Cover Image: Belle Révolte

Belle Révolte

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Member Reviews

2 1/2 Stars

While I liked the two main characters and appreciated the diversity in the book, I struggled to finish due to the awkward pacing and underdeveloped and confusing magic system. I was so excited about this book, but sadly it just wasn’t for me.
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Belle Révolte pulled me in several different directions. The things it did well it did VERY well, but the things it lacked went down hard, and I'm torn between loving it and being indifferent with no in-between to compromise on.

Let’s start with the things it did well!

1. The stakes. Linsey Miller really went out there and made “sacrifice” real. I was genuinely worried for the lives of both of the POV characters, and I felt the deaths in this book harder and more emotionally than any book characters’ deaths in other books for a really long time. They were real. They were brutal. There was no getting out of them. There were no happy endings for the people who deserved them. Annette and Emilie both had to sacrifice their magic and some of their health and well-being at the end, and I was impressed.

2. The representation. As I mentioned, there’s ace rep, but also lesbian, bi, trans, and non-binary representation as well, all done smoothly and casually despite some characters still keeping parts of their sexual and gender identities secret. It was never a big deal, which I appreciated.

3. The character relationships. I loved Laurence and Estrel both by themselves (especially Laurence) and their relationship, as well as Charles and Emilie’s relationship (once Emilie started working with Charles and I could manage to pick out Charles from the other characters). I like how Emilie and Annette wrote letters to each other and became close (as we see in the end, especially) even though they barely knew each other in person. I appreciated the storyline with Emilie’s mother and how she, Emilie’s perception of her, and her perception of Emilie changed and evolved throughout. More generally, I loved the consent between any of the romantically involved characters, who kept asking before kissing.

4. The themes. Sacrifice and privilege, especially, but also self-confidence and self-image. Friendship. The cost of revolution. There were some lines and sections that had me nodding my head, brow furrowed in respect, because the themes I don’t often see touched on were elaborated upon very well.

Things I thought it didn’t do as well:

1. The magic system. By the end, I understood that the midnight and noonday arts were a spectrum and each had different strengths, and that they wear the user out. That’s about it. Throughout, I was highly confused with how each of the girls and everyone else were using the arts, and how powerful they were and how they affected others. I was also especially confused with the midnight arts. I’m not sure if this was just because it’s an ARC, but scrying and divining both sometimes seemed to be used as a blanket term for divination AND scrying, and Annette kept claiming to not be able to divine but then… willfully and knowledgeably divining? I was also unclear if Emilie ended up knowing how to scry or not, and at what point it happened if so. Reading became a much more enjoyable experience once I stopped trying to understand the magic and just understood that "magic was happening and here’s the stuff it’s able to do in this particular instance they are using it".

2. The plot. The book took a different look at revolution, which I appreciated, but the pacing seemed incredibly off, and many of the things that happened seemed either highly unlikely, out of the blue, out of place, or just plain confusing. While the tandem ending scenes were certainly dramatic, they seemed… convenient, almost, or weird that these events were the deciding factors when so much else was happening. It was also less (or at least differently) political than other political fantasies. As with the magic system, things got better once I just stopped trying to sort out the inconsistencies and just let it happen, suspending my disbelief on a high shelf. However, there were several twists, betrayals, and reveals that surprised me that I enjoyed! And once I hit perhaps the 75% mark, I couldn't put it down, despite it seeming to drag endlessly before that.

3. The characters. I know I put character relationships in the "things done well" section above, and I stand by that. I also stand by the fact that some of the characters were well-developed! However, I wasn’t able to tell most of them apart for a good 75% of the book. I finally saw the main differences between Annette and Emilie perhaps a little before 50% of the way through (their voices were very similar). Most of Annette’s friends were indistinguishable from one another, and I confused the names of all the physician people besides Emilie herself, Rainer, and Madeline until I sorted out a few more around 75% and was still confused about the rest. There were… a lot of characters.

