Title: Belle Révolte
Author: Linsey Miller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: February 4, 2020
My rating: ★★★★
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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 so much to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
First off, I want to share content warnings with you all. This book gets pretty brutal at times so I thought it’d be best to share these early on. CW include: violence, murder, execution, gore and medical abuse. The author, LInsey Miller, did a wonderful post on Goodreads where she shares more in depth warnings. I highly suggest taking a look at it before you jump into Belle Révolte.
In Belle Révolte we follow two women. Emilie wants nothing more than to study to be a physician, but since she is a noble lady, it is not acceptable to do so. We also follow Annette who desperately wants to be trained in her field of magic, but as a country girl, she doesn’t have that opportunity. When Emilie approaches Annette with a chance of a life time, she cannot refuse. The two switch lives. Emilie gets to study at university and Annette attends finishing school. When a war breaks out, the two women join forces with the rebellion to save the country.
I had such a great time reading this story. From the very beginning I was so invested. There was so much at stake for these characters so it was hard for me to put the book down. I just had to know what was going to happen. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was a wild ride.
Emilie and Annette were fierce characters and so much fun to follow. The two are very much alike. In the beginning both of them felt as though they didn’t belong. They truly believed they were meant to do bigger and better things with their lives. Emilie and Annette both wanted to help others and make the world a safer place for everyone. They had to put blind faith into each other, so watching their friendship grow was sweet.
We were able to see the main characters follow their dreams and improve their magical abilities. I loved that they both had teachers to guide them. In particular, Annette and Estrel’s relationship was really heartwarming. Estrel knew exactly what Annette was going through and wanted to help her as much as possible. Annette was able to open up to Estrel in a way that she’d never been able to do with anyone else.
The magic system was so interesting to me. In this world there are people who can do illusions, heal, scry and divine. Each art comes with its own ways and limitations. It was a lot to take in at times, but I never once felt confused. The author does a wonderful job explaining how the world works.
As the war was going on, there were things that happened that literally left me in shock. It was almost disturbing to know what was happening to certain people. Once Annette and Emilie knew how bad (and wrong) things were getting, they decided to take matters into their own hands. My favorite part of the book was seeing both women join the rebellion. They used the knowledge and abilities they learned through out the story in hopes of bringing down a corrupt system.
This book has wonderful LGBTQ+ representation. There are characters who were ace, lesbian/bisexual (wasn’t specified) and trans. I also really appreciate that proper pronouns were used. There was absolutely no misgendering.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Belle Révolte.. It was a dark and brutal fantasy with badass characters who believed in changing the world. This was my first time reading anything from Linsey MIller and I can definitely say it will not be my last!