The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

Whoa, February, what happened to you? One minute, it was the first of the month, and now it’s…not. But I am definitely not sad that February is over, because that means March is right around the corner, and do you know how many good books are coming out in March?

This is only one of them.

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Title: The Everlasting Rose (The Belles #2) {352 pages}

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Summary:

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Rémy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orléans.

Review:

Unless you were living under a rock last year – and that’s no judgment, I get it, last year was a mess – then you’ve heard of The Belles. I don’t know how Dhonielle Clayton managed to fit so much gorgeousness into one book, but she did, and she did it beautifully. Quick recap: The country of Orléans lives for the Belles, beautiful young woman whose job is to make the gris – people born with gray skin – into whatever they want, as long as they can pay for it. Camille Beauregard wants to be the Favorite, the best Belle of them all and the personal Belle of the queen. Camille eventually gets what she wants, but it’s not what she expected, and while falling in love and dodging a crazy queen-in-training, Camille finds herself in the middle of a deep conspiracy surrounding the crown. She manages to escape with a few of her sisters and Rémy, a palace guard.

Which brings us to The Everlasting Rose.

Camille is trying any way she can to find her sisters and to right the wrongs that she has committed. She also wants to take down Sophia before she can declare her sister dead and take the throne for herself. Along the way, Camille learns of heartbreak and love, of deception and truth, of broken bonds and true loyalty. She must learn how to stand on her own two feet before she can save the entire world.

The Everlasting Rose is a lot darker, description-wise, than The Belles, and that makes sense. Camille is going through a lot, and she doesn’t have a lot of down time. She’s running all over the country searching for her sisters and trying to avoid capture, and so I didn’t expect a lot of mouthwatering descriptions of the delicious food that they all eat. But Dhonielle Clayton manages to sneak in a few pieces of chocolate and pies into Camille’s busy schedule.

Really, though, I was more invested in trying to figure out who to trust. I love Edel – even from the last book – but it was so difficult to see these characters in the same light as I did in The Belles. No one was who they seemed, and that was an important part to Camille’s growth. She had relied on her sisters and her mothers for so long that she didn’t know what to do if she was left alone. She had to grow up before she could become what she wanted to be.

I have no comments about Camille and Rémy, because if I start talking about them, this will turn into a giggle fest, and we can’t have that.

But for reals, how adorable were they? Like, those two took care of each other, and they did what was best for the other. When Rémy was in a tough spot, there wasn’t even a moment of hesitation before Camille risked everything to save him. Did this love come out of nowhere? Sure, a bit. But not when you’re me, and you were winking at the both of them throughout The Belles.

I guess my only complaint would be how rushed the ending felt. Camille gets close enough to Sophia, and then a whole slew of problems arise at the same time. But they’re solved within a few pages, and I wish that more time had been given to some, like Amber and Camille. I was honestly invested in their relationship, because they felt the most like real sisters, and when they finally came face to face again, it was just…I guess anticlimactic? This might be the revenge part of me, but I wanted more suffering. Camille had been through so much and when she finally gets what she wants, it’s so quick.

I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy and I just needed the absolute revenge because that’s what Camille deserved.

The ending didn’t take anything away from the book. It’s a strong sequel, and I’m not sure if this was the last of the Belles, but I really hope not. There’s too much to be done now, and I would hate for Camille’s story to be over. So, fingers crossed for a third one, but if there’s not, you know, I can use my imagination. But it won’t be as pretty as Dhonielle Clayton’s writing.