The Belles

The Belles

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 t...

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Title:The Belles
Author:Dhonielle Clayton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Belles Reviews

  • Adam Silvera

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Cannot wait for THE EVERLASTING ROSE.

  • Roxane

    I am guessing this is the first book in a series? A trilogy? All I know is that I want to know what happens next. The Belles is richly, gorgeously detailed in the accounting of the world of Orleans and the Belles, young women who are bred to create beauty amongst the citizenry. It took a bit to get into the book but the last third of the book is absolutely worth the world and character building it takes to get there. In the last third of the book, everything starts falling into place exquisitely

    I am guessing this is the first book in a series? A trilogy? All I know is that I want to know what happens next. The Belles is richly, gorgeously detailed in the accounting of the world of Orleans and the Belles, young women who are bred to create beauty amongst the citizenry. It took a bit to get into the book but the last third of the book is absolutely worth the world and character building it takes to get there. In the last third of the book, everything starts falling into place exquisitely and we finally begin to realize what's at stake for Camellia, her sister Belles, and the people of Orleans. At times, I was overwhelmed by all the description and struggled for a solid sense of place or what things looked like but that is likely my limitation. There is a really intriguing twist, a subtle romantic plot, and lots of moments where I found myself holding my breath and turning the pages so fast, wondering what would happen next. I really look forward to the next book in this series. Also, I want a teacup elephant. Meanwhile, Dhonielle Clayton is a whipsmart writer with grand, grand talents and the imaginative world she has created is memorable and intriguing, indeed.

  • Lola

    This is a book that will surprise you.

    From the outside, it looks like it was written for princesses-to-be, but the inside is different. Among the lush descriptions of dresses and beautiful people, there is darkness lurking.

    I couldn’t stop reading. Camellia has all the qualities a heroine needs: kindness, strength, empathy, determination, courage and the willingness to make a change. Quite evidently, it takes her time to realize the danger she and the other Belles are in, but when she does, she

    This is a book that will surprise you.

    From the outside, it looks like it was written for princesses-to-be, but the inside is different. Among the lush descriptions of dresses and beautiful people, there is darkness lurking.

    I couldn’t stop reading. Camellia has all the qualities a heroine needs: kindness, strength, empathy, determination, courage and the willingness to make a change. Quite evidently, it takes her time to realize the danger she and the other Belles are in, but when she does, she doesn’t stay quiet.

    The Belles exist to give people exquisite features; to make them beautiful. Even so, the citizens are the ones who need them the most, as they do not have enough money to pay Belles, but the rich tend to be the only ones to use the abilities of Belles.

    Like it isn’t like that everywhere in the world? And ultimately, the rich overuse the Belles, which puts their health in a precarious spot.

    Although Camellia doesn’t need anyone to share her spotlight, she is better when she is with her sisters, who do not make apparitions often, but they are rather present in the heroine’s thoughts. I loved the sisterhood.

    The author has a lot to say about the definition of beauty and how we should never let others' perceptions of us create or shape our image.

    I cannot wait to see where this is going.

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  • Emma Giordano

    4.5 stars! I had a lot of fun with this story and cannot wait to see where things go from here!

    TW: sexual assault, "bury your gays" trope

    The writing style of

    is one of it’s most prominent points. The prose is decadent, entrancing, and lavish. For me personally, it was a little too flowery at some points but all around unique and interesting. It’s so sweet, full of detailed descriptions of vibrant and sugary imagery, I almost felt as if I could get a cavity from just reading. I do feel

    4.5 stars! I had a lot of fun with this story and cannot wait to see where things go from here!

    TW: sexual assault, "bury your gays" trope

    The writing style of

    is one of it’s most prominent points. The prose is decadent, entrancing, and lavish. For me personally, it was a little too flowery at some points but all around unique and interesting. It’s so sweet, full of detailed descriptions of vibrant and sugary imagery, I almost felt as if I could get a cavity from just reading. I do feel the pacing was quite slow in the beginning. With so much to set up in this fantasy world, it did drag a bit but as soon as the plot picked up and more significant events were happening, the pace improved.

    The world is equally as individual – Set in a fantasy New Orleans where citizens are born grey, a group of women called the Belles bring beauty to the kingdom of Orlèans. Though there is no modern concept of race/racial tensions, color is beauty and changes as fast as any other fashion trend. It was an interesting take on the many conversations surrounding equality that we are already having today. Regarding the Belles, I did struggle to fully understand how their magic works in the beginning but it felt well developed by the end of the story and I am excited to see how their powers continue to expand in the following books.

