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Belle Révolte

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From the author of the Mask of Shadows duology comes a standalone fantasy where two young women must trade lives, work together to stay alive, and end a war caused by magic and greed.

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician's assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it's too late.

384 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 4, 2020

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About the author

Linsey Miller

9 books810 followers
Once upon a time, Linsey Miller studied biology in Arkansas. These days, she holds an MFA in fiction and can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee. She is the author of the Mask of Shadows duology, Belle Révolte, The Game, What We Devour, and the upcoming Disney Princes books for Eric and Phillip. Visit her at linseymiller.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 430 reviews
Profile Image for Linsey Miller.
Author 9 books810 followers
November 17, 2019
Hey friends,

This isn't a review. I just wanted to drop some thoughts and the content warnings here to make them more visible. If you have any questions about anything or would like to know specifics, feel free to ask.

Thank you for reading and have a great end of 2019!



This book isn’t as dark as Mask of Shadows but there is an undercurrent of alienation that follows Emilie and Annette throughout it. The society in which they live operates within a binary gender system and the current government is pushing heteronormativity to maintain social power and hierarchies. It also deals in the concept of a socially gendered magic system.

Annette, who is a white cis girl on the ace spectrum and biromantic, thinks about this alienation and how society implies that she is broken at times and briefly discusses these thoughts with a lesbian character. Her thoughts and experiences are not universal and are not meant to be universal, but I hope she resonates with those who need her. Also, Annette knows she’s ace and is awesome. Every now and then you just get those thoughts, you know?

There are several trans and non-binary characters, some of whom have they/them pronouns. There is no misgendering or deadnaming within the text.

Additionally, no one disguises themself as another gender (i.e.: Emilie does not disguise herself as a boy to study medicine, which I fear might be expected since it’s a common trope in similar stories). That trope is mentioned in the text and shot down.

The book does feature sibling deaths (on and off the page), executions (beheading), references to child neglect and abuse, and discussions of drowning.

The book also contains violence; murder; gore; and medical neglect, abuse, and violence.

It is a work of high fantasy, NOT historical fiction.

I'll update this if there's anything I realize that I missed or if anything needs updating.
Profile Image for Iris.
555 reviews253 followers
February 4, 2020
This is out today, go read it y'all!!

I received this book from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.

This book meant the absolute world to me. Every time I think it I'm just filled with this intense love and emotion. I could flail about this book forever, I swear. It makes me so happy (except for when it's RIPPING MY HEART OUT).

Objectively speaking, this book is far from perfect
. I think if this book hadn't hit me on so deeply personal a level, it would have been a solid four stars. Not at all a bad rating, still very much a book I would highly recommend (HI THIS IS ME TELLING YOU TO GO READ THIS BOOK ASAP), but I do recognize it has some flaws from a purely technical perspective (that said I don't care, READ IT, it's gooooood).


- look there were some inconsistencies. not huge things, but a fair amount of little things. it might be that this is just how arcs are, I don't know (I've only ever read like three), but there were... more than felt entirely justified by it being an arc. It was sort of annoying.

- also if I'm being honest.... I was sort of confused by the plot half the time. I like... almost knew what was going on, but sometimes I wasn't entirely sure. I had a good enough sense that it didn't actually detract from the plot, and it is entirely possible that I was just tired and not functioning too well, but I do feel the plots just a little... weak in places. If you're a character driven reader like me, it's probably not bad enough for you to care, but if you're plot driven this probably isn't the book for you.


- the magic ahhhhhh. I was a bit iffy on it at first, because it appears to be gendered magic which is literally never cool, but then as the book goes on you discover that in fact that is 100% bullshit and society just made it up, and if that isn't god tier commentary I don't know what is.
Also I loooooved the way the magic had such heavy consequences. It really helped raise the stakes, and also was just such a unique magic system.

- as I touched on in my last point, there is a lot of political commentary in this book, especially on classism and gender roles, and I thought it was done extremely well. It might make you uncomfortable, but that's why it's so necessary.

- also the representation. The representation. One of our leads is sapphic and ace (!!), and the other lead has a trans love interest. There are also various side characters who are queer, including a few for whom they/them pronouns are very casually used. I can't speak for all the rep, but I thought Annette and Yvonne were fantastic rep, and they meant so much to me.

- the romances. Annette and Yvonne were the literal cutest and their romance made me feel so many warm fuzzies they were so cute!!! And Emilie and Charles... god tier honestly. The rivals to 'I don't like you but please don't die' to begrudging friends to lovers dynamic.... I had no choice but to love it.

- the friendships! I especially loved Annette's group of friends, who were just like... the literal best. I adored their dynamic. but also Emilie and Madeline and Madeline's brother were wonderful!

