27 Oct 2021

#Review: THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton



Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Series: The Belles #1
Source: Audio from Audible Plus
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

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.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Ooof. That's all I can say about this one. There is a lot of things that could have been really great about this one, but it ended up being a bit of a flop. 

To get it out of the way, one of the lesbian characters die. I want to give the benefit of the doubt that this wasn't a "bury your gays" but a sense of the type of persecution if you didn't quite fit in to the way that our main villain saw the world. But you read it and tell me what you think (or don't lol).

The first scene was a mix of The Selection and The Hunger Games, which hooked me. I wanted to know more about the way that the Belles were judged and selected, but then we didn't get that. It was a jump right into the rest of the book. There was zero explanation about the magic system, the way that the society works, or anything that would really pull you into the narrative of the story.

But Camilla was a terrible main character. She couldn't see or notice anything and it was so frustrating. She would speak up when she shouldn't and didn't say anything when she should. She didn't ask the right questions or do anything with the information she learned. And she completely refused to think of anything but herself and being the FaVOurIte which was terrible to me. She had such a poor sense of judgement and trusted the wrong people for such weird reasons.

The romance was also so bad. Like where did it come from and why? There was no reason for it at all and was barely explored but we were supposed to just believe it? No. I refuse. Especially since we're told time and again that falling in love can taint the blood of the Belles which will take away some of their source of magic.

I have the next book and I will read it but I don't know if I'll enjoy it.

TLDR: So disappointing. Started off so strong and good with the way we were introduced to the characters and the world. But then increasingly became worse and worse. The villains were comically evil, the characters were comically naive, and the magic was the only interesting part and was barely touched. I have the second book already so I'll continue but it's just not shaping up to be great.

Have you read this book? Are you going to pick this up?

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