Sunday, 13 May 2018

Review - The Belles (The Belles, #1) by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Belles (The Belles, #1)
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Pages: 448
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: 8th February 2018

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control beauty, and beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, 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 Orleans 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 Orleans 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.

My Review:

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley*

In the world of Orleans, beauty is the most important thing. The people of Orleans are born with grey skin, red eyes and straw-like hair, but there are the Belles who can transform people to make them beautiful.
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. She and her sisters have been training for years and now the time has come for the Queen to decide which of them will become the favourite Belle. The favourite will live at the royal palace and attend to the royal family. Camellia wants to be the favourite more than anything.
As events unfold, Camellia learns that things at the palace are more dangerous than they seem, and that being the favourite might not be such a good thing after all.

When I think of The Belles, cakes and dresses spring to mind. However, there's a lot more to the Belles than those two things!
I liked Camellia. I felt sorry for her when things didn't turn out the way she thought they would. She was maybe a little naive, but given how she had been brought up I thought that was understandable.
I enjoyed the plot. There were several things that I didn't see coming, but I did have a feeling that there was more to a certain character than there seemed.
I did feel that some aspects could have been expanded on a lot more. I'm left with a lot of questions. For example, in The Belles, there are things called teacup animals. The only description that I can remember reading is that they're small. So are they called teacup animals because they fit inside of a teacup? What are they made of? I imagined them as being porcelain. I thought they were a cute idea though.
I loved the concept of post-balloons. Some of the technology was almost steampunk at times.
The way that the people of Orleans were willing to go through so much pain to be beautiful was a bit scary, but I imagine that happens in real life sometimes.
Some of the descriptions were almost magical at times. I found the writing style easy to follow and it made me want to read on.
I'm definitely planning to read the sequel as I want to see what happens next and I'm hoping we'll learn more about Orleans and the Belles.

Overall this was an enjoyable read.