My Rating ~ Four stars
Date published: 6 February 2018
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.
In the world of Orleans people are born drab and grey, but can employ ‘Belles’, at a price, to change their appearance to whatever ‘beauty’ their mind can imagine. Every Belle wants to be the queen’s favourite. To be the Belle to serve the royal family and choose their royal look. But being the favourite may not be the alluring career the Belles have imagined it to be.
I really enjoyed the world building in this book. It was magical and easy to be swept away in. I think the author did a fantastic job of drawing us into the Beaty of the Belles, while keeping the crippling beauty obsession we as a society subscribe to simmering under the surface. The question of ‘how far would you go to be beautiful’ is relevant as well as sickening.
I felt as though we could have learned more about the other Belles, their characters were definite side characters to Camellia, but I hope their stories will continue in the next book.
As an aside, I don’t think I can finish this review without mentioning THAT INCREDIBLE COVER or the PINK map inside!
Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl