Goodreads Rating: 3.85 / 5 Stars
My Rating: 4.25 / 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magical
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.
This book is stunningly written and full of excitement.
Camellia is rebellious and ambitious and I love it. The writing style is really descriptive and lovely. I love the plot so much and had such strong feelings throughout this entire book. Camille learns quickly and does what she wants even if it might create problems for her. I adore her.When there was an ‘evil’ character, they were so brilliantly written that I just HATED them with a passion. And then there are the complex main and side characters.
The setting is stunning but it’s the plot that really made this such a brilliant book. There is never a dull moment and once we are past the introduction to the world, the story is a mixture of stressful excitement and tension. The ending was especially stressful but in a good way. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book! 😍
At the end of the book Clayton wrote a small message to the reader and I thought it was especially important. It speaks about beauty standards and pressures put on women. This is a theme throughout the book and Clayton really made a point of making sure that every character – of every body type, size and race, was seen as equally beautiful.
Trigger Warnings: sexual assault & body shaming (never from the MC, Camille expressly loves all body types and sizes).
Happy Reading !