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The Belles
2018
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In a world where beauty is a commodity only a few control, beautiful Camellia learns the dark secrets behind her powers and is asked to choose between saving herself or changing her world forever. - (Baker & Taylor)

Born one of the revered Belles in the opulent world of Orleans, where people are naturally born gray and seek the talented Belles to transform themselves with beauty, Camellia dreams of being declared the queen's favorite before her arrival at court exposes dark and dangerous realities within the palace walls. 100,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"In a world where Beauty is a commodity only a few control, one Belle will learn the dark secrets behind her powers, and rise up to change the world"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, 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 Orleans 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 Orleans 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.

- (Grand Central Pub)

Author Biography

Dhonielle Clayton is the coauthor of the Tiny Pretty Things series. She grew up in the Washington, DC, suburbs on the Maryland side and spent most of her time under her grandmother's table with a stack of books. A former teacher and middle school librarian, Dhonielle is cofounder of CAKE Literary, a creative development company whipping up decidedly diverse books for a wide array of readers, and COO of the non-profit, We Need Diverse Books. She's got a serious travel bug and loves spending time outside of the USA but makes her home in New York City, where she can most likely be found hunting for the best slice of pizza. You can also find her online at www.dhonielleclayton.com or follow her @brownbookworm.
- (Grand Central Pub)

First Chapter or Excerpt

The Belles


By Dhonielle Clayton

Freeform Books

Copyright © 2018 Dhonielle Clayton
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4847-2849-9


CHAPTER 1

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

But not for us. Today is our debut. There are only six of us this year.

My fingertips leave fog teardrops on the paper-thin glass walls. The carriage is beautiful and clear and fashioned into a ball. I am a delicate doll poised inside a snow globe. An adoring audience surrounds my carriage, eager to see what I look like, and what I can do.

A net made of my signature pink flowers stretches along the glass curves in order to tell everyone my name — Camellia — and to hide me until I'm revealed to the royal court.

I am the last in line.

My heart races with excited nervousness as we snake through the crowds in the Royal Square for the Beauté Carnaval. The festival happens once every three years. I peer through the tiny spaces between the petals with a pair of eyescopes, and try to soak in my first glances of the world, wanting to fold up each bit and tuck it into the cerise layers of my dress.

It's a wonderland of palace buildings with golden turrets and glittering arches, fountains full of crimson and ivory fish, topiary mazes of clipped trees, shrubs, and bushes in every possible geometric shape. Imperial canals circle the square, holding jeweled boats bright as gemstones and shaped like smiling moons on midnight-blue water. They spill over with passengers eager to watch us. The royal sablier, the columnar hourglass that measures the length of day and night, churns with sand the color of white diamonds.

The sky and its clouds are made of melting cherries and flaming oranges and burnt grapefruit as the sun sinks into the sea. The dying sunlight flashes my own reflection on the glass. My powdered skin makes me look like an overly frosted piece of caramel cake.

I've never seen anything like it before. This is the first time I've visited the imperial island, the first time I've ever left home.

The Orléans archipelago is a string of islands stretching like a rose with a crooked stem out into the warm sea. Most of them are connected by golden bridges or can be reached by lavish river coaches. We came from the very top — the bloom — and we've made a long journey to the heart of the stem to display our talents.

A breeze pushes its way through tiny breathing holes in the glass carriage, carrying with it the scent of the sky. Salty rain, spiced clouds, and a hint of sweetness from the stars. It all feels like a dream that's held on and lingered past the dawn. I never want it to end. I never want to return home. One minute here is richer than a thousand moments there.

The end of the warm months brings change, Maman always said. And my life is bound to transform tonight.

The horses tug us forward, their hooves clip-clopping against the cobblestoned square. Vendors are selling sweets in our honor: small mountains of shaved ice topped with strawberries the color of our lips; intricate little teacakes shaped like our signature flowers; sweet puffs molded like our Belle-buns; colorful strings of sugar pinwheeled around sticks to mirror our traditional waist-sashes and dresses.

