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.
I loved this, such a different take on beauty in fantasy.
I loved that the treatments obviously cause pain, and I liked the intrigue and mystery surrounding their world – though I definitely wanted more answers there! But that’s just a good excuse to snap up book two as soon as I can hehe.
I like Camellia, she felt rich and complex with both wanting to do well and wanting to be the best and realising that those aren’t always the same thing. And Sophia was properly scary! I wanted a bit more on Amber – her desperation to excel needed some further explanation really, but again I hope we get that and more on what really happened to her.
I love the whole world set up, and the secrets behind everything.