Title: Belle Revolte
Author: Linsey Miller
Series or Standalone?: Standalone
Publishing Date: 4 February 2020
“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.”
- character death
- family death (a character’s brother)
- biromantic asexual girl MC
- multiple f/f relationships and lesbian (or otherwise sapphic) characters
- trans man side character
*I received a copy of the novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
I read this book within a day or two, and I loved every second of it.
Belle Révolte follows two girls: Emilie, a noble girl who wants to study the noonday arts and become a physician instead of the midnight arts, and Annette, a peasant girl from a family who doesn’t want her and who wants to study the midnight arts. They end up meeting one another and, on a whim, decide to switch places. Annette pretends to Emilie and studies the midnight arts while Emilie admits herself to a school for the noonday arts. However, tension and action start to stack up quickly as the country is thrust into a war/revolution, and the girls are thrust into it as well.
First off, this magic system? Is simply amazing. It is split into a binary: the midnight arts (divination, scrying, etc.), which are traditionally used by women, and the noonday arts (divided between surgery/medicine and fighting/warfare) are traditionally used by men.
I love that Emilie is fighting tooth and nail to become a physician and prove everyone wrong with what she can do. The magic system is believed to be entirely binary: women weren’t considered strong enough to use the noonday arts, and men believed the midnight arts to be below them. However, Emilie proves throughout the novel that women can actually prove to be just as competent in the noonday arts (shocker, I know), and there is a debate that touches on both arts actually being the same side of the coin, not opposites. This magic system and the discussion about it within the novel were very intriguing, and I love this aspect.
Now, the characters… While I can’t remember names (not the novel’s fault, I am incredibly bad with keeping up with who’s who, especially when they don’t have their own POV chapter), I do remember that I loved all of the characters. I felt like I knew them, and following Annette and Emilie was a joyride in and of itself. The reader just gets to know the both of them so well, including how they don’t feel like, a lot of the time, they can’t be who they truly are in public. They are constantly fighting to be themselves in a world that doesn’t care for them, and I love that. I don’t love that they have to, but I feel connected to both of them. I understand that struggle.
On top of that??? The side characters??? I love. They are honestly so, so amazing, and that representation? *chef’s kiss* We got multiple f/f relationships, a trans man side character, and an MC who’s asexual and biromantic. I just loved how everyone was super casual about it, and the best part? While this book was gruesome and bloody and violent, none of the violence was queer antagonistic/transphobic/homophobic/etc. in nature. It was just refreshing to see.
There were a couple parts of the novel that, if I didn’t already absolutely love this book, I would probably take a half-star or two off. One was a plot twist with one of the side characters. I thought it was a bit goofy and allowed everything to wrap up nicely, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all. The second part was the ending: at first, I wasn’t a huge fan of it because I thought it was very rushed. However, the more I thought on it, the more my mind began to change: revolutions can often take suddent turns toward the end, and that’s just what happens with the end of Belle Revolte. I think it fit the overall narrative.
But yeah, please please please pre-order/order this book or request it for your library, y’all. This was a wonderful, quick read, and I’m so glad I was able to snag it when it was under the “read now” tab on NetGalley!
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