- .... basically just all the character relationships. the mentor/mentee relationships, the friendships, the romances, the messy familial relationships, everything was so messy and flawed and complex and I LOVED it

- also not to devote four whole points to character related shit but like... the characters on their own were fantastic too, just saying. Annette was just the softest bean, and Emilie was an arrogant snob but she grew so much over the course of the book. This is what I mean when I say I love character development.


look this book was great on it's own, I would have loved this book no matter what, because those characters own my whole heart.

but what really pushed this book over from great to I will fucking cry and/or squeal every time I think of it was just how much I needed this book. I grew up on books like this - high fantasy with magic, and politics, and characters studying medicine, and nobility, and strong friendships, and mentor/mentee relationships. This book reminded me so much of the books that shaped me - but those books were so straight, and so seeing myself so perfectly represented in a book like this? that meant the whole entire world to me. I'm literally tearing up just writing this. this book was everything I've always loved in a story, but gayer than I've ever seen a book like this be. This was Song of the Lioness but less problematic and queerer. this was so fucking nostalgic to me even though I'd never read it before.

but it was queer

and that honestly meant so much more to me than I ever could have guessed
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,070 followers
February 5, 2020
I think it’s a sign when you can’t even make it past the first 6 pages of a book without getting annoyed and wanting to strangle a character
Profile Image for Katie.
Author 11 books3,399 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
February 25, 2020
Dnf - for the time being! Made it to about 40% I think I might enjoy this more at a different time. I’m really not in the mood for it right now and feel like trying to force myself to finish it is putting me in a reading slump.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,727 reviews867 followers
June 19, 2023
i barely made it through the first 60% but adored the last 40% so... not sure how i feel about this one yet

Trigger warnings for .

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Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,204 reviews3,684 followers
January 27, 2020
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

If you are looking for a fun standalone fantasy novel with well-developed characters and queer representation, check out Belle Revolte! The world and magic system are surprisingly complex and well-developed for a standalone novel and the plot accomplishes quite a lot in a short number of pages. This is sort of a Prince and the Pauper retelling with girls who switch lives to pursue their dreams, and thematic content that explores inequality and oppression in terms of wealth, power, and gender.

Loosely based on revolutionary France, this book is set in a world of magic that is segregated into the daytime arts (including magical medicine and weaponry) and the nighttime arts (including illusions and scrying), and these segregations have traditionally been gendered as well. Women are expected to follow the less dangerous nighttime magic and men the daytime. But Emilie des Marais dreams of becoming a physician, despite the wishes of her wealthy and powerful mother. So instead of attending a prestigious finishing school, she convinces commoner Annette Boucher to take her place so she can pursue her dreams of medical training. The girls swap lives, explore their individual power, and eventually become entangled in a necessary but dangerous political revolution.

I really enjoyed this book and was impressed and how much the author accomplishes in a single book. The characters are interesting, the world and magic system are thoughtfully laid out, and there is a major focus on structural inequalities as they affect different groups of people. There is action, magic, political intrigue, friendship, and a bit of romance as well. I liked that the romance didn't take over as the main focal point of the plot with a larger emphasis on friendship. (And even the romances that do develop involve mutual respect and friendship)

In terms of queer representation, Annette is asexual, biromantic and we get some discussion of what that means. In this story, she develops a low-key romantic relationship with another girl and they have a lovely friendship as well. Emilie seems to be a bit fluid about her gender expression and falls for a trans boy. Their relationship is also just really lovely, with some good-hearted rivalry and banter.

There is quite a bit of violence in this book and it goes to some rather dark places in terms of exploitation and abuse of power, sometimes is horrifying and gruesome ways, but the ending is a positive one. My main complaint with this book is that while it is quite ambitious in the scope of the story it seeks to tell, it sometimes suffers from issues of pacing or glossing over things that could have been more developed. Parts of this dragged a bit and the pacing felt inconsistent because it didn't seems to follow a traditional three-act structure and we keep switching perspectives between Annette and Emilie. That said, I still really liked it and think it's worth picking up. And while it does read as a standalone, there is certainly space to tell more stories in this world! I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

CW include death, war violence, depictions of blood and gore, torture, magical murder, loss of a loved one.
Profile Image for Aoife.
1,334 reviews584 followers
August 12, 2020
2.5 stars.

In the land of Demeine, people have the ability to perform magic - some use their magic to create beautiful illusions, to divine the future and scry on others. Other magic can be used in battle - for strength and for healing. But all magic takes a toll, and eventually a body is worn down. So nobles use hacks - a peasant who can also use magic, and who agrees to work and lend their strength and magic for as long as their body holds out.

Emilie des Marais is on her way to an elite school to learn the art of illusion and divination but she desperately wants to be a physician - even if it means being a hack. When she meets Annette, the two swap places and begin their new lives. But revolution is brewing in Demeine, and war is on the horizon with their neighbours. Will the girls be able to keep their secret, and use their magic to save their country - while also bringing down a corrupt king?

