Reading The Belles was like walking through a brightly colored magical land. If I had to describe it, I would imagine something similar to the fashions from Pan Em, The Hunger Games. There are extensive descriptions of the clothes, the colors, and the whole arcana magical process. Characters in the book are as vivid as the clothing.
The obvious favorite, Camellia, is compassionate, intelligent, and brave. However, she’s far from a perfect fragile flower, instead being incredibly witty and not without flaws. Her flaws are universal and representative of growing up. She struggles with setting limits and the desire to please in the face of corruption. But this makes her feel more human and the journey she goes on throughout the book more meaningful.
However, the side characters may be my favorites. Her personal guard Remy and her attendant, Bree to name a few. Even though they are smaller roles, Clayton does not allow them to be less colorful or important. They are compassionate, complex, and clever. And I am eager to see where they go in the sequel.
What I loved most was the idea behind the novel: the concept of beauty. For the citizens of Orléans beauty is coveted and expensive. It is reserved only for those who can pay and seen as the epitome of status. In this society, what is beauty? When we can change our appearance quickly what remains?