ARC Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

TheBellesThe Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 6, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 497 Format: ARC Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

This ARC was received by my library department for marketing purposes. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

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.

Wow, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is a wonder of a tale. From the first page I was enchanted by the glittering world and stunning magic as well as the intriguing characters that populate Orléans. It’s a much needed take on beauty and all the delights and dilemmas that come with it so I hope the one gets all the hype and attention it deserves.

Dhonielle Clayton can certainly write, crafting one of the most decadent and luxurious reads I’ve had the pleasure of devouring. The attention to detail and description is fantastic with the entirety of Orléans coming to life in my mind. Everything from beauty rituals to body types was explored in such exquisite depth and the author adds layer upon layer to present an incredibly diverse world.

Camellia is a Belle; a woman who has the power to control beauty. Each generation of Belles grow up together learning their craft under strict guidelines competing with each other to be named the Queen’s favorite. Camellia often pushes the boundaries whether it’s in regards to the rules or even her own gifts. She’s smart and independent but Camellia and her sisters are naive to many things.

With the focus of this book being on beauty, Clayton takes a sharp look at what fuels the standards that people define themselves by. It explores influences of culture, race, and privilege as well as the drive that overcomes people to attain their perfect preconceptions. The story also focuses on confidence and self-esteem and how all of this is interconnected.

Overall Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles was a marvelous read that I just couldn’t put down. With a fascinating world full of court politics and compelling characters, there’s so much to pull the reader in. Plus the discussion on beauty and the lengths people will go for it was impeccably done. I totally recommend picking this one up and I cannot wait for the rest of the story to unfold.

Are you excited for The Belles? Enjoy books that tackle important topics?

Let me know in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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