The Belles

Hi bookworms! 

Before I get round to sharing my first review of 2018 with you all, I just want to wish you a very Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is a going to be a wonderful year for you all, filled with lots of happiness, health and, of course, books!

There has been lots of hype surrounding The Belles and I was very lucky enough to receive an early copy of the book which was kindly sent to me by the publishers (the official release date for The Belles is February 8th!). But without further ado, here is my review of Dhonielle Clayton's debut...


Official 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, 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.

Favourite quote:


'Beauty is variety. Beauty is change.'


Favourite character:


In this book I felt more drawn towards the secondary characters as opposed to the protagonist Camellia. Don't get me wrong - Camellia was a great main character in terms of what she stood for. She challenged societal beliefs and questioned her own, regardless of the risks that doing so would cause. She didn't shy away from horrible truths. But personally, I couldn't connect with her. I think it was because in the beginning, she was so consumed with the idea of being the best Belle that I struggled to get a feel for her personality.

I felt like other characters, such as Edel, the sister wanting to be free from the constraints of a life already mapped out for her, and Remy, a stoic guard with a past he spoke very little of, much more intriguing! I would love to read novellas of them.

3 words to describe the book:

Vibrant, powerful, unsettling. 


Rating:


✮✮✮✮/✮✮✮✮✮

When I read the first few chapters of this book, I was amazed at how vibrant the world of Orléans was and I think Dhonielle Clayton did an extremely brilliant job at making the setting very easy to visualise; the descriptions were imaginative and colourful, and bizarre in a way that made me feel both awed and slightly unsettled at the same time. I absolutely love stories with rich world building and this definitely did not disappoint me - it all felt very atmospheric!

World building aside, I also really liked how The Belles explored lots of  very important themes - friendship and sisterhood to name but a few. But fundamentally, the thing that struck me the most about this novel was how the plot heavily focused around beauty. Dhonielle Clayton didn't just gloss over this theme, or explore it to an extent. She exposed it. Stripped it raw. Completely pulled it apart. Beauty is something that is heavily ingrained within our society, and to see this theme challenged  in such a grotesque yet powerful way really made me understand why this book has been receiving lots of praise.

What is beauty? Why do people feel the need to be beautiful? Is it because, with its advertisements and celebrity culture, society has made us believe that being beautiful is the most valuable thing? If society didn't try to market beauty, would the need to look beautiful even matter to us? These are all questions that The Belles prompted me to ask myself.

If you're looking for something new to read this year, I really recommend this book. The world building is beautiful and the message this story delivers is very powerful. The longer I had to reflect on it, the more powerful the message actually became. And I think when a book does that, it really is something special!

My Top 5 Favourite Reads of 2017

I managed to surprise myself and read a total of 55 books this year. Some of them were okay, some of them were really good, and some of them were absolutely mind-blowing. With it being the final day of 2017, I thought now would be the perfect time to share my top 5 favourite reads of the year with you all. Queue the drumroll... 

Inferno (Blood For Blood #2)

This afternoon, I have a book review of Inferno, the second Blood For Blood book by Catherine Doyle, to share with you all. It's completely spoiler free, but if you haven't read my review of the first book Vendetta yet, I recommend that you do (you can click on the italics to be sent to the review!).

Vendetta (Blood For Blood #1)

Hello bookworms! 

I binge read the entire Blood For Blood trilogy by Catherine Doyle in a week and I have no regrets about it because it was one of the most amazing trilogies I have ever read in my life.

This evening, I'm very excited to share my review of Vendetta, the first book, with you all. Reviews for book two and three will follow suit!

Angel

Hi everyone! I'm back from my mini Internet break and today I have a new review of Angel by L.A. Weatherly to share with you all.

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