A hand thumps my carriage and I catch a sliver of a face. The square is overflowing with bodies. There are so many of them. Hundreds, thousands, maybe millions. Imperial guards push the crowd back to give our procession space to pass. All the people seem beautiful, with skin in various colors, from fresh cream to a drizzle of honey to a square of chocolate; their hair is in blond waves or brunette curls or raven coils; body shapes are petite, round, or somewhere in between. They've all paid to look this way.

The men wear jackets and top hats and cravats in a prism of colors. Some have hair growing on their faces in neat patterns. They stand beside women adorned with jewels and draped in luxurious, pastel-colored dresses made full with crinoline and tulle. Intricate hats cover the ladies' hair; some clutch dainty parasols and oilpaper umbrellas, or cool themselves with patterned fans. From the blimps above, I bet they resemble candies in a box.

I recognize the more popular looks from the stacks of gossip tattlers left in the mail chest a day too long, or from the weekly beauty-scopes Du Barry's daughter Elisabeth sometimes dropped between the velvet cushions of the parlorroom couch. The Orléans Press said strawberry blonde hair and jade eyes are the new windy-season trend. The headlines read:

AWAKEN LOVE ... LOOK IRRESISTIBLE WITH STRAWBERRY AND JADE

FILL YOUR TOILETTE BOX WITH BELLE-APPROVED RHUBARB HAIR POWDER

A COMPLEXION OF LILIES AND BELLE-ROSE LIPS — THIS SEASON'S COLORS OF BEAUTY


The newsies say that's what everyone will want in the coming months.

Coins jingle. Hands wave velvet pouches in the air. The spintria inside creates a tinkling melody. How much does each pouch hold? How many treatments can they afford to purchase? How much are they willing to pay?

I adjust the eyescope lens, zooming in on excited onlookers, noticing how some of their skin tones have faded, like paintings that have faced the sun too long; how their hair is graying at the roots, and age-lines are creasing several brows.

It's a reminder of why I'm here.

I am a Belle.

I control beauty.

CHAPTER 2

The carriages stop before the royal pavilion. Embroidered chrysanthemums coil around its peaks. Trumpets sound. Bells chime. I adjust the eyescope lens, and squint to see the king, queen, and their daughter. They remind me of the porcelain dolls my sisters and I used to play with as children. The chipped face of the little king in his purple robe, and the queen with a bent crown pinned into her dark hair, both sitting inside a miniature palace made of cypress wood scraps in the playroom.

They look the same here, though not as worn, of course. The queen glows like a faraway star, her ink-black skin catching the last rays of sunlight; the king's copper beard hits the waist-belt of his robe; their daughter has her golden hair pinned up like a beehive. I used to paint the arms and legs of the princess doll each time the real princess altered her skin color, keeping up to date with the scandal sheets Maman used to smuggle past Du Barry.

The blimp screens sparkle with her picture. Tonight she's snowy white like her father, but with peach-pink freckles expertly dusted across her nose. I want to be the one who makes them all beautiful. I want to be the one the queen chooses. I want the power that comes with being Her Majesty's favorite. And if I can be better than Amber, I will be chosen. The rest of my sisters are good, but deep in my heart, I know it will come down to me and her.

Madame Du Barry speaks into a voice-trumpet. "Your Majesties, Your Highness, ministers, comtes and comtesses, barons and baronesses, ladies and gentlemen of the court, people of Orléans, welcome to our kingdom's most notable tradition, the Beauté Carnaval." Her voice is thick with authority. The noise rattles my carriage. Even though I can't see her, I know she's wearing a hat full of peacock feathers, and she's squeezed her curvy frame into one of her black dresses. Maman told me that Madame Du Barry likes to maintain a large and intimidating figure.

"I am Madame Ana Maria Lange Du Barry, Royal Gardien de la Belle-Rose." She says her official title proudly. The people of Orléans would most likely gasp if they knew we called her "Du Barry" at home.

Applause rumbles. High-pitched whistles echo. The noise vibrates inside my chest. My entire life I've wanted nothing more than to be here, before the kingdom.

