Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Series Number: 1
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Genres: Young adult, Fantasy
Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ in exchange for a honest review.
Summary: 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.
the main reason i decided to read the belles is because i saw the french cover, featuring my favourite place: versailles. chances are, if versailles is on the cover or even mentioned in the blurb, of course i’ll drop everything to read it.
surprisingly, loads of reviews that i’ve read on the belles mention scottish settings and history as a huge part of this book. (honestly, i don’t know why they’ve said this). versailles on the cover, madame du barry as a main character, references to madame de pompadour, both of whom were mistresses to the same french king. dhonielle clayton couldn’t’ve been more obvious on her inspiration.
anyway, the belles has a very original plot. i like that it reflects our current society by how we constantly try to change our looks in order to be deemed “beautiful” and to fit in.
the writing style is absolutely beautiful. i wasn’t that invested in the plot, but dhonielle clayton managed to make me continue reading – i just couldn’t put it down! that little bit of intrigue was all i needed.
one thing i didn’t like about the belles was the characters. many of them were rather selfish and just plain unlikeable. camille was one in particular that i didn’t like and was one of the reasons i didn’t like the belles as much as i could’ve.
aside from the few things that i disliked about the belles, i think it was a worthwhile read and provided an intriguing story. if you get the chance, i recommend picking it up as it might be your new favourite book.