Marissa's Reviews > The Belles

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
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it was ok
bookshelves: diversity, dystopian, fantasy, reviewed-on-blog, ya

The idea of a "race", or maybe sub-race is more accurate, of people who are able to magically alter other people's physical attributes intrigued me, so when a buddy reading group picked this for the monthly read I was intrigued.

Then I saw the cover, and heard more about the setting - and I was even more pulled in... the idea of a fantasy world that was called Orleans sounded amazing, and this cover is stunning - real beauty - unique.

And then I started reading...

And I kept reading because of the group read... you know... and because the underlying premise was still intriguing... I figured it was all character building... we would start with the bare facts and build upon it.

Then the beauty treatments filled page after page, along with the rejuvenating process for the Belles... it became repetitive, without the depth I was hoping for.

Don't get me wrong, the idea of this book is amazing. I loved the letter Dhonielle Clayton included at the end of the story about how her life experience shaped the concept... it is a fabulous nod to how impressionable children are over comments, and how sensitive we, as people, should be about vocally (at the very least) judging another person's physical appearance.

But the moral of this story wasn't ever established very clearly... my intellect wants to say it was supposed to be heading us toward the body you were born with is precious and beautiful and you should healthily care for it... but I'm not sure that was actually it... or if it was I never truly saw it... Maybe it's because this is supposed to be a series... but in the end, I was disappointed with the point of the plot.

As far as characters go, too many felt like stereotypes... I'm okay with starting with the stereotypical cast, even the diverse one, because I assume the story will add to their personality and by the end, they will be rich and complex... but I didn't feel that way for most of the characters as they twists and turns were traveled.

Remy saved the cast for me. His character had a couple good development moments so you could see him as a person and as a guard. You could start to see how he would behave if he were on screen or if this story were to actually be real... you know?

Maybe the rest of the series will take more solid steps into the complexity of the characters and enrich them more in order to drive the morality based plot which is this story hinted at but never actualized.

Fair warning to those thinking of picking this up... there are some intense scenes for those who would rather avoid sexual assault.
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Reading Progress

March 1, 2018 – Started Reading
March 1, 2018 – Shelved
March 1, 2018 –
page 55
12.5%
March 2, 2018 –
page 95
21.59%
March 5, 2018 –
page 234
53.18%
March 9, 2018 –
page 285
64.77%
March 10, 2018 – Shelved as: diversity
March 10, 2018 – Shelved as: dystopian
March 10, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
March 10, 2018 – Shelved as: reviewed-on-blog
March 10, 2018 – Shelved as: ya
March 10, 2018 – Finished Reading

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