Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (Spoiler-Free)
Dhonielle Clayton's writing is deliciously easy to read, but in the end, I found the overall story a little disappointing. That's not to say I didn't enjoy my time reading it! (hence the 4 stars!) I rate based on enjoyment, and that was definitely there for the majority of my reading experience until the very ending.
I was obsessed with the first half of this book. The world was fascinating, the writing and descriptions lush and enticing. It's essentially like if the aesthetics of Effie from The Hunger Games were plastered over the whimsical world from Caraval. And I mean that in the best way. I prefer this type of fantasy setting to that of woods or kingdoms—it felt more like a dystopian WITHIN a fantasy if that makes any sense.
I think that if you haven't read much YA fantasy or dystopian or are just a younger reader in general, this book is great. If I'd read this when I first got back into reading, I'm sure it would have blown me away. It's (for the most part) incredibly fast-paced and has a few twists that a newer reader might be more impressed by. I'm definitely putting this on my list of recommendations for people getting into YA—fans of The Selection too (though I wasn't lol) would probably love this!
I continue to be intrigued by Dhonielle Clayton. I've been meaning to read more from her after loving her short story in the anthology Meet Cute, and I'm glad I finally did! While I don't think I'll be continuing in this particular series, I'm definitely keeping her on my radar for upcoming new releases. Those food descriptions and perfect chapter lengths hooked me.