In summary: Glad I read it, but probably would not read again, or recommend, unless I get word that the finished copy has somehow fixed the plot and magic inconsistencies. Good representation, and good portrayal of themes, especially of sacrifice and privilege! I was just so confused the entire time.
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When I heard about this book, I was excited. Magic, ace+trans+queer rep, and overthrowing a corrupt government...what’s not to love about all of that?

The side characters were by far the most interesting parts of this book, and I wish we'd gotten to see more of them, to understand who they were on a deeper level. I liked the concept of the magic, and how the characters used it, and I liked that so many of them had different connections with either the noonday or midnight arts. Above all, I just really liked Laurence, and I wanted to see so much more of him.

I so wish I could say I loved this book because the whole way through, I could see how it might have been great if everything got a little deeper or were more organized. As it was, the whole thing felt contrived and unnatural.

Most of what happened just wasn’t something I could see as plausible, even from the beginning when Emilie looks out a carriage window and is like “wow, that girl looks vaguely like me, let me just jump out and switch lives with her!” There was no buildup, either to events or to character relationships, no consistency between what the characters said vs. what actually happened. It made for a confusing and inconsistent narrative.

The plot felt like it dragged and moved too fast at the same time, like all of the emphasis was in the wrong places. There was very little development from one event to the next, people seemed to die just to kill them off and not out of plot relevance, and you don’t really see the two narrators taking very active roles in where they are. A huge part of the plot is supposed to be that they’ve switched places, but you end up almost forgetting that they’re connected at all, and we don’t see them learning much about what they’re supposed to be learning at their respective schools.

The characters were even more frustrating than the plot. The relationships were poorly developed, the dialogue unnatural, and so many reactions and events felt cliché. Most of the time, the narrators reacted to difficult situations by sobbing, and no one seemed to actively do much to move the story along. The most interesting characters died before we got to delve into who they were, and the ones who should have been interesting weren’t.

The magic system felt disorganized, and there wasn’t much sense as to why it affected people the way it did, nor was it presented in a way that I could suspend disbelief and just go with it. But as far as I could tell, this was a running theme in this book. I like stories where the author doesn’t spoon feed every detail and allows the reader to infer things, but this felt like the author assumed the reader would be able to infer too much, so the details were incomplete.

I love the concept of this book. I love the idea. I love the potential. But I wanted more. I wanted to connect and love the characters and their journeys, and unfortunately, the execution of the story fell flat for me. Still, there was something that kept me reading to the end, and while I'm not sure whether it was hope that the story would improve or some attachment to the characters, it was sort of like a background read—something I didn't give my full attention, but that I didn't feel right stopping midway.
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I’m starting to really appreciate a good standalone but sometimes you need just a bit more. 

“Belle Révolte” sees two young women desperate to make a name for themselves as they meet by chance and manage to switch places so one can go to school and by a physician and the other can train in the arts to strengthen her magic but when whispers of a rebellion enters both of their lives they are forced to make hard choices to protect those they have come to love. 

I really love the representation in this book and how it never seemed like it was there for points and I couldn’t have loved the characters more as they played off each other both romantically and platonically and how they took the time to have those conversations that really helped flesh out their characters and let the audience know that this is who they are and it wasn’t going to be forgotten after a few pages. 

Looking to the larger themes I think the ideas were great and the magic system interesting but there was a lot was crammed in here that I think could have been handled better if this was a duology especially once we started getting into the climax it would have been nice for things to slow down a bit before crashing into the epilogue, there was even a point where I stopped to check if this was a spin off where the world was part of a different series just because it seemed like it would give us a good amount of info in some sections only to rush through others like most spin offs do as they assume diehard fans know everything and the author doesn’t want to bore them but it’s not too much exposition to scare off a new reader. 

Overall I think this was a good book and definitely one I’d recommend, there were great moments of compassion, humor, betrayal and bloodshed to make it memorable though it might be one you find more appreciation for after a couple rereads. 