I hoped to love this, and there were some parts I did. I think the magic is really interesting in this book, and how it's used and channeled. I love the girl power going on in this book, and I really appreciate how Linsey Miller always makes sure to have a vast array of diversity in her characters (characters' appearances are explicitly stated so we know if they are POC, one main character appears to be asexual, another describes her relationship with herself and her identity as possibly non-binary, a side character/love interest is a trans man). While I don't believe some of this is from an own voices perspective (though I'm not 100% sure), I think it's still important to appreciate this from any author.

I don't know why all the names and titles in this were French, and when I learned the king was called King Henry XII, I was really confused for a bit wondering if this wasn't fantasy but some kind of historical fantasy and we actually were in France. There's a lot of names and titles thrown around in the book too and sometimes I was confused about who everyone was.

There's a lot of convenience in this book too and everything just happens so easily. It's only in the first chapter that Emilie and Annette meet and swap lives - it's literally like "You wanna be me?", "Okay" and that's that. There was no build up except Emilie talking about how much she hated her mother (who actually wasn't a bad person at all?).

The magic in this while intriguing was messy. I don't think we ever got a good idea of how they actually learned and refined their magic - the only classes we seemed to actually see in the book were mathematics and history? Everyone just seemed to know how to do it and what exactly to do.

The war that ended up happening, I don't know why it happened. All of a sudden everyone was at war? I was confused.

The Laurels thing seemed a bit stupid. I liked the idea of it, and I liked the actual name itself but Emilie and Annette both basically walking up a Laurel and becoming part of the group without any questioning was really sketchy.

I think as well none of these characters actually seemed real to me. And when I read a character, I like them to take shape in front of me. I want it to feel like they are sitting beside me, telling me their story. And I didn't feel this with this book. I found it hard to picture anyone and everyone's relationships didn't seem to really have anything in them. I don't think any characters had real chemistry - even friendships like Annette, Coline, and Isabella. I liked Charles and Emilie but there was no real banter between them and I feel like it was really forced.

The only real relationship I liked and felt something between was Laurence and Esthel and we literally only had about 3 seconds of page time with them. But THAT's the true love story I wanted and one we didn't get.

There was nothing really wrong with this book. Linsey Miller is able to write, and she does create worlds and magic that seem to have thought in them. Maybe it's just refining them that's the problem. I just didn't totally get on with this book, and I'm not 100% sure why. And that makes me sad.
Profile Image for Bella.
561 reviews15.1k followers
November 24, 2019
a big thank u to FIREreads for sending me a copy of this book!!

we don't normally get a lot of stand alone fantasy books so I was really excited to read this one, especially when i heard it was about two girls (a princess and a peasant) switching lives. Yeah we've seen the trope before but i personally find it very entertaining :)

i love love LOVED the transgender & asexual representation!! it was such a lovely surprise, one that should definitely be seen more often in fantasy books. i like the fact that it didn't completely overpower the character's identity, it was just a part of them, not their defining quality!

of course, this being a stand alone also came with a few cons:
• things were a bit rushed, especially towards the end
• characters weren't that fleshed out
• some resolutions were waaay too rushed, i won't get into it because spoilers but some situations just got resolved too easily

overall it was an entertaining fantasy stand alone and i had fun reading it! would definitely recommend to fans of The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson~
Profile Image for CW ✨.
669 reviews1,713 followers
April 30, 2020
Wow, what a unique story! I actually quite enjoyed this book, its story, its magic system, and its discourse on gender and rebellion.

- Follows Annette and Emilie, two characters from different social classes who swap lives so they can pursue their ambitions. For Emilie it is in the noonday arts (medicine and warfare) and for Annette, it is the midnight arts (divination and scrying). When the two discover a corrupted plot with war on the horizon, they work together to survive and rebel.
- I actually really enjoyed the worldbuilding! The magic was so fascinating (kind of a system of equivalent exchange!) and how it subverts heteronormativity and the idea that magic is gendered.
- The characters were lovely and I really liked the friendships and relationships in this, especially the rivals-to-friends-to-lovers.
- True to Miller's work, I liked how the story features a trans love interest and one of them was ace - and I loved the ace rep and how affirming it was.
- Though overall I enjoyed this and I think the discourse on gender is fantastic, there were parts where the momentum of the story was lost on me. There were many instances where I started to lose track of who the characters were and the perspectives started blurring together (which is no fault of the story itself; it might have been just me). Nonetheless, I still recommend this!

Trigger/content warning:
Profile Image for Jesse On Youtube .
72 reviews4,602 followers
February 11, 2020
I was gifted a copy of Belle Revolte from the publisher and was wildly excited to pick it up!
It's a YA Fantasy with heavy french influences (yes please) about two willful girls of differing backgrounds who switch places in order to follow their respective dreams. I loved that one of the girls was an aspiring surgeon as stories surrounding medicine/doctors/illness always fascinate me as do characters that can heal in some fashion.

Sadly, this book simply wasn't for me. The writing focused heavily on lengthy exposition to tell the reader about the story versus demonstrating through action/dialogue. The characters and dialogue weren't compelling to me and I found the alchemy and magic system weren't calling to me.

