An ultimately satisfying conclusion to a clever duology
THE EVERLASTING ROSE picks up where THE BELLES left off, with Camille, Edel, and Remy on the run. Sophia is determined to hunt them down and erects a special prison to keep all the Belles in called the Everlasting Rose. Camille has to figure out how to get Princess Charlotte safely on the throne, protect her sisters, decide whether or not the mysterious Iron Ladies can be trusted, and manage to live another day while on the run.
What I Loved:
Dhonielle Clayton is a master at crafting beautiful, lush descriptions in her writing. While the first book in the duology focused more on describing the beauty work Camille and her sisters did, this one describes more of the surroundings and Gris people, matching the edgier tone of the story.
With Camille on the run, the tension levels are high. You're never sure who is trustworthy, who has their own agenda, and who sincerely wants to help. There aren't as many twists in the plot this time, but the ones that we get are perfectly timed and gasp-worthy.
What Left Me Wanting More:
While we get some answers around the Belles' history, there is a lot left unanswered or unclear. If this had been a longer series, I would have expected the answers to come later, but as a conclusion, it was left to be desired. However, if there is ever a prequel or spin off exploring more of this world, I will absolutely be buying it.
In general, THE EVERLASTING ROSE felt rushed. Given it's around 100 pages less than the first book, this isn't too surprising. In particular, the end came together quite quickly and didn't leave as much room for the full emotional experience.
While I didn't enjoy this as much as I did THE BELLES, THE EVERLASTING ROSE is an ultimately satisfying conclusion to a clever duology.