The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles by Dhonielle ClaytonThe Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
four-half-stars

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.

“You have to decide for yourself. It is you who must live with the outcome.” — Dhonielle Clayton

I am in awe of this book. What a wonderful, disturbing, menacing world Clayton created in Orléans with the bewitching realm of the Belles. The plot is downright fascinating, dark and diabolical. I was in a trance, not able to escape. In a society not much different from our own, in the way we obsess with beauty, altering ones look is easy. In Orléans, it’s magic and only a Belle has the magic touch. Original in its design and mesmerizing it is narration, “The Belles” is my favorite fantasy book so far this year. Often times behind a beautiful façade are secrets and sadness that cannot be seen, this book gives us so much to think about.

four-half-stars

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