I think many will love this book, but it simply wasn't my cup of tea.
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews345 followers
January 16, 2020
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Laura Erne

Belle Révolte was an evocative and thought provoking tale of rebellion, magic, and love. The story follows two young women divided by class but are determined to change their futures. I don’t read many YA fantasies with complex magic systems and although this was sometimes slow, I found I appreciated Linsey Miller’s take on it. Drawing a connection from magic to healing was ingenious and I found her execution original. Many times we see characters with abilities that help them be stronger warriors and in here, that’s not the focus. I liked how Miller’s concept showcased the efforts people take to preserve life through healing rather than the fighting. But be warned, there are many scenes that are gory and quite vivid as well as a few deaths throughout. This is not a light and fluffy piece and it does seem to perhaps border between YA and adult fiction. This is the first book that I’ve read by Miller and I have fallen in love with her strong and effective writing so this will not be my last.

“My mother did not shackle me despite my last escape attempt. It didn’t matter—the corset, layers of satin and silk, and summer heat were chains enough. I was certain I would be the first young noble lady of Demeine to arrive at finishing school under the watchful eyes of two armed guards.”

I loved this opener! I could feel Emilie’s hatred for her noble life right from the beginning. It felt real and powerful. She is a girl that knows she can do better and doesn’t need to be stuck in her mother’s world. Relatable and very effective! From then on, I was engrossed in the plot. I wanted to know how Emilie was going to pursue the life she wanted and the stirring rebellion was the perfect, dark backdrop for her to figure it out. This set the mood and gave a very strong voice to this novel’s first main character.

“Illusions were, as far as I could tell, nothing but lies. My mother was a wonderful liar.”

I devoured Miller’s poetic and emotionally charged writing and I couldn’t wait to continue this story. The composition above reminded me of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, and the reason I loved that series so much was the beautiful poetic prose mixed with a dark, war torn world and we see that again in here. The contrast between the beauty of the words mixed with the darkness of the actual story creates this undeniable pull that keeps you hooked. I envy this writing style immensely and this combination is very effective.

“I ate dirt as a child.”

This was a striking, bold, and harsh statement that rivalled Emilie’s introduction which made it the perfect intro to Belle Révolte’s second main character, Annette. The drastic differences between these two only worked to increase the idea of class divide and having two characters representing each world equally made this a balanced story.

I loved many things in Belle Révolte but I didn’t like the constant flow of names from both perspectives because it was too hard to follow. Many characters had specific strengths in either the noonday arts or the midnight arts and it was slightly confusing to remember who could do what and who knew who. I think this happened because of the sheer amount of female characters on Annette’s side as well as the male characters on Emilie’s side that all seemed to have two and three titles each. It was an information overload. That being said, I also found a slight issue with the idea that’s very common with rebellion and that’s the idea of one name for all those associated. In here Miller used the name “Laurel” for the resistance but there were too many scenes where members were referred to by that same name, which made it difficult to know all the members of the group and what each of them were told and when. I couldn’t keep it all straight. I feel like this choice made Miller’s writing suffer because there’s only so much you can use to try and describe a scene when the same name is given to many, especially given a large operation.

Despite these minor setbacks, I really enjoyed Linsey Miller’s newest novel, Belle Révolte and I give it an 8 out of 10! I look forward to reading more from her and I will definitely check out her other series called Mask of Shadows.
Profile Image for kav (xreadingsolacex).
177 reviews344 followers
July 20, 2020
"I want to be the best. I want everyone who told me I couldn't be to know they were wrong. I want to save people and help people and be something to someone, so it doesn't all feel like nothing. I have to be the best."

Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller is a young-adult high fantasy novel about two teenage girls, Annette Boucher and Emilie des Marais who swap lives for a chance to achieve their dreams, though the crumbling structure of their kingdom may make that goal even harder.

Belle Revolte is a solid stand-alone fantasy novel with complex characters and brilliant political commentary.

This novel did get off to a slow start, and it took me a while to get into it. The system of the world and the plot were both a bit confusing at first, and it took me a bit to understand them.

But the second half of this novel was exquisite. It was fast-paced and action-packed and I absolutely loved reading it.

This novel has incredibly strong characters and character dynamics. Both the main romances were brilliant . There was a slow-burn f/f romance and a...somewhat hate-to-love/teasing m/f romance where the LI was a trans character, and I loved both romances so much. Not only that, but the friendships were so strong as well. I absolutely loved Annette's friendship with her roommates Coline and Isabelle, and Emilie's friendship with Madeline (we love women supporting women). Then, the mentor/apprentice relationships for both MCs was JUST SO GOOD AND THEY MADE ME REALLY EMOTIONAL IN THE BEST WAY!!!

But the real power of this novel lies in the political commentary. Belle Revolte is a novel that deals with sexism and gender dynamics in-depth, as well as classism. I knew beforehand that sexism would be explored in this novel, and I absolutely loved how Miller went about it. Not only are there are such strong relationships between women, but there is also rightful criticism and resistance against a sexist system in power. I would 100% describe this novel as feminist, so obviously we have to stan.

