Cover Image: Belle Révolte

Belle Révolte

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Emilie, a noble lady whose greatest dream is to become a surgeon, and Annette, a peasant girl who just wants to learn what her magic can do, share a strange bond. They look strikingly similar. They come up with a wild scheme to switch places, Emilie to become a physician’s assistant and Annette to take Emilie’s place at a finishing school. But before long they are caught up in the midst of a war, a rebellion, and a dark secret that could shake the very foundation of their land.
I was super excited when I heard about this book. A French-inspired magical fantasy with rebellions and strong female friendships and an ace character?? Sign me the heck up!
But the more I read, the less excited I became. Half the time I had to stop reading and try to figure out what was going on and the other half I was wondering why I was supposed to care about these characters. Like seriously, they have no personality and absolutely no qualities about them that I could like. And the world was surprisingly flat and undeveloped. (and why wasn’t there a ball?? I need my masquerade balls they give me life)
I had so many (so many) questions while reading this book and it really yanked me out of the reading experience. (I wish I had written my questions down while I was reading because as soon as I finished I forgot every thought I ever had *sigh*)
I seriously considered DNFing this book but I didn’t because I was just interested enough to see how it ended.
Okay, I hate being negative all the time so what did I like?
-Emilie and Annette’s friendship (and basically all the female friendships in this book 👌)
-All! The! Queer! Characters! Charles is trans. Annette is asexual. Coline is a lesbian/bisexual. Yvonne is a lesbian/bisexual. Brigitte is a lesbian/bisexual.
-The romantic relationships were pretty well done (especially a certain competitive couple that I absolutely adored *cough* *cough*)
-The magic was interesting because of what it did to you. The whole time I was wondering why anyone would ever use magic if it literally ate your skin away. But then I thought if I had magic I sure as hell would use it and damn the consequences lol
-I love loved how they/them pronouns were used for everybody until otherwise informed.
-When Annette used divination to help her friends in a fight !!! It was badass and epic. I just wish we’d gotten to see more of her being a badass.
-AND THAT COVER IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I HAVE LAID EYES ON
-I loved the idea of hacks and how the nobles used them to channel magic without hurting themselves.
Unfortunately, that’s about it. Don’t get me wrong, there were some enjoyable moments in the book and sometimes the characters were okay, but overall it was a pretty meh book.
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Set in a magical decidedly French-like world, wealthy Emilie swaps places with commoner Annette in a word that divides magic by both sex and class. The swap initially permits both girls to learn the magic they wanted (Annette the Midnight Arts, which she was too poor to access and Emilie the mostly male Daylight Arts where a lowborn girl can at least get a job as an expendable hack), but both are rapidly drawn into the revolution that threatens to upend the monarchy. The cast of characters are diverse in ethnicity, sexuality, and gender but the gore is at times a bit much. Despite the publisher's claim that this is a "stand alone" novel, it's pretty clear at least a sequel is on the way,
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Belle Révolte is an interesting idea that suffers from a lack of clear plotting and character development.  Simply put, I did not care about most of the players in this story of magical education and internal political revolution.  

This story is told in dual POVs of two women who swap places so that each can attend the magic school of their choice.  One of the women is a royal and one is a commoner (this really doesn't matter ultimately, as neither of the reveals is particularly eventful) and both are extraordinarily strong at their perspective magic preference.  A revolution against the monarchy is on the cusp of exploding and the King decides to go to war with a neighboring country as a distraction.  Lots of bloody, gross stuff happens.  

Unfortunately, none of the characters in this story were particularly intriguing.  Twists were pretty predictable and the tension was just oddly flat.  Ultimately, I didn't care too much about this story and its conclusion.  There were a few scenes of interest but they were way too few and far between.  I would probably recommend this book to someone looking for a YA book that's lighter on romance with a bunch of magic, gore, and political machinations.
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Though it took a little while to get into the book and I definitely preferred Annette's point of view over Emilie's, I certainly enjoyed this very much. I think this is a book that's going to do very well in the book market.
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A solid start to a promising series. Characters come alive between the lines, the setting sparkles and intrigues. A fresh plot packing twists will cement this book on many favorites shelves.
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I’m grateful that Linsey Miller created bold, confident female characters for her novel BELLE RÉVOLTE. In this gripping YA fantasy, two young women refuse to be trapped in the roles assigned to them by class and gender, and swap places and identities, pursuing studies in magic and medicine that better suit their passions. There is political intrigue, and war caused by dark magic, but I liked best the central theme of two smart, talented young women seizing the chance to prove their worth.
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I kind of believe the beggining was going to fast like "hey we've just met but do you want to trade life with me?" but the more I read the book the more I was loving the world and how magic was used. I really loved the relationship between Emilie and Annette and how their friendship grew stronger everytime.
As a french person, I loved reading a french inspired fantasy!  I will definitely check out more of the author's work.
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Belle Révolte is a fantasy novel featuring two women who swap lives to follow their dream of studying in different fields of magic. Emilie wants nothing more than to become a physician, to be more than the noble lady her mother has been forcing her to be all her life. Annette wants nothing more than to be trained in magic, and to show her family that she is stronger than they believe she is, and that she was born to study the ways of divination.

In a world where mostly men get to train to become physicians, and where only the nobles get higher, safer positions in their chosen field, these girls must fight obstacle after obstacle to gain the recognition they deserve. It was a pleasure to watch them learn and grow in their field, and to see them crush any doubt that they were just as strong as their peers.

This book has everything I love in a fantasy novel. It has great characters, it has magic, it has world-building, and it has the twists that keep me from putting down the book. I was intrigued from the start. 

My favorite part of the book was the relationship between Annette and Emilie. From the start they needed to put a level of trust in each other that most people would not be able to do. And that trust? It grew as months went by, as they realized that this is where they belong, and if not for the other girl, they would have never been able to achieve it. They protected each other so fiercely. I fell in love with their relationship instantly. Annette and Emilie were like lost sisters reconnecting for the first time. It was a pleasure watching their relationship grow. 

There was also romance in the book, for both characters, and I did love watching their relationships blossom to something more - but the friendship between all of the characters was still my favorite part. They found family in each other, and it just melted my heart.

The other side characters, from Charles, Coline and Yvonne, to even the small amount of time we got to see the Kalthorne artists, all intrigued me. While it did end on a good note, and this could be left as a standalone novel, I would not mind another book in this series. Especially if it has more about the Kalthorne people. 

A great book. I will definitely be going back to check out more of Linsey Miller's work.
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