’m glad you still liked it for the most part and hope your next read is even better 🙂 I have to say the cover is to die for, but I probably won’t be picking this up any time soon…
    Wonderful review, hon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s all right! The historical and visual details helped push the story along but everything else most certainly did fall a little short. I was really hoping to read a book about high-stakes gambling punctuated with dangerous magic and intrigue. But no, that wasn’t really how it went down. Of course, that’s just my opinion, but it doesn’t seem I’m alone in it.
      Having balanced content that includes appealing aesthetics, strong characters, and clever plot development is what most YA readers would like nowadays. Something akin to what you would find in Adult fantasy, just without as many adult characters LOL.
      The cover is gorgeous isn’t it? But yeah, don’t let it fool you. I think you can save this book for another day and not feel too guilty about it 😉
      Thanks so much, love ❤ 😀

      Like

      1. Ugh yeah I can totally relate… I mean, is it that hard to balance everything out to create a mindblowing story? I don’t think so XD
        Authors don’t seem to realise (or care) that YA simply means you have to tone down on mature themes, not tone down on, like, complexity and cleverness and good writing in general.
        I also feel YA is becoming very ADHD oriented because everything feels rushed and unplanned and just a mess! Cheap entertainment to keep folks begging for more trashy content. And I’m not saying trashy content is bad (I absolutely love it from time to time), but you do need to know when to space it out and sound like you’re at least making an effort.
        I don’t know, maybe I’m being too harsh but it’s just my opinion and I know I’m not the only one either!
        Aaaahhh betrayed by my vanity yet again… Won’t be the last time either XD
        No worries ^^ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 😂😂😂 I’m sensing some strong feelings and tasting a bit of salt LOL.
        There are some real gems out there, but there are many more YAs that lack cleverness, complexity, and the basic foundation of good storytelling. Those elements and more make for am enjoyable and rewarding reading experience. I love me some trashy content, too, but some nuanced and intuitive writing doesn’t hurt, especially for a genre and marketing category that has such a large target audience!
        But ya know, I guess it’d be unfair to expect every YA author to be able to pull that off. Sometimes, it’s up to us to dig around for a while and find those diamonds! 😀

        Like

  3. Shame that this wasn’t all you hoped for. It’s a real pity that it felt like the magic was overlooked and that the villain was unnecessary. But I do really like the sound of the atmosphere, the characters and the historical setting sounds wonderful. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, all those descriptive elements boosted the story up quite a bit! So if you ever end up reading this one, I hope that you enjoy those aspects of the story at least! 😀 It’s not perfect, but it’s got potential. Thanks so much! ❤

      Like

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