**special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**
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Belle Revolte is a re imagining of prince and the pauper In an elemental magical world.  It's french inspired and set a time   not yet  in the French revolution of a country called Demeine. Emilie and Anette are the nobility and pauper stand ins.
Emilie desperately wants to be a good force to the world and be trained and use the noon arts but she's forbidden to. She's girl of nobility, lower ranking but still of nobility and is not allowed. Ladies should be proper and not harm their bodies with strong labour. The switch happens on the ride to the school her mother attended in her youth . The another narrator, Annette is introduced at this point.

I love how the magic is split equally  between the Lord Sun and Mistress Moon.  Illusionary arts are moon based and the noon day arts sun based.  Power drawn from Lord Sun is stronger and more fickle. Immense amounts of power is required to change the world through the fighting and healing Arts. Magic always comes with a price and extreme use can lead to an early died of all the ravages to the body 

While illusions,  scrying and divinations  belong to Mistress Moon.   It a safer and slower burn couldn't change the world.

I have to address my complaints with this title . The beginning 60 pages were a bore to read . It picks up the after page 70. I do have to say Emilie and Annette got me through it. Although their voices sounds similar I grew attacked to the girls and the bond they shared. I did love the lore and magic system but I think Fantasy of manners or similar fantasy fiction isn't for me. I liked parts but sadly I have to say this book wasn't for me and thus gave it a 3/5.
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I enjoyed the alternating points of view and the story line.   Overall, this was a good story that will be appreciated by some of my students due to the inclusive nature of the story.  Thank you netgalley!
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Belle Révolte is a book about girls changing the world, following their dreams, and fighting a system of exploitation. It's a book full of hope, sacrifice, and power. Belle Révolte is a book about ambition. The ways society wants to limit what we can do because of our gender or economic status. It features Annette, a biromantic ace spectrum magical MC, a talented girl who yearns to be seen. It's a dual POV book which also features Emilie a girl rebelling against the conventions of what her class and family expect of her. She's driven and wants to use her magic to be a physician. In a world that doesn't expect much from either Emilie or Annette, their ambitions and heart will end up changing more than just their world.

I have a soft spot for girls who live in a society that doesn't expect anything of them. They are the ones who shine despite blankets of darkness and disbelief. The limitations of being a woman, what we are worth to the world, family, to our future. Escaping gilded cages of society and decorum. I loved Annette and Emilie. Annette for the ways she is driven by what is right, even when she's in a precarious position in a castles of her dreams. Emilie for her commitment to science combined with her compassion for people.
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This book had wonderful fantasy elements along with relatable content between the two main characters. I love how they swap lives. Its a fantastical Parent Swap like story that kept me reading until the end. 

Review will be live on Book Confessions of an ExBallerina Blog on 1-3-20
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Belle Révolte got off to very rock start for me. There was so much going on from the first pag, but I felt that none of it was explained properly. Most of the explanations came much further into the story, which left me grasping for straws in the beginning. I almost DNF’ed because I felt so lost. Because of this I also felt the story was very non-memorable. I had difficulties commiting any names and occurences to memory and didn’t feel pulled into the story at all.

After a while, thankfully, it got bette rand also easier to understand. Things start becoming clearer and the pace of the story picked up as well. There was mor eaction as opposed tot he beginning, which was mostly world and character building. At this point the story gripped me and I no longer felt the need to DNF, so I’m glad I stuck it out. 

The plot mainly focuses on two girls: Annette and Emilie. Emilie is a lady and she is forced to go to school by her mother to study the Midnight Arts, even though she much prefers to learn about the Noonday Arts. These, however, are not fit for a lady. While walking up to her new school Emilie encounters Annette, who resembles her slightly. She then decides to offer up her place at the Midnights Arts school to Annette, who is to pretend to be Emilie, and she goes off to another university herself. While the two girls keep up this charade, the country enters a war and a group of rebel forces arise, which makes everything a million times more complicated.

The idea of the story is great in my opinion, however I do feel that it had to be written out more carefully and with more detail to actually make an impact. I have to say, though, that I might be a little biased since I just finished The Priory of the Orange Tree, which has one of the most detailed worlds and characters I’ve ever read about. My expectations might have been a little too high after that.
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This book is a standalone fantasy that has magic, societal expectations and a revolution.  