"This tradition goes back to the very beginning of our islands, and to the onset of our civilization. For generations my ancestors have had the grand privilege to be guardians of our most treasured jewels." She turns to her left and motions to the previous generation of Belles. All eight of them sit in high-backed chairs, and hold Belle-rosebuds in their hands. Black lace veils mask their faces. The favorite — Ivy — wears a glistening crown on her head. This is the end of their time at court. They will return home once they train us.

As a little girl, I remember how they all had played with us between their lessons with Du Barry. But then one day, the servants packed the older girls' things.

I wanted to hole up inside those steamer trunks and carriage cases, hide within their silk dresses and soft furs and fluffy tulle, to stow away and catch glimpses of the world through a trunk's keyhole. I remember reading about the older Belles in the papers after they left. I have their official Belle-cards tacked to my bedroom wall.

I want to be Ivy. I have always wanted to be her.

You have to be the favorite-just like me, Maman told me before she died. The people of Orléans hate themselves. You must change that. The memory of her words warms me from the inside out as the sting of missing her swells inside my chest. The favorite shows the world what is beautiful. She reminds them of what is essential. I wish she had lived long enough to be here, watching from the stage.

I picture myself living at the palace as the personal Belle of the royal family, being the left hand of the Beauty Minister and helping her draft beauty laws, experiencing the wonders of the Imperial City of Trianon and all its quartiers, swimming in La Mer du Roi, sailing in royal ships, visiting every island, and roaming every town to taste all the world has to offer.

My sisters will be placed at one of five imperial teahouses, or will stay at home to tend to Orleans's newborn citizens.

I will be a vessel for the Goddess of Beauty.

I hold the dream inside my chest like a breath I never want to let out.

"And now, it is my pleasure to present the newest generation of Belles," Du Barry announces.

A shiver of anticipation makes my heart threaten to burst. My hands shake, and I drop the eyescopes.

The crowd cheers. The driver pulls the netted covering of flowers from my carriage.

I'm revealed to the crowd. I grab the fans from my lap. Their latches fall open, exposing the fans' primrose-pink pattern. I cover my face, then flap and twirl them together so they flutter like a butterfly's wings. I toss them above my head and catch them effortlessly. The hours of lessons pay off in this moment. Whistles and shouts rise up from the throng.

I look to the left at my sisters' carriages. We're all lined up like a row of eggs in a carton, moving in time with one another. We exchange smiles. The same blood runs through us: the blood of the stars, the blood of the Goddess of Beauty.

Crimson lanterns float into the air. Against a darkening sky, the thin paper burns big and bright with our names: Edelweiss, Ambrosia, Padma, Valeria, Hana, and Camellia.

Fish jump from nearby fountains, changing from ruby to teal mid-flight, teasing onlookers. Their leaps hold the promise of our powers. The square explodes with cheers. Little girls wave Belle-dolls in the air.

Many men and women are sporting monocles to have a closer look at us. I smile and wave, wanting to impress them, wanting to be good enough to be remembered.

Du Barry presents Valerie first. Her carriage rolls forward.

I close my eyes.

Don't watch them, Maman had said. Don't ever covet their use of the arcana. Envy can grow like a weed inside you. Be the best without trying to be better than the others.

We weren't allowed to discuss our instructions in the weeks leading up to the carnaval, but Amber and I had swapped our dossiers. Her subject needed to be given skin the color of toasted walnuts, hair full of large barrel curls, and a round, angelic face; mine had to have skin the shade of alabaster stone from the Fire Isles, hair so dark it blended into the night, and a mouth so perfect and so red it would be indistinguishable from a rose. We practiced our looks on house servants, perfecting them in solitary chambers under the scrutiny of Du Barry. Practice begets perfection, she'd yelled for hours.

I shift around in the carriage as the demonstrations continue, with Hana following Valerie. My legs fall asleep from having them crossed for so long, and my eyes flutter, fighting my desire to keep them closed. Pained moans cut through the noisy square like silver knives as the little girls endure their transformations. I wince as the cries peak and fall, and the onlookers cheer at their crescendos.

