Bullet Point-Review: The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton

This book was easily my most anticipated read of 2018 – well, almost, there are so many incredible new releases, it’s hard to keep up, let alone choose one we are anticipating the most. THAT is another question for another day, though. I was eagerly waiting for The Belles to be released, to devour it and hopefully, love it. You know how it is, when you’re expecting a lot… afraid of being disappointed. Here, thankfully, I wasn’t… let’s check out why now, shall we.

The book

Dhonielle Clayton, The Belles, Published by Disney Hyperion, February 6th, 2018.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5Camellia 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 expected to be blown away by the world-building in this story and… I was. It was rich, imaginative, colorful, brilliant. I tend to be fascinated with worlds talking about beauty, what beauty is “supposed” to be and so on and The Belles was really good for that. It made me dream, it made me scream, it made me ashamed and cringe at what people will do for the latest “trend”.
  • The writing style perfectly gives life to this story. Fair warning, the metaphors and sometimes long descriptions aren’t for everyone, but I personally really felt engrossed in this story.
  • The characters were quite unique, flawed and definitely complex. I appreciated how Camellia, our main character, was fierce, ambitious and determined, even if that mindset made me want to scream at her and her behavior more than once. I liked to see her rise, change, grow as the story went on.
  • Diversity was included in this story in a beautiful way, especially knowing that our main character is a POC, so is our author.
  • I also appreciated the relationships between the characters… strangely, it wasn’t the romantic parts that made me happiest. I appreciated how the relationship and friendship developed between Camellia and Bree the most.
  • REMY deserves a point just for him, because he was pretty amazing okay.



  • I was a bit surprised by the pacing of this story: if you’re expecting to be thrown right into the heart of action, you will be disappointed. The Belles has a slow beginning, it takes its time to set up the world, the characters, the stakes, which means that there isn’t much action before the 50%-mark. I loved the world-building, but I was eagerly waiting for the action to come, too. (I was happy when it did. It was much darker than I’d anticipated it. I loved it).
  • This book suffers from the “bury your gays” trope and…. Well that’s not really cool. I’m not going to develop on that, because Elise wrote a wonderful post about this trope so I will refer to her.


Overall, The Belles was still a brilliant read for me. I fell in love with the world-building, the writing and the fierce main character. If I expected the action to rise a little earlier, it did not take away any of my enjoyment for this story and I am very, very impatient to see where this series will take us.

Final rating: 4 drops!

Trigger warnings: attempted sexual assault.

Did you read The Belles? What did you think of it? Do you want to read it?

What’s the latest book that impressed you with its world-building? Let me know in comments!

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

51 thoughts on “Bullet Point-Review: The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton

  1. I love this review! The Belles is on my TBR list, I actually went to one of the launch events for it at Books of Wonder! I sometimes have trouble motivating myself to start series that only have one or two books out so far, but The Belles sounds too good to hold off much longer.

    This year, I’ve loved the world-building in Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale and Neal Schusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much! Wow, it’s amazing that you went to an event for this book, it must have been so much fun 🙂 I hope you’ll read this book soon and that you’ll end up enjoying it as much as I did 🙂

      I have heard great things about The Bear and the Nightingale, I really need to read it someday 🙂 x
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad you enjoyed this book so much, seen as I know how excited you were to read it and get it in the mail and everything. I am a little disappointed about the trope you mentioned in the part about the things you had a hard time with. Still glad you consider it an overall brilliant read though, even if that point is very debatable :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I was really sad to hear, then read about this trope in the book – without that,I could have rated this higher. I’m still eager to read the next book and hope that it will be amazing 🙂 x
      Thank you so much, Kat! 🙂 x


