“Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered for they control Beauty, and Beauty is commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born dammed, 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 to live in the royal place, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented 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 faces an impossible decision.
With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles, or resuscitate the princess and risk her ow life, and change the ways of her world forever.”
As this book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, I had pretty high hopes going into to it. I am glad to say that it pretty much lived up to all of those expectations.
This was my bookclub’s pick for the month of February (come join my bookclub here!) It had been suggested by one of the members along with some other the other popular new releases for February and it just sounded the most appealing to me.
It was a fantastic read.
Starting off with the characters, I have kind of a lot of mixed feelings about our main character Camellia. I found her to be interesting for the good majority of the book but at other times, I found her extremely whinny and annoying. It seemed like throughout the first half of the book, she kept complaining about not being chosen as the favorite and that’s it. But, she did grow as a character as the story went on. In the end, I did find her to be enjoyable.
Going into the plot, again I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I found the pacing to be a little too slow for my personal taste. But then that resolved itself and went to a pace that was perfect for my personal taste. But then, at the end, everything wrapped up a little too quickly. I found myself having to go back a couple of pages in order to fully grasp everything that was going on. But that was made up by the massive cliffhanger at the end. It makes me very intrigued to know what will happen in the sequel.
Then going into the diverse aspects of this book. This was by-far my favorite part of the book. We have so much representation. We have a main character who is a person of color. There is other characters as well who are people of color as well. Then we also have a couple of LGBTQIA+ characters. Overall, this book is packed with fantastic representation.
The last thing I want to touch on was my main problem with this book and it kind of goes on the lines with talking about both the characters and diversity. There was a few points in this book which I found to be packed with fat-shaming. As someone who is plus-size, I really didn’t appreciate the ways that the plus-size characters were treated in this book. We don’t get too many books with plus-size characters, let alone main characters who are plus-size, and all of the ones that I have read so far have had some elements of fat-shaming. This problem did start to resolve itself towards the end of the book but it was still there and needs to be talked about.
Overall, I think this book definitely lived up to the hype that it has been getting around the bookish community. Definitely worth checking out! If you guys have read it, be sure to come join us for a live show discussion on my YouTube next Saturday, March 3rd, at 7:00 EST! (You can find my YouTube channel here!)