Some of my sisters receive louder reactions than others. Some get oohs and ahhs. The roar deafens me at times.

I love my sisters, especially Amber. She's always been the one I loved the most. We all deserve to be the favorite. We've worked so hard to learn the art of beauty. But I want it so much there's no room inside me for anything else.

My eyes feel like they've been closed for an eternity before my carriage trudges forward again. Imperial attendants approach, and their gold uniform buttons catch the lantern light. They arrange themselves at four corners around me, unlatch the hitches, grip the levers jutting from the sides of my glass ball, and lift me off the wheeled bottom like I'm only a soap bubble. Thin and weightless.

I lock my legs in place and focus on my balance. The men march me to the center platform. I try not to be nervous. Du Barry recreated this entire set inside our home, complete with the gold cylinder where my platform will eventually come to rest. I've been preparing for this day since my thirteenth birthday; all of the lessons, the lectures, the practice. I know exactly what I'm supposed to do. It's been rehearsed, yet I can't stop my fingers from trembling and my body from quivering like there's a tiny landquake inside my glass ball.

I whisper to myself: "I will have the best showcase. I will receive the loudest applause. I'll be named the favorite, just like Maman. I will get to live at court. I will get to see the world. I won't make any mistakes. I'll make people beautiful." I say it over and over again like a prayer until the rhythm of the words erases my fear.

The men turn a lever. Gears clink and clang and wheeze. The platform under me rises just above the crowd. Plush royal boxes sit on stilts high above. People lean out of them with eyescopes and spyglasses pressed to their faces, and ear-trumpets jutting out like elephants' trunks. Faces look up in wonder and anticipation like I'm a star caught in a vase, ready to explode.

The platform stops. I turn a tiny lever on the carriage floor. The glass ceiling above me cracks open like an egg. The night's warm air skates over my skin like soft fingers, and it tastes even sweeter up here. If I could bottle the tiny winds, they'd turn to sugar dust.

The stars twinkle. I feel close enough to grab one and stow it away in my beauty caisse.

The square grows so quiet, and the sounds of the ocean swell. The people of Orléans gaze up at me, the last Belle to demonstrate her talents. Du Barry didn't prepare me for what it's like to be stared at. There are so many pairs of eyes, all different shapes and colors. My heart leaps.

Du Barry winks at me, then taps her full lips — a reminder to smile. The crowd believes I was born knowing how to make them beautiful. They don't know how hard I've worked to perfect the traditions and master the arcana. They don't know how hard I've struggled to learn all the rules.

"Now, it is my pleasure to present our final Belle, Camellia Beauregard!"

She fills the syllables of my name with pride, triumph, and magic. I try to hold onto that, and use it to combat my worries.

Light shines everywhere: the lanterns and blimp screens and sky candles and a bright rising moon. I can almost taste it, soft and bubbly and sweet, like pink champagne on the tip of my tongue.

I face a semicircle of smaller platforms. Three to the left and two to the right. Seven-year-old girls stand on them like jewels on velvet cushions. They're as different from one another as pearls and rubies and emeralds, showing how uniquely we can use our arcana to beautify.

I know my sisters' work: Padma's subject has limbs the rich color of honey bread; Edel shaved her girl's head close to the scalp; the eyes of Valerie's subject twinkle like amethyst stars; Hana's girl has the body of a dancer, long legs and arms and a slender neck; Amber's subject has a cheery round face just like her own.

The other Belles have created tiny masterpieces.

It's my turn to transform a girl.

The king and queen nod at Du Barry. She waves her hand in the air, signaling for me to get ready.

