ARC provided by Flatiron in exchange for an honest review.
“Remember—magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.”
Enchantée is a book that is set in historical Paris, during 1789, but this is a version of Paris unlike any other. Yes, the French Revolution is beginning, and the people are starving and rioting, while Marie Antoinette and other aristocrats ignore their pleas. But some people in this alternative history are able to wield magic to help make their lives a little easier.
In this world, there are three different types of magic:
➽ Magie Ordinaire – changing things
➽ Glamoire – changing oneself
➽ Magie Bibelot – making objects sentient
This book stars Camille, a young girl able to wield magic, but is very scared to get caught because the stakes are so high. Yet, she still turns magic into scrap metal so that they have a little money to live off of. But her younger sister Sophie is not in the best of health, and both of their parents have just died to smallpox. The only person who is supposed to be looking out for them is their older brother, Alain, who is drinking and gambling away what little money they do have.
But when Camille helps out a couple hot air balloon makers, then she finds a magical dress that is hidden away in a secret trunk, and she ends up taking her and her sisters future into her own hands and will stop at nothing to ensure their health and safety. From there, she throws herself into a world of aristocracy, filled with nobles who do not even realize the food they are wasting while people in the streets are starving.
I wanted to love this so much, friends. But sadly, it just fell so very short for me. I felt like the author was trying to cram so many important things that happened in France in that time into this book, while also trying to write her own story, and both elements just made this entire story feel disjointed and left a lot to be desired. And honestly? Even my synopsis of this book sounds a lot better than the book actually is.
I was so bored throughout. I just kept waiting for something more exciting to happen, but it never did. The twists and turns were so predictable and so lackluster. And them ignoring the gross behavior that Alain displayed made me so angry. And their constant views on sex workers made my eyes almost roll out of my head completely. Oh, and the villain was straight up from a comic, twirling his mustache, I swear!
I will say that one of the main side characters, Lazare, is biracial (Indian and French) and he does have a really good discussion about how he feels like the French never let him forget that he isn’t white. I really appreciated that. I also appreciated that Camille was willing to do whatever it took to care for Sophie. You all know I’m always here for good sibling relationships. But besides these two elements? I really didn’t enjoy this one.
I’m so sorry, friends! I do feel like I’ve been really not enjoying a lot of the historical stories I’ve read in 2018, so maybe you will enjoy this a lot more than I did. A lot of my friends have actually given this one really high praise, too. But I’m wishing you all happy reading, always.
The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.
Content and trigger warnings for degrading comments about women (I honestly feel like I read the word “whore” at least twenty times), slut shaming, physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, illness of a loved one, alcoholism, gambling addiction, loss of a loved one, blood depictions.