Title: Belle Révolte
Author: Linsey Miller
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: February 4th, 2020 (Sourcebooks Fire)
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 Emilie 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Emilie des Marais is a Comtesse born to wealth and privilege, destined for finishing school to study the midnight arts of divining and illusion, but all she wants is to study the noonday arts and become a physician, something forbidden to women, particularly noblewomen. But when she meets Annette, a commoner from humble roots, who wants nothing more than to study magic, Emilie devises a plan. Annette will go to finishing school in her place while she will head to the university to become a physician’s assistant. But unrest is rife in the country with an underground resistance group against the king called Laurel , and when war is declared with the neighbouring country, the girls find themselves uncovering some very dangerous secrets and must work together to bring the truth to light and end the king’s atrocities.
The magic system was my favourite aspect of this book, especially how much detail and thought was put into it with all its various applications as it becomes clearer over the course of the book that magic isn’t nearly as binary as commonly believed. I found it very intriguing that the physicians were all battlefield healers, and seeing them right alongside the warriors on the battlefield playing an active role while the fight was ongoing was certainly something new. One thing that I found kind of odd was that despite the somewhat parallel storylines that Annette and Emilie had throughout the book, the groups of friends and confidantes that they form remain completely separate, though I suppose it did add an extra element of drama to the events, not always knowing between POVs exactly what was happening with the others.
The pacing in this book could definitely have used some more work. It takes quite some time for the story to actually get to the point which is about when Laurel enters the scene and the war begins. When it comes to world building, this is a very rich world that could have benefitted from the story taking a little more time to explore it. Yes, the magic system was great, but there is still so much more I would have loved to know about it. As for the resistance movement, I felt that there was barely any time given to developing it even though it was so important. On top of that, there were so many people called Laurel that it just got way too confusing. Additionally, everything came together almost too quickly at the end, and it felt quite chaotic for a while.
The world of Belle Révolte is a delightful mix of influences from The Prince and the Pauper and the French Revolution, and this is certainly an engrossing read. While this was certainly more violent than I expected with some pretty dark scenes, this was a very unique plot with some great representation and I would definitely recommend it!
Belle Révolte releases on February 4th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!