The Belles Remains an Everlasting Pleasure, but The Everlasting Rose Falls a Bit Flat in Comparison (Review: The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton)

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Make no mistake: although it's not quite as good as its predecessor, The Everlasting Rose is a delight and impossible to put down. It just so happens to be in a different way than The Belles.


In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy 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 Orleans.

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton 
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)
"But safety is never permanent. I suppose like beauty, it's unpredictable."

The Belles was one of my favourite reads of 2018. It was everything I wanted from a YA novel (but with a few tropes I wasn't terribly keen on) and then some: luxurious, poignant, emotional, full of a new kind of fantasy and armed with some heavy truths on the standards of beauty. The Everlasting Rose was, of course, one of my most anticipated 2019 reads because of it. And there were a lot of things that I really enjoyed about it--but a lot of things that fell flat for me, personally.

One of my biggest issues was the lack of resolution (is there going to be a third book?) and barely a hint of the worldbuilding we saw in The Belles. Clayton crafts such a delectable and unique world, I had so many high hopes for how it would develop in this installment--unfortunately, there just wasn't a lot of that and as a result the novel felt rushed at times. Where The Belles thrived, The Everlasting Rose finds itself stumbling a bit.

Dhonielle Clayton has such a wonderful prose but there were times where it felt as if The Everlasting Rose was not what it could have been. When I read her author's note, I could immediately see why. A lot has been happening. Which is why I'm going to put an end to my criticism there because, although The Everlasting Rose wasn't everything I hoped it'd be it was still a fun read.

Here's what I loved about it: The Everlasting Rose is armed with Dhonielle Clayton's beautiful and at times whimsical writing. She is definitely one of those author's that could write about the most boring, unappealing topic and it'd still come out sounding like poetry. She has this almost wistful quality to how she writes Camille's POV and through each and everytime, you can't help but to feel for Camille and her sisters and this incredibly different world they live in.

Then there's the differences between this world and our own. A good storytelling can create a world that feels so unfamiliar, but carries these very serious and familiar qualities to it that come right back around to us. The Everlasting Rose has this familiarity to it that ties directly into what Clayton has created and, of course, our own world.

Overall, The Everlasting Rose was fun and indulgent. If you liked The Belles, you're likely to enjoy this book--and will find yourself hoping for another set in this world.

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