In Camellia’s world, beauty is currency. People are born completely gray, with straw hair, and blood red eyes—it takes the magic of a Belle to make them beautiful. Those who can afford the beauty services of the Belles are the elite of society. They have the most power, importance, and of course, the most beauty. Camellia has trained her entire life to be the favorite Belle—loved and coveted by all—and to the King and Queen. She successfully lands herself in the castle, only to find that beneath the glitz and glamour of her position lies torment and horror. Camellia’s magic is misused and used for purposes more awful than she ever could have imagined. When her sister Belles begin to vanish without a trace, and palace life proves to be a nightmare, Camellia must sacrifice everything to save her fellow sisters and her kingdom—even herself.
I loved how decadent this book was! The writing was vibrant, full of detail, and color. It was impossible not to devour this story of mystery, magic, and darkness. The Belles is a powerful blend of kingdom politics, sisterhood, and a hate-to-love romance. Each of the characters has their own dark side, which makes them feel real and relatable. I truly felt transported to Camellia’s world while reading The Belles.
While the book is unique and stands completely on its own, it shares elements from Girls of Paper and Fire and The Luxe series (which I also love). The transformation scenes where Camellia uses her powers, showcasing the abilities of the Belles, were unbelievable and well described. Dhonielle Clayton wrote beautiful background for the Belles explaining who they are and where the source of their power lies. Clayton’s writing made the entire world feel believable and easy to step into. Their world is based off of New Orleans and is filled with Orleans references and patois. It was beautiful to see a black female main character lead a story about beauty, elegance, and power. I needed this book and I already cannot wait to reread it. Pick up this book before the highly anticipated sequel, The Everlasting Rose, comes out on March 5th!
By Jesse E
YouTube: Bowties & Books