My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: HBG Canada
First Published: February 20th, 2018
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy, Beauty, Romance, Sisterhood
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.
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 other’s perceptions of us create our image.
I cannot wait to see where this is going.
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