Cover Image: The Everlasting Rose (The Belles series, Book 2)

The Everlasting Rose (The Belles series, Book 2)

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Everything I could've ever wanted and more from this sequel. Writing that gave me chills, characters I want to hug and strangle at the same time, and a plot that left me gasping more than once. Dhonielle Clayton left me reeling with The Belles and I couldn't have asked for anything better from Everlasting Rose. Forever recommend this series and in love with the writing.
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Second books often find themselves in a slump. I’ve learned that this is because the first book is often written without a deadline, put through multiple drafts, and given the chance to become perfect. Second books in a series tend to be under a deadline and under the scrutiny of many, which explains why they often feel bland, rushed, and a bridge to something better.

Not so with The Everlasting Rose.

Camille has escaped the palace and is on the run with the intention of finding the Princess Charlotte and foiling Princess Sophia’s plans to become queen. She runs into the rebel force of Iron Ladies who have chosen to live without beauty treatments and want to help the kingdom move away from them as well. They agree to help Camille and she makes arrangements to crash the coronation and bring Charlotte back to take her rightful place.

This book was everything The Belles wasn’t. People died, there were very real consequences, you can feel that the kingdom is under a cruel (yet beautiful) dictatorship. Camille has to explore what matters most to her so that she can make the right choices and keep her eyes on the top priority, which moves from her new love for Remy, keeping her Belle sisters safe, and murdering the ever-loving daylights out of Sophia. Every time her arcana woke up and she started to choke the life out of someone because she was so angry my vengeful heart just purred (although RIP to a sweet bebe no spoilers).

I enjoyed the read from start to finish. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises, you’re basically getting what you would expect even in the “twists,” but the story is told so well that you won’t mind the predictability. I was unable to unearth whether or not there will be a third book or if this was simply a duology, but The Everlasting Rose ties up nicely at the end while leaving just a few threads out there that another book could build on. If that next book should materialize I think I will be there to read it.
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I’m not sure how much of The Everlasting Rose's plot I can get into without spoiling some of The Belles, so consider that your spoiler warning. Go read The Belles. I’ll wait.

OK, so onto book two! Camille, Amber, Edel and Remy are on the run. Sophia wants them captured, ASAP, so wanted posters of the fugitives are everywhere. Sophia has wasted no time in abusing her power, using her inventions to spy on and terrify the populace. She’s captured Camille’s other sisters, and is constructing a massive prison to hold the Belles in, called The Everlasting Rose. Which is a very nice name for a place that sounds absolutely awful. Camille wants nothing more than to find the Princess Charlotte, who just managed to escape being captured by Sophia, and is being kept…somewhere. But things go wrong from the start: first, Amber is captured. Then Remy’s family is captured and he must take off to save them. Camille and Edel are left at this alone, with no money and no support. 

Only they have something they can use to their advantage. Edel has discovered that they can use their beauty-altering abilities on themselves - before, it had been strictly forbidden, and the Belles simply didn’t know how. But Edel figured out how to use her abilities to change herself for short periods, and she wastes no time showing Camille how to change herself as well. So now they can go around in disguise. Awesome! They still have no money or support or have any idea where Charlotte is. Damn it.

Except all is not well in the world of The Belles. Not everyone is happy with the denial of their natural, gray state. Some have even embraced it. They’ve created an underground society called The Iron Ladies, and they’re hellbent on overthrowing the existing order. Maybe they’d be willing to help Camille and her sisters?

So I absolutely loved The Belles. The whole world is like steampunk late 18th century Versailles on crack. It’s awesome and it goes without saying that, yes, I highly enjoyed the sequel as well. Sometimes, with sequels, authors indulge a bit - you can see it with Harry Potter - as the series went on, each book got longer, and longer… until next thing you know it’s 800 pages and it's difficult to carry the hardcover around.

