Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

The Everlasting Rose

39080472

Title: The Everlasting Rose

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Performer: Rosie Jones

Length: 10 hr, 19 min, 4 sec

Series: The Belles

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2019 by Blackstone Publishing

Format: eAudiobook

Review: After being completely enthralled by The Belles, I was very excited to check out this audiobook.  I eagerly waited weeks for my turn in the holds queue and when I finally got it, well I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t nearly as good as The Belles.  I still enjoyed it immensely – the author really has a poetic way with words and I could listen to the reader to all day.  Rosie Jones could narrate the dictionary and I probably wouldn’t be able to stop gushing about her talent.

Unlike the first book, the plot of this book is incredibly drawn out.  The first 80% of the book was essentially just Camille evading capture, and it didn’t get really juicy until the end.  Although Sophia is still the villain of this story, she was only present from afar for most of the book.  Part of what really made the first book special was her direct role in the plot development.

The conclusion of this book was very satisfying.  I was actually a bit surprised when I saw on Goodreads that there is a third book scheduled to be released sometime next year.  Perhaps it will focus on another character?  It really felt like Camille’s story was wrapped up nicely, and there were not a lot of loose ends, if any, left to be addressed.  All I know is that I will definitely be checking it out, because I enjoyed this world well enough to be immersed in it a little longer.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Young Adult

The Belles

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Title: The Belles

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Performer: Rosie Jones

Length: 13 hr, 2 min, 45 sec

Series: The Belles, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Blackstone Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This book knocked my socks off.  I have been eyeing it for some time due to the beautiful cover art, but kept passing it over in favor of other fantasy novels.  That was my mistake, because this book blew me away with it’s originality and spectacular character development.  Camellia is not by any means a perfect heroine, and this makes her all the more relatable.  The antagonist of the story made my skin crawl, and was a total psychopath. This made for a very interesting story chock full of political intrigue, manipulation, and mystery.

What I find truly fascinating about this book, and what really sets it apart in my mind, is the author’s commentary on beauty through the story.  Beauty standards are fickle and ever changing in today’s world, and it is no different here.  All over the world people are obsessed with achieving impossible standards of beauty, and are never satisfied because beauty is perceived differently by everyone.  This is reflected in the world Clayton has created, where physical appearance can be changed in a matter of minutes, but at great personal and financial cost.  People are constantly changing their appearance to match changing beauty trends and endure a great deal of physical pain to make it happen.  The parallels this draws to real life make this a wholly believable story despite its fantastical elements.

I deducted a half star from my rating because there were a couple things that I did not feel were fully explained, but these minor plot hiccups may very well be ironed out in the second book in the series.  I have already requested it from the library and look forward to listening to it.

The performer for this story was perfection.  She easily ranks as one of my top favorite readers after listening to this performance.  I can’t wait to hear her in other works.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star