Enchantée vs. Splinters of Scarlet: Which Historical Fantasy is Right for You?
WHAT ARE ENCHANTÉE AND SPLINTERS OF SCARLET?
Enchnatée by Gita Trelease and Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy are two YA historical fantasy novels that share several similarities. Enchantée follows Camille who uses magic to disguise herself as a baroness and gambles in Versailles. Splinters of Scarlet follows Marit who becomes a seamstress for a wealthy family she believes may be responsible for her father's death. Both novels feature orphaned girls who are elder sisters using dangerous (and even deadly) magic to protect and provide for their younger sisters. Additionally, while there is going to be a sequel to Enchantée it can be read as a self-contained story. Splinters of Scarlet is also a standalone. Since the novels are somewhat similar, this blog is going to discuss both and, hopefully, help you determine which one you may enjoy reading more!
THE PROS OF ENCHANTÉE
This book does wonders with atmosphere. At times it feels gritty and desperate and at others romantic and sparkling. This is a story that truly transports you. This was, in my opinion, the novel's greatest asset. I found the juxtaposition between magic being both brought forth from sorrow and being highly addictive to be unique. I had mixed feeling about the characters, but felt Camille was a strong, resilient female protagonist.
THE CONS OF ENCHANTÉE
By far my biggest complaint is the novel has awkward, stilted pacing which really bogs things down. I also feel Camille's younger sister, Sophie, reads far too young for her age, especially when contrasted with Camille. While I feel Camille has good chemistry with her love interest, Lazare, there is a plot twist regarding them that seemed out of character.
TRIGGER WARNINGS Camille and Sophie have an abusive elder brother. There are scenes in which he physically hurts Camille that are quite explicit. If you have trauma related to domestic abuse you may want to steer clear of this one.
FINAL RATING: 4.25 ⭐️
THE PROS OF SPLINTERS OF SCARLET
This novel has even more potential cross genre appeal than Enchantée as it effortlessly mixes historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery. For the most part I enjoyed the dynamics between the characters. The stakes are very high in terms of both the magic and the mystery. The mystery itself was very well crafted. While a lot of the novel does take place at the Vestergaard manor, the novel also explores plenty of other settings which gives the reader a feeling of exploring a historic version of Denmark alongside Marit.
THE CONS OF SPLINTERS OF SCARLET
While I just mentioned enjoying character dynamics, I was admittedly disappointed by how underdeveloped the romance between Marit and fellow servant Jakob was. Romance is not the story's main focus, but neither is it in Enchantée and yet that one had significantly better development. Additionally, I was confused by the actions of another character, Helene, who could have used some more development for clarification's sake.
There are flashbacks to one of the character's (Philip) time as a soldier during the war. If you're sensitive to violence, and especially that involving war, then I'd suggest not reading this one.
FINAL RATING: 4.5 ⭐️
WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
A major factor in deciding which one you may prefer is your preference of country and time period. Enchantée takes place in France in the 18th century and the plot immediately precedes the Revolution. Splinters of Scarlet, meanwhile, takes place in 19th century Denmark and has mentions the First and Second Wars of Schlewig and its consequences for the country.
While Enchantée doesn't gloss over Camille's hardships as an orphan struggling to survive, she does spend a decent portion of the novel using magic to masquerade as a noblewoman in Versailles. As Camille becomes swept up in her imaginary life of glittery glamour so, too, does the reader. Splinters of Scarlet, meanwhile, (mostly) lacks that enchanting atmosphere. Marit lives in a large, fancy manor, but she is never viewed as anything more than a servant.
While Splinters lacks some of Enchantée's enchantment it, in turn, has something interesting of its own to offer. I have (somewhat recently) discovered that, while I am not someone who feels drawn to the mystery genre, I do like books in other genres which incorporate mysteries. A good example of this is Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. This novel is primarily an adult paranormal/urban fantasy novel, but within the novel there is a subplot about a murder mystery. If you're like me in this regard then you will likely enjoy Splinters of Scarlet.
Regardless of which (or both) you read, both have the potential to appeal to those who don't normally read within the fantasy genre. Their magic systems are simple to understand and, outside of establishing the time they're set in, there is no world building to confuse the reader. I hope you enjoyed this blog and that you're having a good reading year!
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The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (a review): https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/a-review-of-the-lady-s-guide-to-petticoats-and-piracy-by-mackenzi-lee-montague-siblings-2
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