    I really enjoyed the cast of characters. Camille, Remy, and Edel are my favorites (I CANNOT wait to get to know Edel more in book two!) I would have loved more development on the other Belles as they are ushered out of the story early in the beginning and only appear in short notes to Camille, but I am very hopeful for some powerful girl-squad action in the future. I also love the development of the villain(s) in this story. They are SO DARK AND CRUEL, the perfect antagonist, creating so many conflicts and difficult decisions all throughout the novel. While writing this review, I’ve decided the sinister elements of the story are some of my favorites. On the contrary, I feel the romance in this story was one of the weaker parts. I don’t feel there was enough development of their relationship for me to feel real chemistry between the characters, and that lessened the impact of certain events throughout the story.

    Overall, I had a fun time reading

    . If you’re in need of a whimsical yet dark fantasy novel, this is the one for you!

  • Emily May

    Woah.

    . The world and story slowly build through stunning descriptions, as the author peels back the layers of society's obsession with beauty, revealing all the ugliness that lies underneath.

    In the fictional world of Orléans, a small number of girls called Belles are able to use magic to create beautiful (or, indeed, ugly) looks to the paying customer's desire. Camel

    Woah.

    . The world and story slowly build through stunning descriptions, as the author peels back the layers of society's obsession with beauty, revealing all the ugliness that lies underneath.

    In the fictional world of Orléans, a small number of girls called Belles are able to use magic to create beautiful (or, indeed, ugly) looks to the paying customer's desire. Camellia and her sister Belles have been trained their whole lives for their job, and each longs to be chosen as Her Majesty’s favorite - the one responsible for keeping the royal family beautiful and satisfied.

    The descriptions are lavish, an effective juxtaposition with the darker plot lines that unfold. The ugliness in this beautiful world creeps out slowly, though I still found the earlier chapters compelling. Clayton's world was unique enough, and the characters interesting enough, to keep me enchanted until it was time to learn what was lurking under the surface, but it is the last hundred pages where the book really shines. In a horrific way.

    Questions gradually arise about the origin of the Belles and their magic. Loyalties are also questioned. Camellia and the other Belles hear voices crying out in the night; voices of people who shouldn't be there. And there is a deliciously despicable villain whose desire for beauty, it seems, cannot be sated, and who made my blood pressure rise and my heart pound.

    But, through it all, the real villain is society's obsession with, and expectations for, beauty. In a world where every part of a person can be changed - skin, hair and eye colour, bone structure, waist, breast and hip size, and more - no one is ever satisfied. In the insatiable quest for beauty, deep down, everyone hates themselves. Behind this mesmerizing fantasy of magic and terrible secrets, there is a sad tale, and one that many of us won't find completely unfamiliar.

    Lots of originality and food for thought. Oh, and it's a damn good pageturner, too.

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  • Cesar

    3.5 stars

    has been on my radar the second I found out about the synopsis. It reminds me a lot of what Tyra Banks tried to do in her novel Modelland. Except, The Belles does it 10,000,000X better. The fictional world Dhonielle created is lush with beautiful descriptions of the world, it's contraptions, the food, everything about it was just so damn near perfect.

    As the title says, there are girls known as Belles who can control beauty and can make a pers

    3.5 stars

    has been on my radar the second I found out about the synopsis. It reminds me a lot of what Tyra Banks tried to do in her novel Modelland. Except, The Belles does it 10,000,000X better. The fictional world Dhonielle created is lush with beautiful descriptions of the world, it's contraptions, the food, everything about it was just so damn near perfect.

    As the title says, there are girls known as Belles who can control beauty and can make a person beautiful by adjusting a person's body. Whether it be their hair color/length, body size, skin tones, etc. They can do it all. Camellia and her sisters are Belles. They have trained their skills to become the Queen's favorite. When Camellia is the favorite, she couldn't be happy. That is until secrets about what goes on in the palace are uncovered. And the truth about Camellia's abilities and her identity as a Belle will be revealed.

    I had a lot of fun reading the Belles. Not only does it have a beautiful cover, (almost) everything about it is beautiful.

    1) The world.

    The world of the Belles reminds me a lot of

    by Lauren DeStefano and while they do share some similarities technology-wise (such as cameras), they differ in both magic and hierarchy. They both have that Victorian-era look which I love. Anything that is Victorian-era/gaslamp fantasy is an automatic Yes for me.

    Also, there are teacup animals. Teacup elephants, monkeys, dogs, cats, DRAGONS! *snap snap* Someone, get me a teacup dragon.

    2) Descriptions.

    Dhonielle does a fantastic job of making the world so vivid and real. Not only is there a gorgeous map in the book, but even without the map, I can imagine what Dhonielle writes. Aside from the environment, there are great descriptions of the characters.

    3) The magic.

    What the Belles can do is both fascinating and kind of scary. These girls can literally change a person. The people of Orléans are born grey, born with red eyes, and their hair is unkempt. The Belles are born with color and can bring beauty to the people. It isn't permanent fix as the people begin to go back to their original self and there is beauty appointment where the Belles can alter them again.