Everlasting Rose doesn’t make that mistake, thank God - the writing is much tighter, the action coming much faster than it in in The Belles. As the second book in a series, though, it has the luxury of skipping over all the establishing of the setting and all that stuff. It assumes you know where you are and why you’re here, etc. We don’t get all of the answers to our questions from The Belles in The Everlasting Rose, though - some things are left unexplained which makes me wonder if/when we’ll see book three…Either way, I’ll be waiting.
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**Thank you Net Galley for this free copy in exchange for an honest review.**
I read The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton earlier this year because she was coming to ReadUp Greenville (the local YA author’s conference).  The book definitely took some getting used to since it’s fantasy world takes a little getting used to.  However, as the story goes along, you do get sucked into Camille’s tale.

The Everlasting Rose continues the story where the last story left off.  On the run and hiding from beauty-obsessed Princess Sophia, Camille and her friends must find a way to try and stop Sophia’s reign of terror.  Camille is determined to find all her Belle sisters (girls who grew up with special talents—arcana—to change people looks and personalities) before they are abused by Sophia, who wants to control all beauty changes in the country.  But Camille cannot do it alone and reluctantly accepts help from the Spiders, an underground web of women who reject beauty treatments and want to purge the empire of it’s beauty obsession.

I think I liked this one more than the first only because it had more espionage and spying with the first book focusing more on setting up the fantasy world and it’s infatuation with beauty.  Camille, her sisters Amber and Edel, and her guard Remy are all wanted criminals, so their plotting and scheming to get away from Princess Sophia—who has eyes and ears everywhere—was interesting to see.  The one part that was a little bit of a let down was the ending.  It seemed rushed and hasty.  I still had many unanswered questions, but it feels like it could be the end of the series…maybe?

Overall, it was an enjoyable YA fantasy read.
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Dhonielle Clayton has created an extravagant world that is built on ideals of beauty to the extent that it is a form of power and privilege among its citizens. It is an extremely startling examination of a world obsessed with beauty, perfectionism, and luxury. If you want to know more about book one, then read my review for The Belles! (

The Everlasting Rose picks up three days after Camellia, Amber, and Rémy escape the palace and are now in the Spice Isles with Edel. They are desperately searching for Princess Charlotte – now recovered thanks to Camellia and Amber’s healing – so she can rightfully reclaim her throne and end Sophia’s reign of terror. Camellia is determined to make this happen by any means necessary. She soon realizes that she will need help to accomplish this goal. Camellia finds allies in The Iron Ladies, a rebel group that rejects beauty ideals, and in those she left behind when she was forced to flee. Armed with her powers, allies, and courage, Camellia is ready to have one final showdown with Sophia. 


•	I really enjoyed learning more about the history and origin of the Belles. It gave me a more clearer picture of who they are and why they are so revered in this world. We also see a couple of the Belles expand their abilities in ways that have never been done before. 
•	Since Camellia and her cohorts are on the run, we get to explore more of the Kingdom of Orléans. Each island is reflective of their trade. They have their own subculture of beauty and fashion trends, but are just as lavish as The Imperial Island. 
•	This duology is female dominated with a few male characters playing supporting roles. It’s women who are leading and changing Orléans. This feature helps the duology stand out from other YA fantasy novels. 
•	There is a romantic subplot in this story involving Camellia! It’s given little development, and some may feel like it’s insta-love, but it’s sweet and genuine. 
•	I wasn’t surprised by much in the first book, but this one definitely had moments I didn’t expect. I wasn’t prepared to say good-bye to some characters. 
•	The narrative is more evenly paced this time around. The plot moves quickly and kept me engaged throughout. 


•	The Iron Ladies are a great addition to the story, but I wish we had more time with them and their way of life. Their world is the complete opposite of what Orléans is like. This striking contrast would have been interesting to further explore. 
•	I have mixed feelings about the ending. The central plot is resolved, and if it was left at that I would have been satisfied. However, the epilogue reveals a very important development that raises questions about the future of Orléans. It definitely leaves an opening to continue telling this story. 

Final thoughts: The Everlasting Rose is a darkly alluring, high-stakes sequel full of surprises, new characters, and drama that has a thrilling and climatic end. 

Thank you to Disney Book Group/Freeform for sending us an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

* This review will be shared with our audience on March 5th. *
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The Belles are back!

The sequel drops the reader in shortly after the end of the first book where Camellia, Rémy, and Edel are running from Sophia and anyone she sends after them. The three seek to make contact with Princess Charlotte in hope she’ll take the throne from her sister and protect the lives of all living Belles and the future generations Sophia is growing. They may even meet some unlikely allies along the way.

