My Rating: 5 Stars!
Publish Date: February 6th, 2018
Number of Pages: 440 pages
Received: I won a hardcover copy from Bookish first.
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.
Opening Sentence: “We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games.”
The Belles is an incredible novel that took me by complete surprise. It deserves to have all the praise in the world for its dark mixture of gorgeous writing, twisted plot, and fine details that drop you straight into a world of beauty.
What I Liked:
It’s is and isn’t it’s cover. The cover of the Belles is this super pretty sparkly cover that hints at a happy fantasy that everyone loves to enjoy. However, when you read you quickly realize that the story is a bit off and unsettling and that’s when you realize the book you picked up was more then you could have ever imagined it to be.
The juxtaposition. Riveting and beautiful detail of beautiful things contrasted with pain and grotesque thought and terrible actions. It pulls you into the story while twisting your stomach at the same time.
Miniature animals. I LOVE when books have pets and the addition of teacup elephants, tigers, monkeys, and dragons is one of the best animal additions I’ve ever read. More books need to add their own unique animals it just adds to the mystic feel of a world in the best of ways.
The writing is beautiful. I love the writing in this book. It’s full of description and each word paints a picture and moves the story in a way that makes you feel like your living in it. I was absorbed into the world while reading and that is all thanks to some superb writing and storytelling from the author.
The characters are slaves to beauty work. Part of what makes this book feel so heartbreaking is that it is about being enslaved. The Belles are trapped by their upbringing and by their new positions and the world is enslaved by the ideas of beauty and what is accepted by society as beautiful. Not only was this book a fun read, but it made me think about the world and how we often do much of the same awful things to ourselves as a way of confirming.
What I Disliked:
The Princess was a continuously messed up human whom I wish never existed (but I’m glad she was part of the novel). So really this isn’t to say it’s a negative to the book (it isn’t), but having a character be so high-strung and malicious made my stomach turn. The fact that Camellia has to stick to her side and do what she asked for so long was awful. I love to hate this terrible royalty.
I also dislike another human in this book that I will not mention because it would be a spoiler. Let’s just say they do something at the end that had me pulling my hairs out.
The Belles is an incredible story that combines horror and beauty for an epic story. I adore this novel and I can’t to see what direction this story takes for the sequel.
Thanks for reading! I hope that this review has convinced you to read one of my favorite reads so far of the year. It’s a brilliant novel that I think anyone could really enjoy. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.
-Till next time!