Book #20: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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 was actually hesitant about this book. It’s very pink cover and content about beauty makes it look like it would be a very feminine book. Not that femininity is a bad thing, it actually isn’t, but I feel that aspect of a person (especially a female) is looked down on.

I have to say, this book is feminine, but strong. It’s a perfect mix between the two. Beauty is important in this world. Everyone looks the same and they all hate it. Imagine a world that is vibrant in color except for the people. That is this world.

I imagined it like that scene where Dorothy is in her brown and grey cabin. She’s walking around, wondering what happened to Auntie Em, and then she opens the door. The world is bright, vibrant, and magical. That’s the world of Orleans.

There is a small group of girls who can use magic to transform people into beautiful people. The magic isn’t free of pain nor is it free in general. It’s almost exactly the same as plastic surgery only it doesn’t last. You’ll eventually go back to your grey pallor.

Now, you’d think with all this beauty and color that the world itself may be free of corruption. You’re wrong. In the midst of all this, it’s actually dark. The contrasting views of physical beauty and the inner darkness of people is palpable.

I honestly really liked this book. I was at first pulled in by the magical and colorful world and stayed because of the hidden corruption of the Orleans world of beauty. I’m definitely going to be picking up the second book.

Final rating: 4/5

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