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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Review - Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Review - Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians . . .

When seventeen-year-old Camille is left orphaned, she has to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine‘ and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life . . .

A very enchanting novel indeed!

Enchantée is set in the dying days of the Ancien Regime, and perfectly captures the building dissatisfaction and civil unrest building in Paris while the nobility party away in Versaille with Queen Marie Antoinette. Camille and her sister Sophie are very endearing characters and I found myself rooting for them from the start. Less so their brother, Alain, who I was wishing all sorts of miseries upon! The girls are struggling to get by, trying to scrape together enough coin to eat and to buy medicine while worrying about how the heck they're going to pay the rent, only for Alain to wander in drunk and in debt and ruin everything.  It definitely got the sympathy flowing in the girls' direction!

This isn't just a historical novel though, it has magic weaved throughout it. Camille can do simple magics at the start of the book, turning scrap metal into coins that hold their shape just long enough to fool a shopkeeper.; Even with these tricks, life is so hard for them and it's hard to see any way out of their predicament. But desperation leads to other magical secrets locked away by her deceased mother. With a glamoured dress and makeup box she can change her appearance, pretend to be someone she's not, and, ensorcelled like that, she heads to Versaille, the decadent playground of the bored aristocracy, to win her fortune by cheating at cards.

I loved the way Enchantée deals with magic. Even with it, Camille's life is no easier, and using it comes at an ever increasing price. There are other magicians too, and she soon gets pulled into a web of manoeuvres and manipulations. The tension builds dramatically as schemes come to fruition and debts are called in, leading to a very exciting and dramatic climax.

And then there's the balloon. The balloon definitely deserves a mention. For as well as magic, this book has hot air balloons, a fledgling science in the period and one that is exciting, thrilling and expensive! I really enjoyed seeing Camille establishing two new lives, one as herself with the aeronauts, taking to the skies to break out of her everyday difficulties, and one as a mysterious baroness with notable luck at the card tables of Versaille. Watching the tension between these two aspects of her life is quite fascinating, especially when she discovers they're not quite as separate as she'd assumed. I also thought Lazare, the half-Indian aeronaut was a fantastic character. It's great to see more people of colour in historical fiction and I thought the attitudes towards him, and his own feelings, were really well realised.

Enchantée is a book about hiding yourself, whether through 'la magie' or good, old-fashioned pretence. It's about stepping into a role and making people believe that you belong there. But it's also about the dangers of temptation. From the very start, we see Alain struggling, or just losing, his battle against drink, gambling and ever increasing debt. And yet once Camille gets to Versaille we see her go through the same things. The "just one more time" excuse is used with alarming frequency, as there's always a good reason to gamble for one more night, to use the magic one more time, despite the risks and the cost. It's one thing seeing it one of the book's villains. Seeing it in the heroine too is chilling and a powerful statement.

Enchantée, c'est magnifique!


Enchantée by Gita Trelease is out now, published by Pan Macmillan.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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