The writing in the book was easy to read and I found that the world-building was good for a standalone. However that pacing was off a little and the ending felt rushed when compared to the pacing of the rest of the book. The multiple POV also took m some getting use to but eventually I got into it. 

There are two types of magic in the book, the midnight arts and the noonday arts.
Midnight Arts - illusions, scrying and divination. It is classed as female magic and is supposedly the weaker magic.
Noonday Arts - healing and fighting. It is classed as male magic and is stronger. 
The magic in the book is great and I really liked the magic system. I also liked how magic had consequences and could ware the body out if it was used too much. We get to see different magic schools and I always enjoy a fantasy with a magic school. 

I also enjoyed the revolution part of the book and the fighting that happened. The revolution is run by the mysterious Laurel and I loved the mystery surrounding them and who they really are. It seems the majority of characters are associated with Laurel or are fully against Laurel. 

The characters are numerous and some of them weren't fleshed out which I can accept from a standalone. The main character is Emilie who wants to be a physician which means she has to learn the noonday arts but as she is from the upper class, she is expected to learn the midnight arts. She hates corsets and dresses too which I related to a little. The other main character is Annette who is poor and wishes to learn the midnight arts. She agrees to swap places with Emilie and Annette is also asexual. The two main characters have numerous side characters as friends. 

One of the greatest things about this book is that it has diverse characters and relationships. We have asexual representation, a trans character and also a couple of f/f relationships. I really enjoyed the relationships in the book. 

Overall I enjoyed this book and I would recommend reading it if you like magic, revolution and YA fantasy.
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I wanted to love it, but it also tried cramming way too much into it and that really took away some of the enjoyment for me. 

Also, I should mention that I had read nothing by the author prior to this and found the description to be intriguing and was not expecting LGBTQ representation; ,which was cool, but maybe should have been mentioned before?
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Intriguing concept when it comes to the magical components of the story.  Loved the use of differences between noonday and midnight magic.  I enjoyed the story and characters for the most part.  The main characters had some good development going on but I felt as if there was little done with any of the other characters especially those who also played a big role in the plot.
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It was alright. There were many pacing issues, although I did find myself to be able to look past them at times. The characters were okay, but they weren't anything memorable. I could remember maybe 2 names off the top of my head, and even then I barely remember their characteristics. They didn't leave an impression on me, and that's what I believe helped get me to rate this what I did
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I loved Linsey’s writing in Mask of Shadows so I knew I had to request this when I saw it. I love any sort of French inspired books as well so this fit the bill!

Switching places is a little bit of a trope in recent media but I felt like this was organic and well done: I was drawn in from the first page and enjoyed every second of reading it.

We have two main characters who both get their own POV chapters that alternate: Emelie and Annette. It feels sort of like the princess switch if you’ve ever since that movie on Netflix but the girls have magic involved as well as a rebellion.

My favorite part about this book is the inclusion of an asexual character. This is so important in teen/young adult books and I was glad to see how plain language gave breath to this orientation.
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A bloody and rollicking good time, Belle Revolte is the next biggest thing in YA literature! With a compelling story line and fascinating characters, this book follows Emilie and Annette exchange places in an attempt to live the lives they always wanted. However, when a war breaks out, they must band together to uncover the truth before its too late. This is a book great for fans of vivid world building and magical systems like the Shadow and Bone series!