Then, classism was also so well deconstructed in this novel. Not only was one MC financially privileged while the other came from a poor background, but the crux of the conflict in this novel goes back to the classist elitism of those in power. Miller did a brilliant job at exploring and dismantling that, which I loved with my whole entire heart.

All in all, Belle Revolte is a solid feminist fantasy that I would recommend to anyone who loves character-driven stories. It is a bit weak in some spots, but the complex characters and political commentary make up for anything the novel is lacking.

"I don't know how to explain that I care about other people's well-being."

(she really said that to her teacher her impact)

representation: trans boy love interest, multiple sapphic characters and two f/f romances, ace main character

disclaimer: i received an arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. this in no way impacted my review.
Profile Image for Eva B..
1,323 reviews326 followers
June 1, 2020
Update: fuck it, I'm giving this 5 stars, I enjoyed it a ton and am still thinking of it.

This is a hard book to rate because while I didn't care for the earlier parts set with Annette at the school, I LOVED Emilie, Charles, Madeline, and especially Laurence. I also loved Coline, Yvonne, and Estrel, and grew to like Annette. Some things about the magic system confused me, but it was still very entertaining. I really loved both romances, and the diversity as well!
I think this is a rare case of a book that I'm shelving as a favorite despite getting a 4.5, because while I didn't like the slow school bits with Annette at the beginning, the ending made up for it tenfold.

Also Estrel and Laurence prequel please please please please I need more of them in my life-
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews192 followers
Shelved as 'dnf-lost-interest'
June 5, 2020
DNF 15%

This is a perfectly fine YA fantasy with somewhat infodump-y tendencies and I know it would be around three stars if I actually finished it, so I'm not going to (exam month in 2020 = no time), but I think I would have liked it a few years ago
Profile Image for Justine.
465 reviews296 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 16, 2020
DNF at 20%

Sadly, this one just wasn't working for me! The concept sounded super fun and I thought it could be a good one to snuggle up with and tear through in a weekend, but I just couldn't get into it.

The pacing was completely off -- within the first 5%, Emilie is running out of her carriage and proposing to swap places with a complete and total stranger who looks like her so she can study medicine. It all happens so fast it was just completely unbelievable -- I felt like I was missing a big chunk of backstory or something that would make me invested in this decision and why these girls were taking such a huge risk. Then, the pacing slows to a halt and I really struggled to stay invested in the story.

I'm a big stickler for worldbuilding and magic and both felt incredibly messy to me. It just didn't seem to make much sense!

I wanted to love this, but it just wasn't for me. This makes me sad because apparently it has really good trans rep in it!
Profile Image for Cindee.
856 reviews36 followers
March 3, 2020
I loved this book so much I loved the message and all of the great romance that is held within this book. I loved all of the characters so much especially Annette and Emelie and their love interests Yvvone and Charles and many of the other characters. I loved these characters for wanting to do what they want and not what their station in life tells them they can do. I loved how hard they fought for what they believed in and I am really glad that everything ended well. I loved the romances in the story they were all well written and you could root for them it made the fact the characters ended up together so very worth it. I loved the plot it started as two girls switching lives and became so much more a revolution to end a tyrant. So overall I loved this will read more by this author if she writes more.
Profile Image for USOM.
2,464 reviews203 followers
January 27, 2020
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Belle Révolte is a book about girls changing the world, following their dreams, and fighting a system of exploitation. It's a book full of hope, sacrifice, and power. Belle Révolte is a book about ambition. The ways society wants to limit what we can do because of our gender or economic status. It features Annette, a biromantic ace spectrum magical MC, a talented girl who yearns to be seen. It's a dual POV book which also features Emilie a girl rebelling against the conventions of what her class and family expect of her. She's driven and wants to use her magic to be a physician. In a world that doesn't expect much from either Emilie or Annette, their ambitions and heart will end up changing more than just their world.

I have a soft spot for girls who live in a society that doesn't expect anything of them. They are the ones who shine despite blankets of darkness and disbelief. The limitations of being a woman, what we are worth to the world, family, to our future. Escaping gilded cages of society and decorum. I loved Annette and Emilie. Annette for the ways she is driven by what is right, even when she's in a precarious position in a castles of her dreams. Emilie for her commitment to science combined with her compassion for people.

full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
Profile Image for amanda.
352 reviews29 followers
February 2, 2020

Belle Revolte.

Ahhh, doesn’t the title absolutely slide off your tongue and quiver against your lips? The cover is gorgeous as well. It looks like ice cream. These two combined were what made me want to snatch this book up and even though I’ve been burned before by that deadly combo, I was willing to take the risk for this.

It was worth it in the end.

I am not a big fantasy fan which is funny because I play quite a few fantasy games. I grew up with Japanese role playing games. Final fantasy and Legend of Zelda courses through my bloodstream but for some reason reading the genre confuses my mind and crosses my eyes. I’m trying to get past this and this book is one of the few I enjoyed of the genre so if you’re like me and stagnant to fantasy this is definitely for you.