This has become one of my favorite series overall. There were so many interesting events in this book, including the layered meaning of “the everlasting rose,” which revolves around Camellia, Arabella, and the history of Belles in Orléans. The writing continues to be beautiful and descriptive, but never droning or unnecessary. I never found myself bored with the story and I’m already impatient for the next part in the series. Ms. Clayton sure knows how to write a lovely book.
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After reading and loving the first book in this series, The Belles, I was thrilled to get an advance copy of The Everlasting Rose. It certainly did not disappoint. All of the characters that I loved from the first book made an appearance, and we got to dive deeper into the fascinating world of Orleans. 

Whereas the first book really painted the picture of what this world is like, the second was full of action and intrigue. We got to see more of the world itself, traveling between several of the various islands that make up the kingdom. Getting to travel to the different locales was fun because Clayton's writing makes the world come alive for her readers. In some books I find a lot of description tedious and unnecessary, but I absolutely love Clayton's prose. 

It was fun getting to dive deeper into the relationships that Camille has with those closest to her, mainly with Remy and Edel. Edel was spunky and impulsive, and it made for a very interesting dynamic between the two Belles. And Remy...I love him so. Getting to know him better and see the relationship between he and Camille grow was one of my favorite parts of this book. 

The threat of Sophia's tyrannical rule was ever-present...but also not quite as terrifying as the first book. I think the fact that for the majority of the book she is not physically present made it feel a little less unnerving for me than the first book was. She was still a terror, but not in the same way. 

I enjoyed the message that there should be less of an emphasis on outer beauty. It was subtle but powerful. I like when a moral issue isn't shoved in your face. This was done very well here. 

Overall, I really enjoyed The Everlasting Rose! It was fast paced, beautifully written, and a wonderful companion to the first book in the series. 

My Rating:
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2

I gave The Everlasting Rose 4.5 STARS! If you enjoyed The Belles, you will not want to miss this one!
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I really enjoyed the first book of this series and I was really excited when I got the ARC from NetGalley. The author's writing is amazing and can be lyrical at times. The characters are developed more in this book than in the first one, but the pacing does suffer due to that. 

I am a standalone kind of person and of course, I feel that the two books could have been on beautiful tome. I would remove the pricing charts for the procedures and some of the repetitive conversations. 

If you enjoyed the first book then I would recommend this one to you. You will not be disappointed.
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Clayton done did it again and made me fall in love with a beautiful, yet terrifying world. The world development was amazing along with the character developments. We get to see a new side to Orleans that was amazing to read about
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This is the sequel to The Belles which introduced us to a world that is obsessed with beauty and the belles who are able to alter based on their magical arcanes how you look. The favorite has run away and is determined to keep her sisters together and save the next generation from the tyrnanny of Sophia. Sophia is determined to drain the belles and control all aspects of beauty. She wishes that she can destroy her abilities and that the future generation would not have it. Their a special group called the Iron ladies who rejects beauty and who want to change the world to one that does not revolve around it. I have really enjoyed this series.
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My biggest issues with sequels is that they don't always live up to the hype or expectations that I've built in my head. However, Dhonielle Clayton has created a delicious sequel that perfectly concludes this series. I was so pleased with the pace and action in this book that I quickly devoured this tale. 

In The Everlasting Rose, we start out with Camille who has recently escaped Sophia's evil clutches is now scrambling for a plan to not only help free the Belles, but to bring an end to Sophia's cruel and corrupt reign. While Clayton has a knack for descriptive writing, the balance in this story between beautifully written scenes and action packed adventure is the perfect blend. I enjoyed many unexpected twist and turns in this novel, as well as the deeper themes that carryover in to our own societal issues. This book is especially great for teenage audiences who often struggle with image and societal demands. I loved the character storylines in this sequel.  Camille's transformation was completed in this series, which made all her other relationships and interactions so pleasurable to watch.  Overall I thought this was a wonderful conclusion to this duology and a story with a great message.
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*Review will post publicly on 2/27:

Will submit to Amazon 3/5

After the Belles I was thrilled that I was granted an ARC of Everlasting Rose. While there were parts I thoroughly enjoyed, there were more that fell flat.

