2018’s The Belles is the first book in Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles secondary-world fantasy series.
Orléans is a hermit monarchy, isolated from the rest of the world. The autocratic Queen Celeste Elisabeth the Third rules with a heavy hand: harsh penalties for the disobedient and lavish rewards for the faithful.
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle, gifted with the magical power to change bodies at will. Belles control beauty in appearance-obsessed Orléans and the Queen controls the Belles.
Sixteen-year-old Camellia, fresh out of training, is desperate to be named the Queen’s favourite. But she hasn’t been desperate enough to follow the rules set out for Belles and her sister Amber becomes the new favorite.
Camellia is bitterly disappointed. There are, as Camellia will soon learn, far worse things in Orléans than disappointment.