    I did love how the magic was used in altering people and how it describes the dangers of using it.

    As much as I liked the Belles, it is a diamond in the rough as it does have a few flaws.

    1) Pacing.

    Keep in mind, the plot doesn't pick up until about 50% into the book. I definitely did have some moments where I put down the book for a few hours because I wanted the plot to move forward. A good chunk of the book does talk about Camellia's life at the palace as a favorite. I didn't mind it at first because the descriptions did help somewhat. But I wanted more plot progression instead of having it in the last 50% of the book.

    2) Camellia.

    I did not hate Camellia. But I didn't love her either. She had her moments of where I did like her and cheered for her. But there were other times when I rolled my eyes at her rash mistakes. She's the type that doesn't follow rules. She does follow most rules but she has this stubbornness that is annoying, not the good kind of stubborn.

    I do lean more to liking her because she does see beauty in people and there were times when doing her appointments where she compliments the person and doesn't see the need to alter them.

    But then she does something stupid in which makes me sort of not like her.

    3) Character/villain development.

    There is some tension between Camellia and her friend Amber. A tension that was unnecessary. Thier friendship felt false and Amber was seen as the jealous friend type. She's friends with Camellia at the beginning but she does a 180 and is like:

    As for Camellia, she somewhat remains static as a character. She isn't a bad character, but she was lacking. Mainly, she was naive as some points. I kid you not when I say a 10 year old can pick up on when something is strange and does a better job at it than Camellia.

    The villain here is also disappointing because the story doesn't give that much background on them. They're just evil for no reason.

    Why?

    4) Romance.

    There is a love interest and I did not like him.

    Dhonielle wants him to be this sort of wise-guy who makes jokes but it came off as bland because there was absolutely no development for this guy. It only makes it worse because, for some godforsaken reason, Camellia is smitten by him.

    I just could not see the appeal of this guy whatsoever. He comes off as neither appealing or charismatic. He isn't like my precious cinnamon roll, Nikolai.

    What makes it worse is that he did that it was "love at first sight" bullshit I fucking hate. This character literally has no development or characteristics other than he's just some random dude who fell for Camellia.

    There's been talk about something that Dhonielle did to one of the side characters which looking back at it, I can see why some people may not like it.

    What people are talking about is the Bury your Gay trope. One of the side characters (I don't know her name, that's how such a boring character she is) is killed for some reason that isn't fully explained. That character also happened to be a lesbian. Her death was just redundant and it only added to Camelia's development. That's a type of writing I hate if someone has to die for no reason and the main character. The girl wasn't even an important character to begin with. I fail to see why she was involved in the story.

    Just to be clear, the character in question didn't die because of her sexuality. She died so she could be a plot device for Camellia to develop. It just didn't fit in the grand scheme of Camellia's journey. If this had gone down the road where the character died because of her sexuality, I would've docked a star and given it a 2-star rating.

    Personally, I am not angered by this trope though I can understand why others would be angry about this.

    The Belles is a decent start to a fantasy series. It has strange yet unique use of magic, it's world is beautiful, and the descriptions were just so lush. Even with its minor flaws, I do think the Belles is a good book worth reading if you are interested in it.

    Thanks for reading my review!

    -Cesar

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  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I first "wished" for an ARC of this on NetGalley last spring, when the hype started to peak. I was going to email in a request shortly after, when some things were brought to my attention that I'd rather not go into publicly, but made me lose interest pretty quickly. Then, right before the book was released, I randomly had my "wish" approved and cringed, because I didn't want to read this. But, I always promise to give ARCs an honest try, so I decided to go into this as open-minded as possible..

    I first "wished" for an ARC of this on NetGalley last spring, when the hype started to peak. I was going to email in a request shortly after, when some things were brought to my attention that I'd rather not go into publicly, but made me lose interest pretty quickly. Then, right before the book was released, I randomly had my "wish" approved and cringed, because I didn't want to read this. But, I always promise to give ARCs an honest try, so I decided to go into this as open-minded as possible... until friends spoiled the ending for me in an attempt to keep me from being totally broken-hearted by the fact that in the year 2018, authors are

    burying their queer women at these levels.

    I'm not going to try and talk anyone out of reading this book, and I'm not going to give it a star rating, because I have not finished it. I DNFed it really fast, when I realized that there was no way it wasn't going to hurt me to watch queer women, yet again, being killed off just for the sake of a plot device. Please don't come at me with negative comments or try to dissuade me - after all, I'm not adding a star rating. I'm not hurting this book's ratings. I only am posting this instead of simply silently removing the book from my shelves because I know a lot of my friends and followers have been awaiting my review on this one, and I want to give them a heads up.

    Any harassment will be removed and the users will be blocked, so don't come here looking for a fight.

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