Summary: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.
4 Stars You can also read it on GR!
What I expected: A YA Historical fantasy with beautiful pose that talks about the social norms of beauty.
What I got: A YA Dynopian, Sci Fi, Historical Fantasy which not only breaks down the social norms of beauty but gets down to the dirtiness of it with its commentary. What people would do to themselves or to others in order to maintain or obtain beauty and power. From magical plastic surgery, to straight up slavery to mass production process. Which also feel like if the Hunger Games was only focus on the people in the Capital and not the games itself.
The Belles are revered in the World of Orleans ( which is highly influence of French Culture) because they are with magic in their bloods, the Acrcana which can not only alternate a person skin color, but can alternate their height, weight, body shape and anything in between. In a sense, they are magical plastic surgeons who were blessed with their powers from the Goddess of beauty.. Camellia, a 16-year-old Belle which finally made her debut to the court of Orleans, is desperate to become the favorite, the Belle who highly revered in the World of Orleans for maintaining the beauty of the Royal Family with beauty treatments. At first she doesn’t become the favorite but during a turn of events, she becomes the favorite and is thrust into the place life which she realized that is not all what it seems.