Book Review

The Everlasting Rose

The Everlasting Rose

  • Author: Dhonielle Clayton
  • Genre: YA Fantasy 
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2019
  • Publisher: Freeform
  • Series: The Belles #2

CONTENT WARNING: blood, violence, suicide, mention of torture

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Nothing is what it seems in this must-read sequel to the instant New York Times best seller.

With a price on her head, the evil Queen Sophia out for blood, and no idea who to trust, Camellia Beauregard, the former favorite Belle, must race against time to find the ailing Princess Charlotte, who has disappeared without a trace. Sophia’s imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep Camille, her sister Edel, and her loyal guard, Rémy, from returning Charlotte to the palace and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called the Iron Ladies—a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely—and the backing of alternative newspaper the Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections, and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and attempt to restore peace to Orléans. But enemies lurk in the most unexpected places, forcing Camille to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice to save her people.

I couldn’t wait to jump into this book, especially after rereading The Belles, which leaves off on a major cliffhanger. This one picks up exactly where the last book left off, with Camille and company on the run, trying to figure out how to take down Sophia.

The tone of this book is significantly darker, and it seeps into every aspect of the story. I found it to be really intriguing, as the society’s focus on beauty is examined a little more deeply, and how negative this has become. If everyone can change how they look on a whim, then society’s perception of reality is completely skewed, and no one actually knows what is underneath anything.

“‘Everyone spends all their time trying to look like something else. The masses will believe what is presented to them, as long as it’s compelling and beautiful. Thanks to you, they no longer have any idea what’s real—what’s true.’”

This darkness also seeps into the characters, especially affecting Camille. We see a different side to her, where instead of living a life of happiness and ease, she’s now struggling just to survive. Camille is hiding out and having to do things on her own for the first time in her life, and beginning to realize exactly how much she took for granted. She also starts to experience some darker emotions as well, and it was intriguing to see her struggle with her anger and frustration and fear.

I would have liked to see more about the Iron Ladies, who didn’t play as large of a role in the story as I was expecting. They only showed up for a short part of the story, but I would have loved to see more about their organization and who they really are. I did, however, enjoy the focus on darker skin tones being prized and seen as desirable and beautiful, as well as the variety in shades of skin. There’s also a sci-fi element to the story in how the Belles are actually born, and I would have liked to learn more about that, although the story didn’t actually go too far in depth about that.

Overall, this was a good story, but it didn’t quite match up to the high expectations I had from the first book. It takes us on a tour of a gorgeous, sumptuous world of decadence with a dark underbelly, while leaving the door open for a third book, which I hope we get soon.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 11

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