First, I really thought Camille's story arc was amazing. She was no longer the bitter moping girl from most of The Belles. She was strong and ready to continue the path laid before her at the end of the first book. She knew what she must do and she was ready to do so no matter the cost. Camille had found her purpose and the strength to see it through.

Second, I loved that other groups and people rose up alongside Camille to set things right. A rebellion sympathizer group called The Iron Ladies and newspaper called The Spider's Web, her sister Edel and former bodyguard Remy (and her new beau but I will get to that in a moment).

The in-depth background and lore of how, and why Orleans became obsessed with beauty while zealots twisted the Belles into fitting their agenda is both powerful and insightful. Armed with this knowledge the metaphors into slavery  became more poignant as the outer facade of Orleans falls. 

Queen Sophia becomes hellbent on Belles being replicated, bought and sold to the highest bidder; enslaved for their magical abilities. 
Thereby, creating a structure of slavery and class oppression based on enhanced "beautification," and the demoralization of all natural born physical attributes.

Here is where the story left me wanting more. The Iron Ladies are a powerful group of women  with dogged determination but we just don't get enough of them or about them. "The Revolution is Here" is a captivating tagline for Everlasting Rose. The Iron Ladies encapsulate that resistance and yet their appearance feels too little, too late. 

Remy. I have no issue with the her bodyguard taking up arms in the rebellion against Queen Sophia. I even applaud the choice of a male figure that would do so. However, the romantic relationship with Camille takes away from the impact of his choice. Let his choice be because he see the egregious nature of what is happening and that alone. Nothing else should be the precipice for his choice. The relationship feels unnecessary and forced. I have said this recently in another review. Not every book needs a romantic relationship. Everlasting Rose is definitely one of them. The very theme of the book rails against the idea of it (not that women don't need romantic relationships, just not in this context). Let men stand and fight with women against this stereotype of beauty and the themes of how women are oppressed,  and classification. However, have men that lift them up soley out of belief and not lust or love.

Lastly, the pacing is way off. The majority of the book Camille is just wandering around looking for her sisters. I get it. She wants to protect them but at the sametime Queen Sophia and the wealthiest citizens are committing craven acts. a
At least bring in The Iron Ladies along the way or have her find them sooner, or something, anything. The way the plot unfolds Camille is just hiding out for a majority of the book. 

Once the action does start there isn't that much book left. The climax and resolution are incredibly rushed. It is underwhelming and disappointing. So much time is wasted up front that could have been used for this ultimate stand-off. 

There are so many things to like about Everlasting Rose that feel unfulfilled by a poor structure. I loved the Belles and ultimately and am glad I read Everlasting Rose. Anyone who loved the Belles will enjoy Everlasting Rose.

The timely themes around slavery, classification, society's value on beauty and the treatment of women everyday is reason enough to celebrate this duology.

Story wise, it will bring closure to the duology, the cliffhanger at the end of The Belles, and really allow everyone to cheer on Camille's growth overtime.
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The Everlasting Rose is an excellent sequel to last year's The Belles. Clayton once again creates this beautiful world with outstanding world building. It's impossible not to feel immersed in the story. The characters are strong and well-written. I dare you to try and pick a favorite! There is action, romance, and an addicting plot. Here's to hoping there is a third in the series. This has been an incredible ride so far. Highly recommend this series to anyone interested in fantasy and beautiful dresses (whether YA or not).
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While I really enjoyed the first book in this series, I found that The Everlasting Rose flew by and really held my attention. The world building is so amazing that it is easy to visualize everything that is happening. I loved the idea of post balloons and tea cup dragons!

The once naive Camille has found herself thrust into a position in which she must act and take ownership. What is not so obvious is who she can and should trust and what she can do to set things right in Orleans. The most obvious thing in the book is how harsh and unlikable Sophia is and how horrible life will be for everyone if she is left to rule. 

I liked how the The Spider's Web newspaper and The Iron Ladies were woven into the story as Camille's allies even though their methods were not the same and their traveling means were insane.

