Series:The Belles #1
Written by: Dhonielle Clayton
Published: February 6, 2018 by Freeform (Disney Book Group)
Synopsis: 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.
Wow! This book was seriously amazing. I am completely kicking myself for waiting this long to read it. I mean, I had heard good things about it and it sounds like a total me book so I picked up a copy but I wanted to wait a little for the hype to die down. But now I wish I hadn't because this book was everything I was hoping it would be and more.
First off, the world of this book was completely brilliant. I read a lot of YA fantasy and I am always looking for unique magical systems. This one I definitely feel like fit that bill. The idea of The Belles is such an interesting concept. These are young women who have an innate ability to change the appearance of others. What I loved about the system is that it's not just that they need the ability. There are also different tools and tricks that go into it. I also really liked that fact that the power has its limits. It takes it's toll on The Belles and it takes its toll on the people who partake. I love that it's one of those magical systems where magic doesn't solve all the problems, it creates them as well. However I do think the world-building could have used a little more information. There's a really history to it as well that we have only begun to scratch the surface on it.
But my favorite thing about this world is the political intrigue. I love a fantasy with a lot of politics and court intrigue and this book that that in spades. Seriously! This book had an amazing and devious antagonist who was up to all kinds of nonsense and I loved every second of it. They were such a brilliant villain with vicious scheme after vicious scheme. I was even surprised by a few, although to be fair some of them were more obvious. But either way, it made for a really fantastic facet of a really engaging world.
I also really liked the plot development, but there were some elements that I didn't love. There was a lot more to this plot then I was expecting. I mean first we have the political intrigue which added a lot of drama and plenty of twists to the book. I would say probably for the most part the main focus of this plot was on the political stuff, but there was a lot more to it then that. I do however think that it suffered a little bit from first book syndrome. There were many plot points that were introduced here without much of a resolution. It sometimes felt like it was just dropping clues for something that wouldn't matter until future books, which is totally fine, but I wanted to know more and after awhile it got a little annoying because I knew I wasn't going to get anything from this book. But it did really build to a very exciting conclusion that had me totally on the edge of my seat and in the need on the next book.
Finally, this book had some seriously brilliant characters. I already mention that amazing antagonist and seriously, they were so good, but this also had some really great protagonists. I adored Camelia. She very easily could have been this cliche Mary Sue type but she was super nuance. She had amazing power, power that she doesn't even really understand, and she wants to experiment. She wants to be the best and sometimes that gets her into trouble and she decides how to use her powers for good instead of evil. Plus I really liked that she's very caring and about acceptance even though beauty is a commodity and she earns her living by making people beautiful. Basically she was great and I loved her. But there were other really great characters. There were some interesting portrayals of family and friendship here which I also really enjoyed. The characters were a big part of what I loved about this book.
And boy did I love this book. I loved it a lot. It is probably one of my favorite books of the year. It has a unique and fascinating world, tons of political intrigue and surprises, and amazing characters. I really wish I had read it sooner but better late then never, right?
I give The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton 9.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read The Belles? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!