Unknown - 2019
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Love. Magic. Revolution... Gita Trelease's debut fantasy about an orphaned girl who uses dark magic to save her sister and herself from ruin is "a soaring success" (NPR)!

Paris is a labyrinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians. Camille Durbonne is one of them. She wishes she weren't...

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille must find a way to provide for her younger sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on magic, Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy food and medicine they need. But when the coins won't hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family's savings, Camille pursues a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into a baroness and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for magic. As she struggles to reconcile her resentment of the rich with the allure of glamour and excess, Camille meets a handsome young inventor, and begins to believe that love and liberty may both be possible.

But magic has its costs, and soon Camille loses control of her secrets. And when revolution erupts, Camille must choose--love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, reality of magic--before Paris burns.

Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250295521
Branch Call Number: YA TRELEASE
Characteristics: 449 pages ; 25 cm


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Feb 21, 2019

4.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy fantasy. historical fiction, and a bit of romance.

Camille's parents are dead, her brother is a gambling, violent drunk, and her younger sister is wasting away in sickness and hunger. As her brother continues to pawn off their only possessions, Camille must turn to la magie, a small magic she learned from her mother. She can turn rusted nails to coins, but not for long. As their situation becomes more dire, she must open her mother's mysterious magic box, and see what else waits for her in the world of magic. The magic dress in the box causes her to appear as an aristocrat. This is all for a price: her blood. As she begins to visit Versailles and turn cards while gambling, she starts to earn money to live on. However, not everyone she meets at court is who they seem. She also meets Lazare and his friends, aeronauts with a flying balloon, and wants a real life filled with hope and purpose, not one that relies on magical tricks and deceit. But can she turn away from the pull of Versailles before she becomes trapped?

This was such an interesting book! I enjoyed the setting more than I expected to (pre-French revolution). I appreciated how descriptive Trelease's writing was, especially in painting the picture of Versailles and Paris. There were so many dreamy lines about hazy nights, starlit skies, etc. etc. I'm a sucker for that. I liked Camille and her desire to care for her sister and remember her parents. I also really liked Lazare and his friends with their hot air balloon. The magic system was incredibly interesting, at first I felt like I could have enjoyed this just as much if it had been historical fiction instead.... but as things came together in the end it all felt just write. Really woven well together. I enjoyed Camille's struggle to provide for her family and build a new life, while navigating the perilous social structure of Versailles as well. I also appreciated that her friends struggled with double lives whether in the same way as her, or in a different way. The characters were fairly complex for YA fantasy. I also appreciated that there was a bit of diversity in the characters. There is an LBGTQ+ relationship, and one of the main characters is biracial. In the end the story went a few surprising places, and I was really caught up in the action and resolution. I loved that this book was a bit romantic as well. It wasn't the whole purpose of the book, but it was still a little swoony. In the end I liked that this book had so many layers, and that it ultimately focused on hope. Though this does not end on a cliff-hanger, I heard that there will be a second book, which I am excited to read in the future.


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