The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ~ 440 pages ~ published 2/6/18 by Disney-Hyperion
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.
With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.
What I Thought:
I have been reading more fantasy as of late, and I have to say that The Belles was one of the most captivating worlds I have been dropped into yet! I listened to this book on audio, which was great fun because I was able to hear all of the French words spoken with the correct accent. That always makes me happy, to know that I am reading/learning the words and names the way they were intended.
The world building in this novel is so interesting. The idea of commodifying beauty in such a way is both intriguing and terrifying. It is certainly a chilling commentary on how much stock we place on physical beauty in our own world. I enjoyed the real world parallels, while getting to envision myself in this beautiful fantasy world.
I really enjoyed Camellia as the main character. She was certainly very flawed, but she also had a strength to her that made you really want to be in her corner. There were moments that I was literally yelling at my audiobook because she was making stupid choices! She made some terrible decisions, but she also made some really great ones. I cannot wait to see where her character goes in the next book.
I will say a couple of somewhat negative things. The love triangle trope is a bit forced in my opinion, but it took an interesting turn toward the end of the book, so I can forgive it this once 😉 Also, I kind of figured out one of the major twists fairly early, but hey, no book is perfect.
Overall, I found this book to be incredibly engaging and extremely creative. This will be a series that I will definitely be continuing. Be on the lookout for The Everlasting Rose in March 2019!
I gave The Belles 5 STARS! If you are into fantasy with incredible world building and a little bit of social commentary mixed in, this is the series for you!
Are you interested in learning more about this book/series? Check out the links below!
Have you read The Belles? What did you think of the book? If not, is it on your TBR? Are you excited for the next book in the series? Let me know down in the comments below!
Love and happy reading,