Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Review: The Belles

Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Freeform
Series: The Belles #1

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, 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 Orleans 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 Orleans 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. 

Camellia was the perfect protagonist to lead me through this story. I got to experience this world just as she did. She was learning to adapt to the new world around her and I felt as if her perspective was very true to what it would be were this actually reality. She is conflicted at times between what she knows is right and wrong, which shows anyone’s true nature. Her character is easy to fall in love with and you will find yourself rooting for her success at court amongst all the deception and intrigue.

I also loved the relationship Camellia describes between her and her sister Belles. She seems to be the strongest of her sisters, but her love and admiration for them is endearing and one of the only picture perfect things about this treacherous new world that Camellia is immersed in. A lot of the other Belles lack in all things compared to Camellia. I loved learning about them, but ultimately I was only concerned with Camellia and her thoughts, actions, and feelings. She was an amazing main character and I look forward to reading more from her voice.

This is the first of Dhonielle Clayton’s novels to dawn my shelves. Her writing was easy to follow and the four hundred plus pages took me no time at all to get through. Her descriptions were out of this world and made me long for my next meal. The palace came to life and jumped off the page as I read. I could picture everything so easily, and this has to be my favorite thing about this book. This world leaped off the page, immaculate, eloquent, pretentious and all other word that you think a palace full of beautiful people would be!

“Be the best without trying to be better than the others.” 

“You have to decide for yourself. It is you who must live with the outcome.” 

“You can never be clean enough, pretty enough, or smart enough.” 

“Dreams remind us of who we are and how we feel about the things around us.” 

Very rarely do I read books that I know are in a series and that I have to wait a year for the next one to be released. However, this is the exception to my rule. I cannot wait until the next book is released and I will be reading it as soon as it comes out. I gave this book a five out of five stars on Goodreads and I will not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who shows interest.

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