The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | Audiobook ReviewThe Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Narrator: Rosie Jones
Length: 12 Hours 57 Minutes
Series: The Belles #1
Published by Disney Electronic Content on February 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Fashion & Beauty, Romance
Pages: 448
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
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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. Dhonielle Clayton creates a rich, detailed, decadent world of excess and privilege, where beauty is not only skin-deep, but a complete mirage. Weaving deeper questions about the commodification of women's bodies, gender equality, racial identity, and vanity with high-stakes action and incredible imagery, The Belles is the must-read epic of the season.

Why Did I Listen To The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton?

I genuinely respect a lot of what Dhonielle Clayton has to say on twitter. I also met her for like fifteen seconds at New York Comic Con back when her debut with Sonia Charaipotra was coming out - Tiny Pretty Things. After seeing the bold and beautiful cover for The Belles, I KNEW I had to read it like yesterday. Lucky me, my library had an audiobook copy on Overdrive and I only had to wait for one person before it was my turn.

What’s The Story Here?

The Belles is about this girl of color named Camellia Beauregard. She is a Belle. This means basically that she has color and is beautiful and said to be blessed by this Goddess. Belles also control beauty, right. They are the hottest ticket and everyone who is gray and boring in the kingdom wants these powers. So, Camellia and the other Belles train for the chance to be the Favorite of the Queen. This is Camellia’s biggest goal – being Favorite.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, court life isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Nor are her powers all beauty and light. In fact, she discovers some pretty sinister things. Meanwhile, the Queen wants Camellia to use her Belle powers to help out her daughter who is sick so she can be on the throne instead of her other daughter. FYI, demon is putting it lightly.

How Did I Like The Belles?

OKAY SO, a lot of The Belles went right over my head, mainly because I just have that problem sometimes. HOWEVER, oh my god the writing. It is sumptuous and beautiful and ugh, so much imagery. I just want all the teacup animals. And the food sounds so good too. But like, you can tell that something sinister lurks beneath the surface. Still, I know based on twitter that there were breadcrumbs in this book that I did not pick up on, likely due to my privilege and being Captain Oblivious over here. Still, I really enjoyed this book, despite some really tough scenes to listen to. ALSO OMG Sophie. That girl, she’s one of the princesses. She’s utterly evil and oh my goodness, kudos to Clayton for writing someone so compelling and depraved. Camellia’s interesting too, let’s be real. However, I am not sitting here typing this writhing with hatred for her.

How’s The Narration?

The audiobook of The Belles is narrated by Rosie Jones. She does stuck up posh B very well, FYI. I had anger palpitations during scenes with Sophie. However, Jones also does a great job with Camellia and just drawing listeners in. I would totally give this a recommend via audiobook for sure.

Other reviews of The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton:

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Thanks so much for the link to my review, April! Glad you enjoyed The Belles! 🙂

  2. Wow! Your’e review left me intrigued. I’m going to have to check this one out. Thanks for the heads up!