Book Review: Enchantment (The Kingdom Chronicles)

Title: Enchantment

Series: The Kingdom Chronicles (Book #5)

Author: Camille Peters

Release: 2020

Synopsis: When Maren runs away from the threat of a forced marriage, the last place she expects to end up is the Malvagarian Palace, home to the enchanted gardens, a cursed prince, and a magical rose that traps her there. Crown Prince Briar isn’t pleased to be stuck with a troublesome guest, especially one as mischievous and curious as Maren. She, on the other hand, is determined to escape, but instead finds herself inconveniently falling in love with him. Despite her lack of beauty, feelings steadily blossom between her and the prince.

Their budding romance is soon threatened when sinister magic begins to eclipse the enchanted gardens, a darkness which quickly spreads not only to the kingdom, but to the king himself. In order to stop it, Briar and Maren will both be forced to make a heart-wrenching sacrifice, only to realize that the gardens’ requirements may prove too high a price.

Inspired by Beauty and the Beast.

Review: This was a fresh take on the tale as old as time! I’ve not read anything by Camille Peters before, but I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. After you’ve read so many Beauty and the Beast retellings, they all come to feel the same — but this one was just a little bit different and unique. I really love when an author can take a super-familiar tale and make it her own.

Maren is a fun heroine, and right off the bat, we’re introduced her to feisty and tomboyish ways. Faced with the prospect of an arranged marriage to an older and abusive man, she takes matters into her own hands and runs away from her controlling father. En route to freedom and a new life, she stumbles upon a castle with the most exquisite gardens. Always curious, Maren decides to take a rest from running and explore the gardens a bit. After all, the magical vine gate let her in — so how bad can things turn out?

Very bad, in fact.

This Beauty takes a rose for herself and thus becomes a prisoner.

The Beast character, Prince Briar, felt very much like the Beast in the original fairytale. I’m becoming annoyed with how many retellings interpret “beast” as ill-tempered/anger-issues/what-have-you. The Beast (in most of the original versions) is actually a very kind creature, and it was so nice to have a retelling portray that side of him. Granted, Briar has his own share of magical difficulties in connection to the garden, and his descent into becoming the more typical, beastly behaved, and ill-tempered character is understandable.

Too often a BatB retelling just feels like a knock-off of the Disney film, but this book didn’t feel that way. I’ll admit — I’m one of those authors who enjoys poking fun at and making nods to Disney, but it’s super fresh when an author sticks to the original fairytale and doesn’t bother with Disney at all. Instead of a cursed castle and animate household objects, this book gives us a magical garden, one with several different themed plots, various plant life, and more — all on an ever-changing layout. And, of course, a magical rosebush right in the very heart of the garden. The gardens were basically a character all by themselves, and it was fun to see how they interacted with the two main characters. The topiary garden was a particular favorite, and Hibiscus was just adorable. Bringing the garden to life like that made the theft of the rose feel so much more meaningful.

I think my one main complaint was the coronation/ball scene — in which there were so many cameo appearances from the heroes and heroines of the other books in the series, it was almost overwhelming. Having not read the other books yet, I was fairly confused and completely lost on who everyone was supposed to be. I mean, I understand having fun cameos in books for avid fans. But dumping them all in at once and in one scene was perhaps too much.

Advisory: I want to talk about the romance for a bit, so I’ll go ahead and do it under this category. Yes, this is a BatB retelling; yes, Beauty and the Beast fall in love. You should have expected romance to be a big part of this book. I was very thankful to note that the insta-love of most BatB retellings was nowhere to be found. Maren and Briar slowly fall in love through the course of several events and interactions, and their affection for each other stems from a genuine friendship that’s super adorable and fun to follow along with. The whole beauty-lies-within theme is fairly strong throughout the whole book. Overall, the romance is very clean, with a few kisses and a LOT of hand holding.

With a magical garden obviously comes a lot of magic. It’s clearly in a fantasy, fairytale-esque world, and the magic stems from both the magical garden and the “evil stepmother” — the villain who’s at the heart of most of the royal curses so it seems. [SPOILER] With Briar’s curse and his connection to the garden, it made sense for him to succumb to his beast-like temperament when the garden was succumbing to the poison. However, I didn’t quite understand the connection between cleansing the poison out of the garden and Briar dying as a result; that climax felt a bit forced, and while I definitely felt the emotions of the scene, it also felt a bit senseless and anti-climactic. [END SPOILER]

Some fantasy violence, as a few characters are injured. [SPOILER] Maren’s father “sells” her hand in marriage to an older gentleman who is hinted at being abusive. [END SPOILER]

Conclusion: A solid, fresh take on the all-too-familiar Beauty and the Beast fairytale. I loved seeing nods to the original story, and the characters were fun and realistic. Definitely recommend this to all fairytale and/or BatB enthusiasts.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Enchantment (The Kingdom Chronicles)

  1. This one sounds so much fun!!! I especially love the idea of a magical garden with a personality. What a delightful idea! I definitely need to give this one a try sometime. ^_^


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