Book Review: The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

Book: The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

Published March 2019 by Freeform|344 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: The Belles #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans. 

I have really mixed feelings about The Everlasting Rose.  I really liked The Belles when I read it almost two years ago- enough to pick up the sequel and see what happened next.  But I’m not sure how I feel about the sequel.

I really liked the world and we see more of it in this one.  I felt like the underground resistance randomly came up but I also feel like it sort of makes sense, considering how little Camille actually knew.  We learned some stuff at the end of The Belles that is the focus in this book.  Sophia really takes things to a different level, and part of me wishes we had spent more time closer to Sophia to actually see what happens.  We do get it in bits and pieces throughout the book, which is fine, and works okay enough, considering what’s going on with Camille, Edel and Remy.

I did like the significance of the Everlasting Rose, and how it had a few different meanings.  I really liked the moments where I got to see each meaning of it.  One is definitely better than the other, that’s for sure.

There’s definitely more to the Belles power than I originally thought.  It was hinted at in The Belles, and I did kind of like how it was used throughout the book.  It makes me wish we saw it earlier in the series, because I wanted to see a little bit more of it, but I think it worked well here.  Just because the first book had a different focus than this one, and it might have been a little out of place in this book.

Changes are in store for Orleans, and under Sophia’s rule, you see how much it affects everyone.  What people think about the changes under Charlotte’s rule remains to be seen, and hopefully, we’ll see that in the last book.  Even though my overall feeling is…meh…I still want to finish out the series and see how much has changed.  I won’t be rushing out to get the next book, but at some point, when it is released, I’ll pick it up and read it.

I wanted to like it more, but considering how fast I went through this book, I didn’t like it as much as I could have.  It did keep me reading, though, so I’ll give it that.

2 stars.  Overall, The Everlasting Rose was okay.  The world is interesting but I lost interest in Camille’s world in this book.  Hopefully, the next book get my attention a lot more than this one day.

Book Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Book: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Published February 2018 by Disney-Hyperion|448 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Belles #1

Genre: YA

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 was really looking forward to reading The Belles, especially since I really liked the Tiny Pretty Things series.  It’s really worth reading, and I really liked it.

I almost said that I really enjoyed it, but the word enjoyed somehow doesn’t seem like the right word.  I think it’s because the book was a lot darker than I ever expected.  I guess you could say it’s fantasy, but for some reason, I also got this whole dystopian vibe from it.  Which is strange, considering that dystopia (at least for me) always leans towards sci-fi and technology, and this book very much relies on magic and gods and goddesses, which is more fantasy than sci-fi.  It should be interesting to see how the book turns out genre-wise, because I think it could be an interesting combination for the rest of the series if there are elements of fantasy and dystopia.

I did picture a fictional New Orleans- which is probably because Camellia lives in a place called Orleans.  It’s like Victorian England meets New Orleans on either an island or a city right on the water.  I could picture everything pretty well, and it seems pretty vivid.

I was both fascinated and horrified by the descriptions of Camellia’s work with her clients.  It’s really descriptive, so I could see it really clearly.  It’s fascinating what people will do to be seen as beautiful but at the same time, it was horrifying because the people who make appointments with Camellia will do anything to be seen as beautiful.  Beauty really is subjective, and Clayton does an amazing job at showing that and how beauty standards can change.

It did start off slow, but it does pick up.  Things seem so innocent at first, but once you learn how the Belles came to be, and the further you get into the world, the less innocent it seems.  It’s a dark world, and yet, there are so many secrets.  We do learn some of them, but I feel like there’s a lot more to this world than we see.

I’m actually really excited about reading the rest of the series, because I want to know more about what’s going.  It’s going to be a long wait, but at least I can re-read The Belles in the meantime.

4 stars.  The Belles, while I really liked it, wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me.  I recommend it, and it’s a great book, but it just didn’t have that something that would get 5 stars.  Which does make me a little sad, because something about Camellia’s world was very, very familiar to me.