About The Belles
Welcome to the dark decadence of Dhonielle Clayton's sharp tale of beauty, obsession and magic. . . I AM A BELLE. I CONTROL BEAUTY.
In the opulent world of Orléans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle's powers can make them beautiful.
Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle - the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family.
But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater - and far darker - than she ever imagined.
When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.
My review of The Belles
It waa an sbsolute joy to read The Belles. This groundbreaking YA novel ticked all the boxes for me. It has strong female characters, a stunning new world creation in Orleans, and it's a novel that packs a powerful punch about the way in which women are perceived by society.
The Belles is about a society that focuses everything upon beauty and material possessions. It's a book that is enthused with magic and wonderful captivating characters, and I loved it!
The novel revolves around the central character of Camellia Beauregard, a Belle, who has recently turned sixteen, along with her fellow Belles, whom she calls sisters. The Belles have magical powers that enable them to give beauty and colour to the population of Orléans. They are elevated and respected in all of society, but for Camellia, her dream is to be named the favourite and to work in the Palace for the royal family. However, the palace walls hide many secrets and nothing is quite as it seems. Camellia finds herself asking who can she trust? She also has to dig deep and find out who she actually is and what she is striving for in life, when she has to make the decision of whether to save the ailing princess and risk her own life in the process, forever, or to save herself and the other Belles.
This is an absolutely stunning book. The language is poetic, and I could smell the flowers, see the beautiful dresses and snell the exquisite food. This is new world creation at its very best.
The novel works on two levels. It is an absorbing and enjoyable read about a young woman and her struggle with identity and trust. All of the characters are interesting, and the Belles in particular, who at first appeared superficial, are in fact so much more. It is an enjoyable story. But, on a much deeper level, this novel is about how women are perceived physically in society, and the importance that is placed upon their beauty. This novel raises the questions of 'is beauty so important in modern society? ' 'are women judged on their appearances? ' 'is beauty really that important? ' It's a fascinating read that showcases how women are objectified within Olrleans and which in turn reflects our modern day culture, not only by men, but by other women.
The Belles is a dynamic, multilayered read that grips you from the very beginning. This is a unique and absorbing read. I loved it!
The Belles is published by Gollancz on 8 Feb. 2018. It can be found on Amazon here.
With thanks tp the publisher and NetGaley for the Advanced Reader Copy.