Release Date: February 6th 2018
Series: The Belles #1
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Fashion & Beauty, General, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
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.
“No one is a prisoner.
Even you have the power to make your own choices.”
A unique world, but one that lacks explanation
If I could only say one thing about THE BELLES, it would be that it has an entirely unique premise. I can’t think of anything like it. This book revolves around the concept that people are born gray, as entirely blank canvases, and only a few gifted girls have the power to restore color and beauty to them.
There is a lot more that goes into the plot, such as politics, dark secrets, and pretty dresses, but all of it is surrounded by the fact that there is so little explanation for anything and we never really found out why some things are the way they are. I believe in adding an element of mystery to keep a reader wondering, but by the end I still had more questions than answers.
Couldn’t connect to the main character
Camellia is chosen as The Favorite, a special Belle (the group of girls that can restore beauty), to serve the queen and princess. She was naive and entitled and still managed to be a bland, vanilla character that I never managed to connect to or care about. She just seemed to lack any personality, and most of her decisions aren’t well thought-out or lead to anything. For a 400 page book, not being able to relate to the main character is a problem.
Unnecessarily detailed descriptions
Speaking of the size of this book, it was made worse by the chunky paragraphs of food, dress, and design descriptions that stretched on and on. I love writing that can make you feel like you are actually there, but the descriptions here were tedious, plain and simple.
A romance I couldn’t buy into
As for the romance, there are
sorta two love interests but there’s a predictable twist surrounding one of them and the foundations of the “relationship” weren’t really based on anything besides banter so there was no depth or anything to it. This could be a positive too though, because it meant the book actually focused on other things.
Good twists that kept me reading
This book is actually hiding some pretty dark things that you wouldn’t expect, but it wasn’t enough to really impress me after all of the other issues I had. I do have to admit some great plot points were set up and little things are teased at you now and then, which is why I ended up following through until the end. But like I said earlier, this one ended with more questions than answers, even if it’s a series.
“You have to decide for yourself.
It is you who must live with the outcome.”