For the year 2018 I thought I would step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to read a genre new to me. Not knowing where to turn or how to begin this new journey, I took to Youtube and Bookstagram for inspiration and after watching many book hauls, book reviews and lurking on many Bookstagram pages, I chose fantasy. I mean, I enjoy watching movies of magic and mystical powers and enchanted universes, why not read about them.
To kick-off my new adventure I chose a YA fantasy, The Belles by Dhionelle Clayton. I'm going to forego the synopsis because I'm sure many of you have already read it, so I'll begin my review.
TWs: sexual assault, gay killing, body shaming.
One of the reasons I wanted to read this novel was because of the captivating cover. Beautifully detailed, I was anxious to begin reading. The vibrant map on the inside of the cover is an extra bonus.
The author poured out her heart and soul on every page. From the picturesque surroundings, to the kaleidoscopic garments, mystical creatures and delectable cuisines, I took pleasure imagining all that was taking place. However, many times throughout the book the descriptions were overpowering and the moment dragged on.
Powerful characterization from the author and with each character's mannerism, I experienced a different emotion. Annoyance, anger, empathy just to name a few. I'd love to have read more building up of some characters and less of others.
Although the plot was interesting and intriguing, it didn't draw me in right away. It was a slow start due to the overly detailed paragraphs and I didn't become involved until the middle of the book. At times the story lacked balance. Some parts of the story dragged and some parts were rushed. The subplot was a nice added a touch of mystery.
I'm glad I chose Dhonielle Clayton's YA fantasy novel, The Belles, as a new genre for me to explore. Inside there's magic and fascination, but the author also touches on body shaming, how one perceives beauty and the depth people endure to achieve it.