The old switcharoo cliche takes place between a noble and a commoner. Emilie wants to become a physician but with her highbrow ranking it is frowned down upon. Her mother is strongly against it and sends her away to finishing school.
“Do NOT escape.”

She doesn’t escape, she enlists the aid of Annette, the commoner, to switch places with her so she can embark on her journey while Annette takes her stead.

Annette has magic of her own and grows it, becomes not only a lady but powerful in her own way.

The two are brilliant in ways they have never known.

This was a great read. I loved the representation of both POC and LGBT. The magic system was simple and a delight to read.

At times I was a bit confused as it is very fast paced and I do think this would have been better as a series than as a stand-alone book. This doesn’t take away from the magic however. Annette and Emilie are amazing characters and going through both of their journeys you experience the girls lessons in grief, heartbreak, and magic. It’s a lesson in life itself.

Thanks very much to Netgalley and the publisher for this copy of my ARC.
Profile Image for iam.
983 reviews131 followers
August 11, 2020
Belle Révolte puts an intriguing twist to its french-revolution-vibe fantasy setting, featuring queer teens switching identities, going to magical schools, fighting against oppression and changing the course of a war.

Read the full review on the blog!

Content warnings include: extremely graphic injuries and gore due to protagonist being a physician at the front during war, violence, execution and death, class difference featuring oppression, mistreatment and abuse of lower class; mentions and effects of off-page torture, off-page acephobia.

The strongest point of the book for me were the characters and the setting.
Emilie was headstrong, stubborn and arrogant (I mean, she's heir to one of the most important noble families,) and totally unapologetic about it. She knows what she wants and she knows her strengths, and overall she was a delight to read about. When she exchanges her cushy lifestyle for that of a common girl, not once does she complain, she keeps following her goals without backing down.
Annette was a different story. She's from a big family living in a small farming village, with parents who couldn't care less that she effectively ran away. I liked her story of a poor/common girl getting thrown into an upper class school to follow her dreams.
Both girls quickly gain friends and have their own groups of characters around them, some with bigger and some with smaller roles, all of who were interesting. There are certain parallels in their stories, though their personal story arcs are rather different.

Now, the setting. Belle Révolte takes place in a fantasy country that in my unqualified opinion resembles France during/shortly before the big revolution. I mean, even the names and titles and ancient langauge are French (or at least seem French to me, who knows absolutely nothing about the actual language.) I found that to be a bit of a weird choice - why give a fantasy book such a close resemblance, to the point where I wasn't sure if it really was supposed to be fantasy at all?
That was not what I mean when I mentioned the strong setting however. I meant more immediately where Emilie and Anette stories took place. The magic schools are one thing, but what I found really exciting and different was when the war began and Emilie, along with her classmates and teachers, went to the front to heal the soldiers there. Battle healer isn't a perspective I encountered in books before, and it was exhilarating and amazingly executed.
However, it was also brutal. I mean, war, duh. But the way the healing magic was described, the way Emilie could look inside and affect another person's body... it was uncanny, unsettling, and very, very graphic. Not just in the injuries she examines and heals, but in the way magic affects the user too.

Which brings me to the worldbuilding, with which I had a few issues.
Most importantly, the magic. To summarize, I felt like there was a big gap between what was told and what was shown. Which made sense in a way, since it's established over the course of the book that magic is nowhere near as strictly binary as the commonly taught theories suggest. Which is very cool in concept, but combined with how confused I was about the entirety of the magic system in general and how it tied in with the world and the characters personally, it didn't quite work for me.
Ultimately, while I found the magic fascinating, I was also rather puzzled by it at times and couldn't entirely keep up with the logic behind it. It was fine to read, however, once I decided to just accept what was told without thinking too hard about it.

In contrast, what I absolutely loved was the queer representation. One protagonist is explicitly asexual, and I loved her little arc about it.
There are two romantic subplots, one featuring a f/f couple, and another a m/f couple with a trans love interest.

Overall the plot and particular the personal motivations and relationships could have been a little tighter, though. I still enjoyed them, but wanted more details and follow-ups on pretty much everyone, and Annette and Emilie's motherÄs and Sebastien and Charles's relationships in particular.

I could say so much more, but this review is already long enough so I'll end it with a final note: I didn't quite expect the book to be as graphic as it was, despite having read the author's other works before. Belle Révolte is quite clearly YA with the protagonists in their teens (16 to 17 I assumed, though I cannot remember if their ages are stated on-page.) There are very explicit and graphic descriptions of injuries and deaths, bodies being taken apart, deteriorating and slowly dying in high detail. This was both as part of the plot around the mistreatment of the lower class and hacks and also just normal day-to-day work for Emilie as a physician's hack. My stomach turned quite a few times. So... be warned.

