Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
I officially have a new favorite series. And I’ll shamelessly admit that I picked this one based on the cover. Isn’t it exciting when the inside turns out to be just as great as the outside? I mean, we all know that is not always the case, but The Belles is the total package.
It’s pretty safe to say that I loved everything about this book. The concept is so much fun, in a twisted, disturbing, totally relatable kind of way. I mean, a society so obsessed with being beautiful they breed women who’s sole purpose in life is to make others beautiful? (Anyone else see a correlation to today’s society? Just me?) Oh, and the characters! The personalities were fantastic! They were so distinct, and there were so many strong characters, with just enough weaker faces thrown in to even it out. Plenty of characters to love, plenty of characters to hate, and plenty of characters riding the fence. My fellow character-driven-story junkies will appreciate this aspect.
Did I mention there’s a love triangle? It was great. Seriously. It kept me on my toes and holding my breath. I do want to say, though, that the romance isn’t the main focus of the story, but rather a side plot of sorts, which I thought added a good balance to the story. And it wove together so perfectly with the rest of the story. And oh-em-gee, the imagery that’s laced throughout this story was stunning. Yes, I realize it’s pretty obvious that there are going to be beautiful “things” all throughout this book, but Clayton’s ability to portray the colors and designs and creativity of the Belles with just words was absolutely amazing. I can still picture the hair and skin they produced.
And now I’m to the point where I can’t say anything else in vague enough terms not to start ruining the story for you. I loved it. I freaking LOVED it (in case all of my babbling thus far hadn’t made that clear). It made for a perfect escape.
Highly recommend. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Book stats: Hardcover, 448 pages, Freeform, February 6, 2018