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The February BOTM is The Belles (The Belles, #1) by Dhonielle Clayton.
- Answer the weekly discussion topic.
- Optional: Discuss your chosen hyped book of the week.
- Optional: Talk about your progress on the BOTM.
TOPIC OF THE WEEK: BOTM Review!
Ever since I first heard about this book, I was really excited to pick it up. Then when it started building up more and more hype, I started to get a little worried that maybe this would turn into all marketing and no substance. Luckily, I was wrong! I actually did enjoy Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles (The Belles, #1).
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.
- Lush World – Okay, Clayton seriously created the most luscious world that I’ve read about in a long time. Everything was described so vividly and beautifully, that I truly felt like I could picture it all down to the very smallest detail. It was basically if you took the atmosphere and party mentality of New Orleans (obviously) and mixed it with the decadence of 18th century Versailles. You won’t want to read this book on an empty stomach, trust me!
- Great Use of Suspense – I find that a lot of books won’t even begin to tease the source of conflict or mystery until you’re almost halfway through the book. They prefer to really build up the world or characters first instead. However, that wasn’t the case in The Belles and I LOVED it. The story barely gets started and you’re immediately teased with a mystery and it only grows from there. If you’re like me and enjoy to immediately be tossed into the conflict, then you’ll really like this book. There ain’t no waitin’ around in this one! 😉
- Fantastic Plot – From beginning until end, I was completely engrossed in this story. In the beginning, I was afraid that this would end up centering around girl drama which was really disappointing. However, that ended quickly and the story dived deeper into political intrigue and mystery. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. There were twists and turns from start to finish that left me begging for more. And that ending?! Talk about a cliffhanger that leaves you dying for the next book!
- Flat Characters – I would say that my biggest disappointment with this story was that most of the characters were lacking in any depth, including Camille. They were all fairly cliche and one dimensional. I would’ve liked to see a bit more fight or inner turmoil from Camille, but instead she seemed to meek and naive for me. She wouldn’t fight back just because she wanted to make everyone happy and I didn’t really connect with her because of that. I also felt that all of the side characters lacked any depth as well, except I did like the bit of mystery that surrounded Auguste. I’m hoping that Clayton fleshes out all of these characters a bit more in the next book and shows some growth with Camille.
Overall, this was a really fun read. I thought the storyline was fascinating and I absolutely fell in love with the world or Orleans. I honestly cannot wait to find out what happens next! However, I do think there could be some improvement character-wise and I hope that’s something that’s explored and fixed in the sequel. I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a book that they can just wholly escape into!
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Have you read The Belles? If so, what did you think of it? What did you think of Camille? Leave a link to your Hype or Like Friday post in the comments below!