Author: Gita Trelease
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date: 21st February 2019
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
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, naïve 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 dark magic forbidden by 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. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…
*I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
There were many aspects of this novel that I enjoy, however I felt like there was something missing.
This novel takes place in 1789 at the cusp of the French Revolution. It follows the story of Camille who has been left to care for her younger, ill sister and her gambling addict brother after the death of their parents. However, this becomes harder and harder as her brothers gambling debts rise up and his desperation for money starts to turn to violence. But Camille has one trick up her sleeve and that is the magic that her mother taught her. at first she only uses Magie Ordinaire the ability to change objects for a certain amount of time in order to help buy food but as there situation gets more and more desperate and their brother becomes more desperate Camille will do anything to find a safe place for her and her sister including using Glamoire, a type of magic that her mother warned her against using, to turn herself into someone else and travel to Versailles to try her hand gambling with the aristocrats.
Gita does an amazing job of bringing the setting and magic to life and you can really tell just how much research went into creating this story. However, I found the story hard to get into at first and there were moments throughout were I had to work really hard to keep my attention from drifting away from the book.
I also didn’t love Camille as a character, I respected the lengths she would go to protect her family but there was just something about her I didn’t click with and I wasn’t a fan of the way she keep speaking about sex workers throughout the book. One of the characters I did like was Lazare who is biracial (French/Indian) aristocrat who dreams of flying an air balloon over the Apls.
The other thing I apricated about this book was it’s discussing about race.
Trigger warnings: gambling addiction, alcoholism, racism, poverty and abuse.
Overall, this was an enjoyable book and I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.