Beauty is in the blood.
First of all, OMG, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING.
This is the first book I’ve read in a while that made my heart race and it brought me out of my reading slump. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
The plot was great, it went along smoothly and was engaging and full of plot twists that made me not want to put down the book. The book is set in the Fictional world of New Orleans where people are born grey and ugly. But with the power of the Belles they can be made beautiful . The Belles are girls who are gifted with the power to make people beautiful by the Goddess of Beauty. The main character, Camellia who wants nothing more than to be the queens favourite Belle and get to stay in the palace and attend to royalty. Things don’t really go her way and that’s where it all starts to unravel. She soon uncovers dark secrets about the Belle’s and discovers that her powers are greater than she had ever imagines and has to make a choice that may put her life at risk in a land where beauty is prized above all else.
At first I thought this might turn out to be some fluffy princess like story where the main character has some sort of magic and tries to save the day but it wasn’t. (I was so wrong). I mean she does try to save the day but its more complex than that.
The Belles might have it all, but they lack one important thing which is freedom. The beauty and glamour of their lives quickly turns out to be a façade and the book really drives the point of how far humans can go to achieve beauty and perfection and even lose their humanity in the process. Why can’t we just love ourselves for who we are? I feel true beauty is from within, when we base our happiness or feelings of self-worth on our looks or material objects we can never truly be happy because looks fade and nothing lasts forever.
“Of course” She scoffs, then eyes me. “If I could have you rebuild me from the bones out, I’d do that as well. I can tolerate it. I’m strong” Her eyes glaze over with tears “I’d do anything to be beautiful”
One of the things I loved about the book was how things in it were described. It is almost like you are there, seeing the beauty of the palace, feeling the arcana run through Camellia veins as she changes a person’s colour or nose shape, seeing the beautiful dresses and flowers. It really made the events in the book feel more real and contributed to the world building. The world in the book is quite interesting and the magic in it is unique. They have teacup animals, like mini versions of normal animals which is just so cute.
The carriages stop before the royal pavilion. Embroidered chrysanthemums coil around its peaks. Trumpets sound. Bells chime. I adjust the eyescope lens, and squint to see the king, queen, and their daughter. They remind me of the porcelain dolls my sisters and I used to play with as children. The chipped face of the little king in his purple robe, and the queen with a bent crown pinned into her dark hair, both sitting inside a miniature palace made of cypress wood scraps in the playroom.
This book has a rich and diverse cast of characters. I loved Camellia. She is headstrong but still really naïve and cares about the people around her even if she wants so badly to be favourite that she sometimes comes across as selfish. My favourite character is Edelweiss, the wild one among the Belles though she wasn’t present in most parts of the book.
There is also a terrifying villain, the one you think is crazy and just a spoilt brat but is so smart, evil and cunning that its chilling. You never know what she will do next or what she wont do.
- Okay I know this is the first book in this series but that cliffhanger, it was just so abrupt. I don’t like cliffhangers; I mean I know they keep you in suspense for the next book but I’m sure there are less abrupt ways to do it.
- The pacing of the book was slow in the beginning, I was like 100 pages in before any action really started but I have a lot of patience with books and it was worth it eventually. I loved the description and details but at a point it got too much that I was skimming through them. Most of the action took place in the last 100 pages.Despite the slow pacing at the beginning, it was an exciting read
Last one. Spoiler alert. Click on this sentence to view it (Thanks to May for showing me this trick)
One of the characters I was starting to like got killed off. She was one of the queer characters in the book and she actually advised Camellia once but she met a tragic end due to the villian who wanted to use her death to setup Camellia. It was just so sad.
You have to the favorite just like me, Maman told me before she died. The people of Orleans hate themselves. You must change that.
The memory of her words warm me from the inside out as the sting of missing her swells inside my chest. The favorite shows the world what is beautiful. She reminds them of what is essential. I wished she had lived long enough to be here, watching from the stage.
“No one is a prisoner. Even you have the power to make your own choices”
My verdict: 5/5 stars. It was a really great read. I was a little wary of reading it because of all the hype but I enjoyed it. I like to go into a book with no expectations whatsoever especially one with this much hype. Yes, I know I made the book sound so amazing in my review but shhhhh.
TITLE: THE BELLES
AUTHOR: Dhonielle Clayton
PUBLISHED ON: 6th February 2018
GENRE: YOUNG ADULT, FANTASY
ADD TO GOODREADS
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.
I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Diverse Book Bridge, an organisation that helps get books to people who really need them. You should totally check them out because they are doing great work and if you have ARCS or books you don’t know what to do with then you can donate it to them.You can send a message to them on Twitter to request or donate a book.
Chat time! Have you read The Belles? If you could have a teacup animal what animal would it be? I would want a teacup dragon because you know I want to be the mother of dragons too. What are your thoughts on beauty? Let’s chat in the comments below. Are we friends on Twitter yet?