Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Synopsis: Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.
Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.
Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emile enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.
But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies.
Belle Révolte is another book that initially caught my attention because of the interesting cover. Unfortunately, I struggled to finish this standalone. Both Emilie and Annette are two strong-willed girls trapped in a society which doesn’t offer much to females, yet they refuse to be forced into the roles they’re expected to play. I really liked both of them and was cheering them on throughout the book. I also loved the transgender and asexual representation which I haven’t come across that often in my reading. It was naturally done and didn’t define the characters.
Now unfortunately here’s what didn’t work for me. First, the pacing was all over the place. Some sections the book seemed to drag interminably, while others moved so quickly it left me confused. While I was very interested in the political aspects of this French-inspired world, the magic system, which is an integral part of the storyline was underdeveloped and also left me bewildered. There were times that I found myself having to go back and re-read passages to try to make sense of what was happening, and even doing that I wasn’t always successful. To be honest, if this wasn’t an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher, I most likely would have given up.
Overall, while Belle Révolte had some shining moments, they just weren’t enough to dispel the negatives for me. This is the third book I’ve read by Linsey Miller, and I’ve had similar issues with all of them, which leads me to conclude that she’s not the author for me. However, she has numerous fans so please don’t let me discourage you from giving her a try, especially if you’re looking for YA fantasy with diverse characters and interesting politics.