3 reasons The Belles: The Everlasting Rose makes a good sequel read


The Everlasting Rose not only expands the world of The Belles, but follows naturally from its original novel. Here’s why you should pick it up.

The Belles dropped a year ago, letting Dhonielle Clayton introduce readers to Orléans — a French-influenced world where beauty is the real currency. But while the cover of that novel is done in soft colors, its sequel, The Everlasting Rose, is rendered in much darker colors, with the title appearing in gold and some of the letters crumbling down.

As we’ve already talked about this week, sequels and series can be tough to do, but for the most part, if you liked The Belles, you’ll like what The Everlasting Rose does and won’t be disappointed in where the story goes — and ends.

Still not sure you should pick it up? Here are three ways we found this book to be a satisfying sequel.

The stakes are meaningfully higher

Camille still remains the narrator through the entire book, but instead of being limited to the palace, she gets to travel all over Orléans in search of her fellow Belles and a missing, but very necessary princess.

If you’ll recall, Princess Sophia is what we could charitably call a piece of work, and now that the throne is in sight, she’s worse. Clayton wisely holds back on showing her often, though, focusing on Camille’s journey and the new people she meets along the way. Sophia is almost ludicrously evil, so this is for the best all around.

But because Sophia is so terrible, and now that she’s unchecked, things do not go smoothly for Camille. Clayton makes sure that the escalation continues throughout the book, although we shan’t spoil how or why.

Expanding the world

Orléans has a lot going for it, but Camille’s world is quite limited in The Belles. The Everlasting Rose forces her to go outside of the areas she already knows, letting Clayton fully show the breadth of her imagination when it comes to worldbuilding. The different islands each have unique characteristics, and what works on one may not on another when it comes to careful disguises.

However, the different parts of the kingdom still feel consistently part of the overall world, instead of just seeming stapled together for the sake of having different concepts. Additionally, we get to see other levels of society, including actual outcasts. Since this is a relatively short novel, and because the plot demands it, Clayton does have to keep things moving, but there’s just enough to get some flavor for each place.

More of the Belles

Although some Belles don’t feature as heavily as others, with some seeming like afterthoughts, Camille learns more about those she calls her sisters, and even how they’re made. With a year between books, more refreshing may have been necessary, but when read together as the duology they were intended to be, The Belles asks some questions, and The Everlasting Rose answers them.

This also applies in the realm of character work as well, though it might be a spoiler to say which other Belles get some spotlight other than Edel, who’s mentioned in the synopsis of the book.

Ultimately, though, this is Camille’s story, and even as she grows in her powers, she has some emotional growing to do as well.

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