  3. My copy just arrived yesterday! I am excited to read it, but disappointed about the whole bury your gays thing. I read about that last week and I was really surprised – in all the talk about this I’ve seen on Twitter that hadn’t come up (probs looking in the wrong places). I am also sliiightly intimidated by how long it is, but hopefully it’ll grab me enough to get me through the slower parts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait for you to read it and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy it. the beginning was a bit slow for sure, yes, but… it was really good 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yayyy I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Marie! I’ve read a handful of positive reviews, and a lot of negative ones as well (mostly because of the Bury Your Gays trope), so this seems to be one of those either-you-love-it-or-you-hate-it type of books. Hopefully I’ll love the world and the characters despite the slow start and the long descriptions? We’ll see. Awesome review! ❤

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MARIEEE ❤ Oh god how I missed your posts !! Ilove this bullet point format of yours 😀 I've heard so many great things about this book, a lot of people recommended it to me too and reading your review just conviced me even more gahaha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. this book has gotten SO MUCH hype that I’m a little afraid of reading it. But I have it on hold at the library so we’ll see I guess! it sounds like it is really cool though. Beauty is such an interesting topic to write about. I really liked the Uglies books when I was like 12, and lots of other books touch on it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH I’m so happy to hear you will read it – I hope that you will enjoy it 🙂 I’m just like you, I love stories dealing with beauty in one way or another and I loved the Uglies series SO much 😀
      Can’t wait to hear what you think of that one! Thank you ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am glad you liked it Marie. I want to read it too but yeah this book is costly right now. Having a great world-building is always good especially if it is going to be a series.
    I hate when there is a slow pacing because it takes me forever to garner interest. But I am glad you ended up liking it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I hope that you will be able to read it soon, it was a great book and the world-building really was amazing 🙂 It does take a bit of time for the action to pick up, but in the end… it really was worth it. Hopefully you will feel the same way 🙂
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thank you so much Aila, so glad you liked it. I always struggle with taking pictures haha I’m glad I was successful for once 😅 ❤
      I can't wait for you to read this book, I hope you will enjoy it 🙂 x


  8. I absolutely love your review format! And, I’ll have to look more into this book because, from what you wrote it seems really interesting! I love books with unique complex characters. Thank you for the reco! 🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m really glad you enjoyed this book Marie, especially considering it was one you were really excited for as well (I will say seeing you post about The Belles and how much you were looking forwards to it in the run-up to it’s release is actually what made me want to pick it up myself). The world building sounds incredible, which is a positive for me because I love well-written world building in any kind of book I pick up, and oh I’m really glad to hear about how well the main character was written too.
    Shame about the slow pacing, I guess maybe if I go into The Belles pre-warned it may not bother me as much, and the ‘Bury your Gays’ trope sucks. :/
    Still great review, and again I’m really glad you enjoyed this one as well. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh this makes me so happy, Beth – I hope you will get around to reading it soon. The world-building really was amazing, I loved it so much 🙂 It was a bit slow-paced, yes, but if you ask me it was worth it 🙂
      Thank you so, so much Beth 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I get it – I was quite disappointed about that, too :/ The book had a fantastic world-building though, if you’re ever curious about it, you should give it a try 🙂 x
      Thank you so much!! 🙂


  10. AHHHHH, I know how excited you were to read this books, so I’m very happy that you got to read it and enjoyed it!! ❤ I can't wait to read it myself because it sounds exciting (especially the world building), I was sad to hear about the bury-your-gays trope because ugh, it's just not okay. But I will still give the book a try because I want to fangirl with you about it.
    Lovely review, as always! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The world-building really is stunning, my favorite part of the book for sure – and I love anything with a take on beauty, really, that topic fascinates me.
      I hope you’ll still give this one a shot someday, I’d love to talk about it with you 😀
      Thank you!! 🙂 x


  11. Lovely review Marie. I’ve been hearing good things about this book. Most of the reviews I’ve read all mentioned the slower start & fantastic world building. I’m contemplating trying the giving the audiobook a go since it is available through my library’s digital database.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so glad to hear your expectations were met Marie! I think I’ll unfortunately have to skip this one – I’m really intrigued by the premise, I love that there’s diversity and I want to support a POC author, but I just can’t read a book with the bury your gays trope :/ Great review though! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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