A special thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I liked the characters in this book, & the plot. The overall concept was good, however about halfway through the book it became dry. It seemed to drag on for quite a while & honestly make me wish it would be over soon. I didn't appreciate all the lesbian kissing  that went on either. If there had been a warning about it before hand I wouldn't have been so upset. Plus I wouldn't have wanted to read it! The risks they took for the causes they believed in as they developed as characters was exciting. I enjoyed the friendships that came out of this adventure. SPOILER ALERT: I was glad they were able to overthrow the aristocracy. I hated the fate of Emilie, especially having to change careers because of it. I hope she learns what love is soon. I don't know how much longer Charles can wait. I found the following errors that need to be corrected.
I read these on my Kindle Fire, so I will give you the location, sentence & my correction suggestions.
Location  82; You have so many more opportunities than the girls of your past, than other girls now , and it is insult to refuse them.” (Add "an" before insult).
Location 213; “Like His Majesty would every pay up,” someone else shouted. (Change every to, "ever".
Location 596; Arden was a northern place of forests and hills in the Segance province, and it bordered the shores of the the Pinch, where our island of Demeine 
came closest to touching our neighbor Kalthorne. (Delete the first "the" before Pinch).
Location 3344; “Would you like place a bet as to what sort of artists they were?” (Add "to" before place).
Location 3465; That’s how I feel about sex and attraction (There is no period after this sentence).
Location 3503; “That was even a very in there.” (Change That to "There").
Location 4332; Laurence stood next her, looming, the bored expression on his face angering His Majesty until the end of his speech was pitchy and fast. (Add "to" before her).
Location 4371; “If he still thinks we’re the biggest threats and the Laurels are weak without us, he has another think coming.” (Change think to "thing").
Location 4564; I have might have gone through your room looking for anything that could help.” (Delete the "have"before might).
Location 4675; And whatever came next, we would be enough for too. (Delete "for").
Location 4950; No would save me. (Add "one" after No).
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Magic was the only thing that wanted me.


Holy magic system.

This was so much more fierce (and bloody) than I expected but I loved it! A real highlight that lands it on my Inspiration shelf was the creative and gorgeously-described application of the magic systems. This one definitely doesn't wait for you to catch up and the middle got a bit dizzying and tangled, but I can forgive it thanks to that stellar climax.

I loved the main characters - only problem I think would be that I loved them both because they were...so similar to me, but maybe that's just my worst enemy, first person POV swaps, coming back to haunt me - and the overall convenience of the set-up. Because of this, it probably would have done me some good to write notes on the TONS of side characters.

Regardless, this was a strong stand-alone fantasy that swept me away. Every single time we got into a gritty explanation of the magic I was so immersed. My favourite kind of nearly lawless, chaotic magic. And it had a lot of powerful things to say about the world's politics and monarchy as well.
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** spoiler alert ** 2.5/5 stars

It was alright. There were many pacing issues, although I did find myself to be able to look past them at times. The characters were okay, but they weren't anything memorable. I could remember maybe 2 names off the top of my head, and even then I barely remember their characteristics. They didn't leave an impression on me, and that's what I believe helped get me to rate this what I did. I liked the magic that was here, and I did find the multiple POV to work well for the overall plot. I was iffy on the beginning, sort of liked the middle, and just thought the end was a bit messy for my liking. The ending feels rushed, problems get solved too easily, and even the epilogues don't give me any sense of satisfaction over the events of the book. A HUGE problem, one I wished would've been seen through, was reversed in just a short sentence. It was too easy to fix things. When another big issue came up in the last pages, filling said character with worry, it all just got resolved in the blink of an eye. It never felt fulfilling to have things fixed without have the sense that the characters worked for it. I was honestly just so frustrated.

ARC provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved the idea of this book and that it is a standalone novel The first couple chapters were intriguing but after that I had a hard time staying interested. The plot felt flat and the character development was lacking. The magic system was interesting though. I was really hoping for more from this book but it was just an average read for me.
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Hmmm. 

I am a fan of Linsey Miller and jumped at the chance to read and review an ARC of her latest novel. 

It’s refreshing to have a standalone fantasy narrative rather than buying into a trilogy or long series. Also, I enjoyed the way Miller handled magic; it was different to other fantasy novels and that, in itself, is an achievement. 

However. 

I found the character development lacking. The two protagonists, who pull off a switcheroo, aren’t sufficiently different so it was the setting that told me whether or not I was with Emilie or Annette. Moreover, I agree with other reviewers who have argued the plot was quite flat. I felt it picked up a little when the war commenced but, in essence, I’ve seen the classism, magic division and revolution before. 

I’m glad I read it but it was a slog and took me a couple of weeks because I kept leaving it and returning to it as a duty.
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