I received an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Profile Image for Kalyn Josephson.
Author 7 books730 followers
April 15, 2020
BELLE REVOLTE is a gorgeous story.

I'm a huge fan of science-based magic system, and there's such a fun, unique one here. The Noonday and Midnight arts were so cool to explore, and I loved the academy setup that allowed us to really dig into them with the characters as they learned them.

Speaking of characters, I love all of them. Annette and Emilie are wonderful leads whose difficult journeys really resonated with me in a lot of ways. I absolutely ADORE Charles and Laurence, and the romances and friendships explored here were both heart-wrenching and heartwarming.

BR is a fantastic story of politics, rebellion, magic, found family, and so much more.
Profile Image for Juan.
187 reviews16 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 2, 2020
dnf @ page 177

I hit a point where I realized that despite being halfway through the book I did not care about anything that was happening and still could not tell the two main characters apart from one another.

Also, up till this point there has been no real mention of anything sapphic, and definitely no mention of the ace rep that I heard was also part of this book. That's not to say the rep isn't in there at all, as I'm sure it is, I just want to point out that if that's one of the main reasons you pick up this book, you're going to have to wait a while for it to show up.
Profile Image for thi.
702 reviews86 followers
February 15, 2020
- I love standalone fantasy I really do but damn do some aspects feel rushed
- two protags in stories that don’t quite intersect often can be hard to follow (aka I found it hard to follow)
- overall I did like the story but I didn’t *love* the execution nor the writing style
Profile Image for Sheena ☆ Book Sheenanigans .
1,440 reviews360 followers
February 10, 2020

This gave off "Reverie" vibes and I wasn't feeling it. There were just too many similarities and I just had a hard time engrossing myself in the read. Maybe it's my reading slump or just the novel itself, I just couldn't connect with lead characters Emilie and Annette nor the storyline despite loving the LGBT concept. It's not you, it's me I swear!

Profile Image for Francesca ❆.
456 reviews84 followers
February 12, 2020
Thank you so much Sourcebooks Fire for providing me a free copy through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.

2.5 stars
A fast paced fantasy about girls changing the world, not afraid to follow their dreams, and fighting against a system of exploitation.

The story is divided in a dual POV system with a constant switch between the characters: on one side we have the privileged, rebellious Emilie, who wants to break the rules of society and become a physician; on the other we have the overworked, disadvantaged Annette, who dreams of getting the chance to study magic and change her life conditions.
Each character is surrounded by a bunch of secondary characters that act as support cast and source of friendship, love and conflict; sadly both main and secondary characters felt not enough developed at times and it broke the immersion quite a lot.
I do want to say that I liked the myriad of different relationships of love, friendship, contempt, hate etc...portrayed in the story and the character growth of (mostly) Emilie and Annette.

The world building is a mock-up of revolutionary France with a simple yet intriguing magical system: magic usage is gender based on gender (males have a more physical role in society while females take care of the spiritual part of it) and cross over is strictly forbidden and magic consumes the body at different pace depending on which kind of magic the performer uses.....that said, I still felt like some things were glossed over/not well explained which created some rather annoying inconsistencies.
The plot was had some problems: it swung from dull moments to high speed pacing which resulted in some confusion and lots of going back and rereading bits here and there.

The writing was well done, with interesting dialogues and approachable language.
The pacing didn’t feel very smooth especially towards the end where it takes off like a missile and losing the thread meant getting lost in a glass of water and getting immensely confused.

If you are looking for a fast paced stand alone fantasy with lots of representation and teens switching lives, attending magical schools, and changing the world....this book is right up your alley.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,527 reviews209 followers
August 22, 2021
Belle Revolte is a dark fantasy about a French inspired world that's at war. Emilie des Marais wants to become a doctor, but as a noble lady she's encouraged to practice the midnight arts of divination and scrying. Annette Boucher is desperate for a way to learn magic, so when Emilie offers her the chance of the lifetime, the two girls switch places. Emilie is headed off to practice medicine and Annette attends finishing school in Emilie's place.

I really enjoyed this story. Miller has a way with making a story come alive. While this is definitely a darker YA story, it still isn't quite as dark as What We Devour. This book is also told in dual POV, so we get to see each girl on her own adventure.

The magic system was kind of confusing, but I was swept up in how incredible it was to care too much for the details. I also just loved seeing Annette and Emilie carve places for themselves in a world that's not very friendly to women, especially poor ones.

This book had me fascinated the whole time. There were several twists I didn't see coming. Especially with time being kind of non-linear due to the way you can scry. All in all, definitely would recommend this one.

Rep: Biromantic asexual female MC (Annette), sapphic BIPOC love interest, lesbian side character, trans male side character, side BIPOC characters.

CWs: Blood, body horror, death, war, violence, sexism, murder, medical content, gore, grief, transphobia, misogyny, cursing, torture, past child death.
Profile Image for Meaghan.
570 reviews74 followers
February 28, 2020
I'm not really sure how to explain how I feel about this book. Like I both enjoyed the world, magic, and plot, yet never actually felt attached to it.

