Title: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Category: Young Adult
Status: Book 1 of The Belles
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.
Okay so WOW. I don’t know what I expected going into the book but I did not expect THIS.
I’ve seen the hype about this book around and since I prefer reading a book when it’s NOT totally hyped up, I waited a while before picking it up. And I loved it.
In this world, everything revolves around beauty. There are “Belles” who control beauty—as in, they can literally change the features of a person and make them look different. More beautiful. The process does cause some pain for the person being transformed and depletes the energy of the Belles, but it’s the main thing. The laws and trends are more around beauty than anything else.
We follow Camellia Beauregard as she is shown to the public and competes to be the best Belle, who will serve the royal family.
But the world is not as innocent as it seems, even for the Belles. As she continues to work, she uncovers secrets that the kingdom has tried to keep from the Belles and also about the royal family. She learns more about where she comes from and who she is supposed to be. It all conflicts with who she WANTS to be and wants to believe in.
Camilla is headstrong, competitive and tries to stand out from her sisters. I liked how she kept trying to figure out what’s going on, try to get answers and go against the ignorant path that has been laid out for her. She also has really good bonds with her sisters.
The royal family were written PERFECTLY. Especially the younger princess, who is cruel and makes everyone around her revolve around what she wants, including the Belle. The queen is slightly better but not much.
The supporting characters were pretty good but other than the Belles, the princess and Camilla’s love interest, the others aren’t that important. And to be honest, I didn’t feel the love interest to be that important as well because the main plot is the secrets.
The World Building
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. The description given about the world and the Belles in the beginning was so good! I fell in love with the world.
Throughout the novel we find out more and more about the world. We see taglines about beauty laws and regulation, beauty trends and much more. While I do feel like we don’t know everything about the world, it isn’t easy to cover more AND focus on the plot.
The whole concept of a world revolving around beauty in a higher scale is BRILLIANT. The author has taken the current underlying things about beauty and kicked it into high gear, forming a whole new world with it. Totally recommended if you want to read a whole new type of fantasy!