The Everlasting Rose does not disappoint!
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I received an Advanced Review Copy of The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton from the Publisher Disney Book Group through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is a sequel to The Belles, and you must read it before you read this (I loved the Belles which is why I couldn't wait to get my hands on this!) ALSO this review will assume you've read The Belles so proceed with caution

What It’s About: In Orleans people are born gray and crave beauty. The Belles are gifts from the God of Beauty and they give beauty through their treatment. When they are of age, they all get sent to the capital city where they show their talents and the queen decides on the favorite who will take care of the royals. However, things have changed and fallen apart. The former favorite, Camille, is now on the run after escaping from the evil Queen Sophia and is working to help the rightful Queen Charlotte to the throne before its too late. 

What I Loved: This story is what I love in a fantasy dystopian book, resistance to a crazy government and fighting the battle from the outside. This book has many twists and turns and I could not put it down. The villain is so evil but at the same time, she is relatable as we see what a society that stresses the importance of beauty can turn you into. Additonally, there are some badass females fighting back which is crucial for me. 

What I didn’t like so much: I didn't want it to end! I felt like I needed more closure and didn't want to leave the characters. 

Who Should Read It: People who like dystopian fiction. People who like strong female characters. People who want a unique dystopian plot. 

General Summary: A society's love of beauty threatens to be the thing that tears apart the whole country.
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Hm, where do I begin with this review. Overall, I enjoyed The Belles but thought that there could have been more time committed to the worldbuilding. The same could be said about The Everlasting Rose. This book opened up right on the heels of the drama in book one and it took me a bit of time to orient myself. The Everlasting Rose was an interesting conclusion but it's probably not one I would remember. A lot of the action happened off scene with barely any time dedicated to the villain who made such an impression on me in The Belles. There were some interesting analogies about slavery and the treatment of your fellow human being, but as a series it needed a bit more.
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I really enjoyed my read of this book. I will say it was a little harder for me to get into than the first one. However, that did not make this any less of a book! Once I got into the storyline again, I flew through the book to find out what would happen.
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Let me start this review by saying that The Belles was one of my absolute favorite reads of last year. It was a 5-star read. Hands down. I loved being launched into the world of The Belles in Orléans. I absolutely adored Camille Beauregard and couldn’t wait to continue her story. 

The Everlasting Rose picks up exactly where it left off in The Belles, which I really appreciated. I would like to first say that Dhionelle’s writing is absolutely beautiful. She describes scenes with such lush imagery that you are able to fully immerse yourself in her scenes. However, I was incredibly disappointed with the plot execution of this story and left wanting for that beautiful story that I first read with The Belles. 

This story revolves around Camille’s desperate search to find Charlotte, the heir to the throne of Orléans, who is the only one who can stop Sophie’s sadistic reign. Additionally, Camille must also track down her sisters, the other Belles, who were kidnapped following the falling out of the Belles versus Sophie. I honestly felt like the plot was meandering around trying to find the sisters, but not actually amounting to much action. Additionally, we weren’t offered any more character depth than that of the first book, which I was definitely longing for; especially when it came to Camille and Rémy. 

The last 20 percent of the book, when Camille and Sophie face-off, is incredibly intense and an absolute page-turning showdown. Nevertheless, I felt that because the plot took so long to build up to this integral moment, the rest of the story was incredibly rushed. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Books for providing an eARC of this book. This did not bias my review, and these opinions are entirely my own.

Rating: 3 stars
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The Everlasting Rose is the sequel to last year's The Belles. This story is set in a world where human kind is born grey skinned, red eyed, and overall miserable but the belles are a small group of girls who have the power to manipulate the human body and create beauty which becomes a commodity. 
I really enjoyed The Belles, I thought the world was really interesting and the magic was pretty cool as well but for me, this sequel was just kind of disappointing. Near the end, the main action and climax were really thrilling and exciting so I loved that part but the entire rest of the story just dragged me along until I finally got to that exciting moment. I was honestly kind of bored for most of the story and it felt like nothing was really happening. I didn't care about what they were doing and I found myself wanting to just get through the story to be done with it which is such a shame because I really hoped this would be an exciting conclusion to the story and it wasn't.
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I absolutely loved Belles!  I am so hypnotized by this creative world that the author has written.  The story continues and does not disappoint!
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