Admittedly, I had to switch to the audiobook early on because the writing felt too disjointed/weird to me at first (I had to reread some sentences multiple times because they just read oddly), and listening made all those issues go away. However, it was so much harder to keep track of what was going on/all the characters, so that also affected my reading. In the end, I'm not sure whether it would've been better had I just pushed through reading my physical copy or not.

I do have to commend this novel's diversity though. It's so casual and everywhere and I love it. This is what fantasy deserves! Not just token characters here and there, but everywhere! (I mean there was f/f rep, trans characters, ace characters, and more rep I'm missing/wasn't as clear cut). That alone made this fantasy stand out.

Unfortunately, I wasn't all that into the plot. It just hit too close to Enchantée for me, even though they're not really that close story wise. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for a French Revolution style fantasy again, and I didn't go in realizing just how close to that it would feel. I loved the magic system and the setting, just wish the plot itself was slightly different.

I really liked the characters though, even if I didn't feel a strong connection to any of them. I feel like this is where the book really shines, and would have been my favorite part had I not been so confused by the amount of them sometimes.

Overall, I'm not writing off other books by this author just yet, but I'll be going in a bit more wary,
Profile Image for Greyson | Use Your Words.
538 reviews34 followers
July 5, 2020
I truly do not know how to review this book.

I read it 3 months ago and I don't think I can form words that appropriately explain this book.

Let's get the not so good parts out of the way first.

It was kinda confusing. I love a good dual POV narrative! And we get two, both from girls fighting in a resistance??? I'll eat that shit up any day of the week.

The problem that I had was that the timeline between the POVs didn't always seem to sync up and I did get confused often because of this. Normally I would put this down to me just missing things because that happens often but I spoke to another person who read it and they had a similar experience so I know it's not just me!

It was also kinda slow for the first 15% but that could have been bad timing on my part! I picked it up at a shitty time. Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's the books fault or mine and I'm not 100% certain either way with this one.

The magical element of the story was exactly that, magical. It was vast and vibrant and exciting...but yeah I did sometimes get confused with the descriptions. Honestly a lot of the time I kinda only had a 70% understanding of what was going on and I don't think it was because of how intricate the plot was, though I do think it was intricate. I don't know, it was just all a bit confusing and then you add in the long ass names everyone has, and they each have like 3 different names people use to refer to them and half the time I don't know who the author is talking about.

Do you see what I mean when I say I don't know how to put what I think about this book into words. So you're probably wondering, Grey, if you had that many problems with this book then why did you rate it so highly???

Because i couldn't let myself rate it any lower. Honestly this is one of those books that earned its high ass rating because of how it made me feel. And it made me feel a lot.

For starters it's diverse as heck. One of our main characters is ace and sapphic!!!! Her love interest is a POC and sapphic!!!! and they're so stinking cute I can't deal with it. And if you're thinking oh boo what about sexual tension then one fuck you because not everyone needs that but also they still have great tension!!! It's romantic tension and I don't know why we don't talk about that shit more?!?!? The angst is PRESENT.

We also get a trans love interest and I would protect him with my life. He is both sharp and soft and I just want to wrap him up in blankets and tell him everything will be okay, but also get into so many debates and word fights! And our other main character??? Girl after my own heart. I saw so much of myself in her that it was super painful to read but in the best way??? also if you really need sexual tension then these two are for you. Bucket loads. Sexual tension spilling all over the place, it's very unsanitary.

Both of these main characters and their relationships were so dynamic and meaningful and I just want them to be happy forever.

Also the dynamic between their mentors is so brilliant I would like a whole book just about them and all these little rumours everyone keeps spreading about their past interactions thanks. I just want my own misunderstood genius best friend and we just continually challenge each other and get on each others nerves forever until we die because actually we really love each other and would die for each other.

Also also there are so many characters who use they/them pronouns and like it's not a big deal, like it's not a deal at all, it's so seamless that you don't even notice it the first few times. And by the time you do you're like ah yes, it should always be like this.

Oh OH!!! And the communication between the characters????? 100/10. Like there's the obvious secrets and miscommunications to be sure there's actually plot happening but that's gonna happen in the most healthiest relationships in a society that's broken and needs to be fixed. But these characters just care about each other so much and take the time to really make that known and oh no my throat is closing up I am allergic to feelings.

Plus the story deals with how patriarchy affects everyone and also classism. I was ready and prepared for someone to yell out 'let's just eat the fucking rich' at some point and I was here for it. It's just so current and relevant while feeling like you're thrown back in time to like Paris 17-something but there's magic. (Actually I don't know when or where the inspiration came from for this books but I'm pretty sure it was France at some point in the past. Could very well be wrong though.)

This book is just so important and I already know of at least one person this book means to world for and also like it kinda means the world to me to?? I just can picture so many teens reading this and being like hey this character is like me and looks like me, they share the same heart as me and OH NO my throat is closing up again.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
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