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I don’t normally review a book if I don’t finish, but in the name of helping other people not waste their time, I will. The book is 13 hours and I stopped about 6 hours in.
I heard Clayton on the Kirkus Review podcast. The author herself and what she said she was trying to do with the story was of interest to me. Apparently she failed on those fronts according to some. Go to Goodreads if you want to read all about the controversy. I won’t weigh in on that.
Here’s my main beef: It was like listening to someone expound for 6 hours on how she makes herself and others beautiful. Of course the belles are magical (or something) and can do just about anything to a person to physically change a person’s looks—give them different color skin and hair, reshape a nose, give them a small waist. And then there’s the Belle line of fantabulous makeup and all the gorgeous clothing that can be had in this world. But that’s about all there was—endless descriptions of it.
There was no plot, no action. Maybe that comes after the halfway point? If it does, I’d say that’s a little too late.
When I started listening, I noted the beautiful, descriptive writing but I also noted that despite the description, I was having trouble picturing this strange world. Not usually one of my problems. And I had no idea what was going on in this world other than people trying to be beautiful. Seriously, there’s nothing else but lots of yummy food and parties.
The other thing that kept nagging at me (maybe I just missed it) is that there are 6 “official” belles. Somehow these 6 keep an entire country beautiful. The numbers just don’t add up. Apparently something shady is going on with UNofficial belles, but I can’t slog through any more of this book.
Main character: boring. All characters: boring. Because all they think, talk, and care about is beauty.
Audio narrator: quite good.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I'm so proud of this book. It hits some points that aren't always popular with our youth and frankly most adults. I found it thought-provoking and ultimately disturbing in what you realize about our society. It made me think of how we may inadvertently say or do things as parents that could make our children believe that their appearance is more important than it should be.
As for the story itself, it focuses around a group of young girls (Belles) who are charged with making the citizens beautiful. An entire people who HATE the way they look and put beauty above all else. Beauty is more important to be beautiful than rich.
The story is a slow drama with no real action scenes but is still able to keep you on the edge of your seat. From the beginning you are made aware that something is off with their situstion. The excitement comes from seeing how far rabbit hole goes. The author has a straight forward writing style. I didn't particularly like the ending as it cuts off in a wierd part of the story.
I will admit I was quite intrigued after seeing the cover. There aren't many people of color used as lead characters in the Fantasy Genre. Then after learning this novel was associated with Disney, I thought it might be all lollipops and rainbows. Instead the author has written a story that challenges what some might the standard of beauty and the emphasis we put into our outter appeareance.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful