Title: The Everlasting Rose
(The Belles #2)
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Genre: YA Fantasy
Narrated By: Rosie Jones
Length: 10 hours, 2 minutes
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Suicide, Torture, Kidnapping
Was I tricked yet again to continue on with a series to end up finishing a series even though I never ever EVER finish series?! Yes, yes I was totally tricked but maybe I’m okay with it. Thank you so much to Kayla doing this buddy read with me, and thank you to Coffee Break Book Club for getting us together for this.
- It’s been a long time since I read the first one, but I definitely feel like I jumped back into this work pretty easily.
- Damn I forgot how much I literally hate Sophia. That little bitch.
- Edel is a little hellcat apparently. I’m glad I get to see more of her in this one.
- Remy is my bae. Please have him survive this book.
- Some of the inventions that they have in Orleans are pretty interesting! Someone should try to make those into a reality here.
Beauty is power… and dangerous
Like we learned from the first novel – if you have read it – the Belles are blessed with these magics in the form of “arcana” that allow them to change the appearance of others, and even themselves. They are the only people in the whole of Orleans that are not born like the Gris, where they are gray and “ugly” and all that negative stuff. The people of Orleans, the ones that can afford it anyway, buy the services of the Belles in the form of beauty treatments to make them beautiful so they can be happy with themselves.
In this book, we see that Sophia wants to basically have an monopoly on the beauty industry, and even goes as far as punishing those that aren’t actively taking steps to make themselves beautiful. It’s honestly ridiculous and I think something is seriously wrong with her. She reminds me of some sort of sociopath? Maybe I’m wrong but she has no empathy for those she hurts, kills, etc. Just none. And she makes it seem like she is always in the right when she really isn’t, just because she’s the reigning monarch in Orleans at the moment. Well, I mean the only reason why she’s the Regent Queen right now is because she claims her sister Charlotte died after being in a coma for six years. And do you really think that coma was an accident? Or just humanely normal? Please.
In this world, it’s hard enough to just accept who you are, when it can also be actually painful to stay the way you are – the Gris have mentioned that they will use certain Belle beauty products because of the pain they experience staying the same – or going through the beauty treatments that are more extreme than others. And you would think the Belles are the ones with the power since they literally have the power to change people’s appearances, but they are just glorified slaves and I don’t think they even realized it until the events of the first book and this one.
Can sisterhood really conquer all?
There was a moment in this novel where Camille, Edel, and Amber were briefly reunited until certain events happened. There was immediate tension between Edel and Amber, to the point that when Amber does end up being separated from her sisters, Edel doesn’t even care to go look for her. She claimed that Amber changed, and that she wasn’t really their sister anymore. She didn’t trust her, and would rather find their other sisters than waste time finding Amber.
Now, I understand that sisters fight and sisters can stop being friends but remain family. I also know that if family starts to be toxic, it’s honestly better to keep a distance from them to protect yourself and your own mental health. So I can understand where Edel is coming from. But… I don’t know. It also kind of bothered me for her reasoning for why she refused to trust Amber anymore, because like Camille said, Edel wasn’t one of the Favorites in the palace that was pretty much tortured by Sophia or worked to the point of near death on beauty treatments. If Amber and Edel were to have had a conversation about that, and actually have the time and space to let their feelings out, would they have been able to reconcile? I don’t know that answer either. It was just sad that they were close before the trilogy started, growing up together and learning from Du Bary and all that, and then to have the events of both novels rip them apart.
But maybe they were already starting to fracture their relationship in the first place. This was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I feel like the person who went through the most growth throughout this novel was Camille. Yes, that may seem obvious because she’s our main character in the series, but that isn’t always the case, trust me. I feel like she got angrier, which I personally loved. She didn’t just take Sophia’s reign of terror lightly, and I think her ability to see what the Iron Ladies had to say about their point of view, and her putting herself on the line for the greater good was admirable of her. I wouldn’t expect anything less honestly, especially with the ending of the first book and what she was forced to do, but I could also understand her being afraid of getting caught in the crossfire.
I feel like her wanting to protect her sisters and Remy outweighed any other fear she may have had, but also to the point that she made some not-so smart decisions along the way. I won’t go much into that since that is entering spoiler territory, but there was a scene where I was like ‘OMG don’t do that! Be smart about the bigger picture, not just what’s going on in the moment.” But alas, she had to figure that out for herself.
I will also say that Edel’s decision in the end was not only surprising to her sisters, but to me as well. It made me love Edel even more, and I was just really glad that she went through a little bit of growth from what we were able to see. I kind of wish that I was able to be in Edel’s point of view a little bit, and hopefully if there really is a third book, it’s from her perspective rather than Camille’s. Nothing wrong with Camille at all, but I feel like there’s so much potential to tell a story from Edel’s side, and that could be the way to do it.
Honestly while I was listening to this one, the only time that I was really feeling a certain type of way was during the spoiler parts that I can’t talk about. I was legit shocked and then sad. And then the book would keep going and then I was like “did that really just happen” and it seemed like it didn’t really make a dent on any of the characters, but apparently it did. I think it was just because everything was so fast paced at the time that they didn’t have time to digest what happened besides at that moment.
And of course I was still stupid angry with Sophia. Like, I hated her during this book and we barely got to see her. Like… seriously I was hoping she would die, and I’m not usually this cruel. Well, maybe not. I am kind of cruel when it comes to the books I’m reading because luckily it’s not a real person that I’m wishing ill will towards, I guess. But Sophia is one of those characters that I would not want living anymore, even if them living was a punishment. To me, she shouldn’t even be around anymore, because I feel like she could be the type to somehow come back into the fray and make matters even worse.
I feel like the plot for this book was a good continuation to the first novel. Since the first novel ended in such a huge cliffhanger from what I remember, this one pretty much picked up where it left off. I think that worked out better for me because so much had happened in the first one that I would have felt really let down if the time immediately after that wasn’t discussed. Now as far as what the third novel would be about, I wouldn’t know. This one ended in a way that made me feel like it was a sufficient ending to the story that I couldn’t see why there would be a third one unless it was a prequel or something.
The prose wasn’t bad for me. I didn’t really feel like it was good or bad. It just worked with the story, I guess. But nothing wrong with that either. There just wasn’t anything that really stood out to me prose wise. It made sense and that’s what works for me.
Pacing was fine. Nothing skipped ahead too much where I didn’t understand what was going on, or what I missed. I also didn’t feel like there were scenes that were too long or anything, so that was good as well. For the most part, I feel like Clayton has gotten pacing down for this series really well, and that goes the same for this novel. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a problem with her pacing before.
I think this was a great second book to read from Clayton. Sure there were things plot wise that I may not have liked – spoiler territory so I didn’t go deep into it – but in the end it worked out very well. I’m still very curious to know if this is going to be a trilogy, or if a duology works out better, which I personally think it does. Either way, I’m excited to see what else Clayton has in store to read. I like her work.
- Kiera’s Bookish Thoughts
- Steph’s Story Space
- Reading Books with Coffee
- Required Reading
- Deanna Writes About
- Into New Realms
This review took me long enough to write but thank goodness I finally wrote everything down! I’m glad that I got to buddy read this one, because clearly I have issues finishing series or anything like that. I know, I know. But I’m getting better at it every single day. I’m really curious to see more from this world, and from Clayton as well. She is an author that I would like to read more from, so I’ll have to check out some of her other work.
For those of you who have read The Everlasting Rose, what did you think of it? Do you feel like everything was wrapped up pretty well? What about those of you who haven’t read this series yet. Are you going to add it to your TBR? Your possibility pile? Let’s talk about it!