I received this book from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.
This book meant the absolute world to me. Every time I think it I’m just filled with this intense love and emotion. I could flail about this book forever, I swear. It makes me so happy (except for when it’s RIPPING MY HEART OUT).
Objectively speaking, this book is far from perfect. I think if this book hadn’t hit me on so deeply personal a level, it would have been a solid four stars. Not at all a bad rating, still very much a book I would highly recommend (HI THIS IS ME TELLING YOU TO GO READ THIS BOOK ASAP), but I do recognize it has some flaws from a purely technical perspective (that said I don’t care, READ IT, it’s gooooood).
THE NOT SO GOOD
- There were some inconsistencies. not huge things, but a fair amount of little things. It might be that this is just how ARCs are, I don’t know (I’ve only ever read like three), but there were… more than felt entirely justified just by it being an ARC. It was sort of annoying.
- If I’m being honest…. I was sort of confused by the plot half the time. I like… almost knew what was going on, but sometimes I wasn’t entirely sure. I had a good enough sense that it didn’t actually detract from the plot, and it is entirely possible that I was just tired and not functioning too well, but I do feel the plot’s just a little… weak in places. If you’re a character driven reader like me, it’s probably not bad enough for you to care, but if you’re plot driven this probably isn’t the book for you.
THE VERY GOOD
- The magic ahhhhhh. I was a bit iffy on it at first, because it appears to be gendered magic which is literally never cool, but then as the book goes on you discover that in fact that is 100% bullshit and society just made it up, and if that isn’t god tier commentary I don’t know what is.
Also I loooooved the way the magic had such heavy consequences. It really helped raise the stakes, and also was just such a unique magic system.
- As I touched on in my last point, there is a lot of political commentary in this book, especially on classism and gender roles, and I thought it was done extremely well. It might make you uncomfortable, but that’s why it’s so necessary.
- Also the representation. The representation. One of our leads is sapphic and ace, and the other lead has a trans love interest. There are also various side characters who are queer, including a few for whom they/them pronouns are very casually used. I can’t speak for all the rep, but I thought Annette and Yvonne were fantastic rep, and they meant so much to me.
- The romances. Annette and Yvonne were the literal cutestand their romance made me feel so many warm fuzzies they were so cute!!! And Emilie and Charles… god tier honestly. The rivals to ‘I don’t like you but please don’t die’ to begrudging friends to lovers dynamic…. I had no choice but to love it tbh.
- The friendships! I especially loved Annette’s group of friends, who were just like… the literal best. I adored their dynamic. but also Emilie and Madeline and Madeline’s brother were wonderful!
- … basically just all the character relationships. the mentor/mentee relationships, the friendships, the romances, the messy familial relationships, everything was so messy and flawed and complex and I LOVED it
- Also not to devote four whole points to character related shit but like… the characters on their own were fantastic too, just saying. Annette was just the softest bean, and Emilie was an arrogant snob but she grew so much over the course of the book. This is what I mean when I say I love character development.
Basically: I love this book a lot please read it and obsess about these characters with me.
Belle Révolte is out on Tuesday, and I can’t wait for this wonderful book to be out in the world so you all can read it.