This review contains spoilers.
“Dreams remind us of who we are and how we feel about the things around us.”
Series: The Belles
Published: 2018, by Gollancz.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic
Contains: Blood/Gore, Violence, Torture, Body Image, Sexual Assault, Death
‘The Belles’ is a fantasy tale about a group of women with the ability to morph and reinvent a persons physical appearance into anything they desire. Those rich enough to afford the treatment are open to a world of opportunities, changing themselves along with the trends. A group of Belles, Camellia Beauregard and her sisters, are in competition to be the ‘favourite’, where they’ll live in the palace and be the royals personal Belle. However, Camillia soon discovers that being the ‘favourite’ isn’t as glamorous as it’s set up to be.
I was a little apprehensive about this novel. Although, I have read many positive reviews on it, the size of it, considering it’s an authors debut book, made me a little nervous. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure I would have liked the subject matter. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
Camellia’s character is one worth reading from the start. During the initial competition, she’s full of passion and determination, desperate to win the title of the ‘favourite’. However, when she lost she was devastated, but continued to try and prove that she deserved that title. When Sophia’s plans came into light, Camellia went against her, disobeying orders and did what she believed was best. This strength of a protagonist was wonderful to read, loving her as a character throughout the novel.
Another character I loved was Edel. Although, her whereabouts were unknown for the majority of the novel, the beginning competition and her complete hatred for being a Belle was great to read. She maintained a level of entertainment within the story, formulating questions of why she detested her fate so much.
Remy’s character was one I still have questions on, unsure of his true feelings towards Camellia. However, as the climax of the story sets up an interesting series, I really hope we’ll learn more of him in the future.
The story itself was fairly steady paced, setting up an engaging fantasy world in around four hundred pages while I driving a large collection of complex characters. However, the writing style was a little difficult to digest at times, overusing adjectives and heavy descriptions on meaningless things. Although, the dialogue brought you back into the story, the description had the tendency to ruin the immersion at times.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were well-rounded and the story worth investing in. I can’t wait to learn more about the future of the Belles.