I glance up to the heavens for strength and courage. Belles are the descendants of the Goddess of Beauty, blessed with the arcana to enhance the world and rescue the people of Orléans. Blimps crisscross above me and block the stars with their plump forms and silhouette banners.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. Copyright © 2018 Dhonielle Clayton. Excerpted by permission of Freeform Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Clayton's latest imagines a world in which the drive for perfection is also the greatest ruin. In Camellia's archipelago world of Orléans, a Promethean legend has it that the God of the Sky fell in love with the Goddess of Beauty but soon grew jealous of the attention she gave to their children, the first humans. In punishment, he cursed them with ugliness: "Skin the color of a sunless sky, eyes the shade of blood, hair the texture of rotten straw, and a deep sadness that quickly turned to madness." In retaliation, the legend goes, Beauty made the Belles. Now, beauty is the ultimate commodity. Camellia is one such Belle, a beautiful girl who is blessed, like her sisters, to transform the gray and ugly bodies of the citizens of Orléans into something beautiful—for a time. Camellia and her five sisters have just turned 16 and are about to take their places in society, where they will, for an exorbitant fee, work their magic upon the citizens of Orléans when the people's beauty starts to fade. For one Belle, that place will be in the imperial palace alongside the royal family. Like all her sisters, Camellia wants desperately to be chosen as the favorite, and though her talents are strong, her reluctance to follow directions may keep her from the ultimate prize. Despite the magic in Camellia's blood, beauty in Orléans is also pain. The expensive treatments Camellia performs can be torturous for the customer, but they drain Camellia of her own energy, which can only be replenished by having her blood treated with leeches. But above all other things, beauty here is deception. It's not long before Camellia realizes that the life she has been trained for and the world she has been prepared to enter are nothing more than mirages. The royal family is facing terrible challenges: a crown princess who has been in a mysterious sleep for years and a second daughter whose ascension to the throne could be disastrous. Camellia and her sisters have been kept in the dark most of their lives about their powers and strengths, and when Camellia is asked to use her Belle magic in ways it's not intended, she finds herself caught up in a political plot and faced with impossible choices. In many ways continuing a conversation that began in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, Clayton examines the price of beauty in a society that reveres it. Unlike in Westerfeld's series, race isn't edited out of Clayton's universe, and she's altogether wily about describing beauty, especially when it comes to skin tone—skin is "the color of toasted walnuts," "the rich color of honey bread," "a sugared beignet fresh from the oil." It's a clever indictment of the way women of color in particular are often portrayed in literature today, in a way that fetishizes and commodifies them. And Camellia, despite her status and her abilities, is often subjected to both. Clayton impressively offers up a series starter that, despite its broad commercial appeal, doesn't shy away from facing uncomfortable truths in our own society. The dual natures of ugliness and shame, the commodification of beauty and of women, the drive for perfection at any cost, the widening of one girl's moral landscape—all of it comes into play here. But even as it does, the action never slows, and the rich, rotting world never wavers. Readers may be almost grateful for that cliff-hanger ending—it means there's more to come. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

In the fantastical courtly society of Orlians, everyone is born ugly--except for the innately lovely Belles, who also have the supernatural ability to manipulate others' appearance. Camille, the queen's Favorite Belle, moves into the palace to provide beauty services to royals and aristocrats. Clayton vividly describes her world's dazzling fashion and lavish galas in the midst of profound racism/colorism, indentured servitude, and distorted body image.[Aug NftHB] Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

