Goodreads Synopsis: 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, Camellial r p 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 had been hoping to get an ARC of this book but it sadly didn’t happen, but thankfully my library got several copies and I was able to read it last month.
I’m really glad I was able to read this book, even though I didn’t end up liking it as much as I hoped I would. The Belles has a really vivid and interesting world. Overall I didn’t care for the writing style, although there were times when the flowery imagery worked really well, sometimes it could be overwhelming. But I did enjoy the characters. Camille is believable and so easy to care for. I loved that she didn’t question anything right off the bat, I feel like every other book does that and so this felt new. I enjoyed Camille’s friends, Edel being the most interesting of the group.
My two reasons for not enjoying this book more were mostly about the plot. Towards the end I felt like I could predict a lot of what was going to happen, and that’s always disappointing. So I took a star off for that because plot is the most important part of a book for me. The other reason I took off a star was the unnecessary death of the lesbian character. Unless your book has a massive cast of queer characters I don’t think it’s okay to kill any of them off.
In the end I gave The Belles three stars. I think the book had some really great parts and some bad parts, but I did like it. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to read the sequel.