The Belles – Dhonielle Clayton | Book Review*

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton book cover

The Belles Synopsis

Note: This review is spoiler-free!

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.

Why did I pick it?

I went through a stage of reading lots of books which I thought were similar to this, The Selection series by Kiera Cass and The Lone City series by Amy Ewing being the two that come to mind. But there was something about the books synopsis which made me think this might be a little different.

What I loved about it

I was right to think this would be different. It has all the usual elements, the competition, the ranked society; but it also had a darker undertone. The way in which “beauty” is bought and traded by those with the money and influence to do so may sound ridiculous, but often the storyline wasn’t that far from today’s influencer society and this made elements of it all the more disturbingly close to reality for me.

The setting for the story was also a highlight, rich in detail and description it really helped you visualise the world that Camellia lives in. The world it created in my mind was rich, quirky and if I’m honest, not unlike The Capitol in The Hunger Games, with perhaps more of a French Quarter feel.

After the initial scene setting and introductions the storyline takes on a bit of a mystery and I loved how this evolved throughout the book and Camellia starts to learn the true purpose of The Belles in Orléans. I’m a sucker for any kind of mystery and this certainly turned it into a real page turner for me.

What I loathed about it

If I was to pick at anything it would be the ending. Maybe I read far too many of the genre recently but the twists and reveals you could spot a mile away so after the early mystery it lost a bit of momentum. Saying this it ends on enough of a cliffhanger that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the next book in the series when it’s released in March this year.

Thoughts

A rich and descriptive world with enough mystery and intrigue to make it impossible for you to put down until you’ve finished the last page.

When and where can you can get it

You can purchase The Belles on Amazon today

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* Book provided FOC in exchange for an honest and fair review

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