In the fantastical courtly society of Orléans, everyone is born ugly—"skin pallid, gray, and shriveled, eyes cherry red, hair like straw—as if all the color was leeched out of them." Everyone, that is, except the Belles, the few girls in each generation blessed by the Goddess of Beauty with innate loveliness (of diverse skin tones and body shapes) and the supernatural ability to manipulate the appearance and personality traits of others. The Belles' gifts require long study and discipline to refine; the treatments are exhausting for the Belles and often excruciatingly painful for their clients. As the Queen's Favorite Belle, Camille moves into the palace to provide beauty services to royals and aristocrats. Her primary client, Princess Sophia, soon reveals her sociopathic obsession with becoming the most beautiful in all of Orléans—as well as her insatiable thirst for power. In this deceit-filled and dangerous environment, Camille must make alliances and decide whether to use her gifts to intervene in Sophia's schemes. In an immediate present tense, Clayton vividly describes dazzling fashion and lavish galas in profound contrast to gruesome, invasive treatments and extreme class disparity. And while Clayton's primary theme is the destructiveness wrought by societally imposed beauty ideals, she also touches upon other systems of exploitation, including slavery, racism and colorism, rape culture, and forced labor. The (slightly rushed) ending leaves many questions to be explored in projected further installments. katie bircher Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Sixteen-year-old sisters Camellia, Edelweiss, Ambrosia, Padma, Valeria, and Hana are the new generation of Belles, young women who are responsible for keeping the citizens of Orléans beautiful, magically transforming their appearances to align with the latest trends. Descendants of the Goddess of Beauty, the Belles are paid to perform their magic to prevent their people from reverting to pallid, red-eyed creatures, their natural state. Talented Camellia believes that she will be selected as the Queen's favorite, a role the sisters covet deeply. But when another Belle is chosen, and Camellia is assigned to a teahouse to perform beauty rituals on the wealthy, she begins to wonder if what she has always believed about the Belles is true. Clayton (coauthor of Tiny Pretty Things) creates a vivid island world in this enticing series opener, saturating the narration with lush descriptions ("Carts hold tiers of pastries frosted in rose-petal pinks and pearly whites and apple reds, flutes overflow with jewel-tone liquids") that reflect the culture's obsession with elegance, appearance, and luxury. Readers will be left with much to consider about morality, individuality, and the malleability and artificiality of beauty. Ages 14–up. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

POPGr 8 Up—When the Goddess paid more attention to her children, the humans, the God of the Sky became jealous and cursed them to have skin of colorless sky. Never one to abandon her children, Beauty created The Belles to bring beauty back to the damned. Camillia Beauregard and her sisters are Belles, vessels of beauty, and their time has come to save Orleans from a life of unbearable sameness, but they must first be placed in houses. The coveted position is The Favorite, and to serve the royal family. Camillia desires to be chosen Favorite like her mother and when her time comes to shine, she is unforgettable. Sophia the Queen Regent does not forget her. As Camillia begins her life of royal servitude, she starts to see the underbelly of her world—mysterious cries within the walls, veiled Belles of a time passed, and people who risk their lives to be beautiful. The grandest realization is the volatile temperament of Sophia. Camillia must make a choice—be the vessel of beauty and follow every command or use her powers to save her world from Sophia. Clayton has created a world full of lush colors, beautiful people, and delicious desserts. Strong themes are interwoven in this fantasy, including choice and envy. This work challenges readers to reflect on their notions of beauty. Through the actions of the characters, teens will understand what a beauty-obsessed world really looks like and that possessing conviction and selflessness is just as beautiful as outward appearances. VERDICT A must-have addition to libraries with fans of The Selection by Kiera Cass.—Dawn Abron, Zion-Benton Public Library, IL

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews

In the world of Orléans, Camille and her sisters are Belles; they can use their blood to give people Beauty, the most important quality in their world. For the Belles, the highest honor is to serve the royals in the palace. Camille cannot believe it when she does not win the coveted position. In the second highest position, she begins to investigate strange noises she hears, but soon as she makes any progress, she is promoted to the favorite position. Once at the palace, everything changes as she learns more about the royal family. There is something terribly wrong; the oldest princess lies in a coma while the youngest princess manipulates and punishes those around her. The queen enlists Camille's help, but Camille is not certain what, if anything, she can do—or is willing to do—to revive the comatose princess. The more time she spends with the younger Princess Sophia, the more Camille realizes that she should never rule. The story pulls the reader in quickly. The worldbuilding is amazing, leaving the reader curious and probably wanting a teacup animal. Camille does not always do the right thing, but she grows along the way. Her character growth stretches for longer than the reader might like, but by the end of the book, she chooses the right path. The novel delves into the concepts of beauty, worthy leadership, and standing up for your beliefs. The plot twists, the secrets, and the betrayals will keep readers turning the pages quickly while the cliffhanger will leave them clamoring for the next book.—Jennifer Rummel. 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2018 Voya Reviews.

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