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Teacup Animals and Post-balloons: Review of The Belles

Book: The Belles

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.

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Year published: 2018

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

“No one is a prisoner. Even you have the power to make your own choices.”

The sheer imagination behind The Belles is astounding. Teacup animals, télétropes, post-balloons, vivant dresses. It’s full of originality and vividly descriptive.

The concept was thought provoking and it made me think about the issues that arise from the way we all want to look ‘perfect’ and ‘fit in’ instead of embracing who we are. Despite the pretty dresses, nice food and general opulence it always felt like a façade concealing a sinister undercurrent.

Camellia was a pretty average and bland character, completely oblivious of the danger around her until it was too late. The real star of the show was Edel and I look forward to seeing her develop.

At times, the plot did feel drawn out and repetitive with endless descriptions of their dresses or of the characters eating pastries (which made me feel hungry) but then the ending was short and sharp (and a bit confusing- it needed more elaboration).

Overall, it was an interesting read and I look forward to reading The Everlasting Rose.

What did you think about The Belles? Would you want to live in Orléans? Let me know in the comments!

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