Title: The Belles
Series: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Pub Date: February 2018
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 love the idea behind this book, how harming constant pursue of beauty, beauty that was defined by someone else, can be. The Belles touches on a lot of important subjects about self-love and beauty culture. It can be quite scary at some points. However, no matter how much I love the idea, I’m not a fan of execution. It was so hard for me to read this book… There were moments when things were picking up and I got my hopes up that I’ll finally get hooked on this book, but then they slowed downed again. I think there were many unnecessary scenes that were too long, and some more important scenes were cut short.
I’m disappointed with how Camellia’s relationship with Auguste was presented. At the end he had such a big impact on her life but in the story he was showing sporadically and in my opinion in quite uneventful way. He was teasing her, she was fascinated by him but I wish there was more to it considering his impact. I also think that o overall there was too little action for such a long book. We get a lot of descriptions of beauty, Belles’ procedures. But no serious action that make your heart race. I had troubles with staying invested in the story because of that.
Sadly I didn’t develop any setting feelings for any of the characters. They were all just a bit meh. Camellia is not interesting at all, she’s sure if her strong Belles abilities and she’s wants to be the favourite. She’s incomprehensibly opposed to following any rules, which sometimes was annoying. Sophia is cartoonishly evil, without any explanation why (maybe we’ll get it in next book). Other Belles are just a personification of one characteristic. One is totally over the whole Belles thong and doesn’t care much, one is obsessed with boys, one is extremely competitive and jealous. They very one-dimensional.
Tell me if you had the same problem as me with this book – there were some plot gaps, people appearing in different place even though they just were somewhere else without explanation. What someone said and how things look changed. It could be just my inattentive reading, or issue with ARC or both.
I do love the word of Belles’ though, the twist at the end made me crave the next book in the series. I want to know how it all will end, will they accept they natural beauty and they won’t alter it anymore? Will they all magically became beautiful again? I’m interested in reading the next book, and because of that I’m giving it 3 stars.