THE EVERLASTING ROSE, the sequel to Dhonielle Clayton’s THE BELLES, releases today. In honor, I will review THE BELLES, the first in the duology. This post DOES NOT CONTAIN SPOILERS.
If you would like to read the spoiler post click here. To begin, here is the summary and the shortened review:
Summary: 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.
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Why I was interested: I was really intrigued by the combination of fashion and magic as it is a combo I’ve wishing to see since the GOSSIP GIRL/THE CLIQUE/POSEUR/Poppy titles came out in the mid-2000s. It also made me think of Disney’s The Princess and The Frog because we always need more magical New Orleans-inspired stories.
Judge a book by it’s cover: We have our lovely Camellia on the cover with her beautiful dress and floral hair piece. It’s a great combination of representation and fantasy magic.
What to expect: A fascinating magic system that also might freak you out (but in a brilliant way). Hints of science fiction. Amazing fashion and makeup but also a thorough discussion on how fashion media can impact how people think they should look.
Why you should pick this book up: If you are fascinated by a New Orleans-inspired world, mythology, morally grey magic, and fashion. If you enjoyed Gita Trelease’s ENCHANTÉE, you will enjoy THE BELLES too.
Want more?: If you have read THE BELLES, you can read the post containing spoilers here.
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