Chapters 1–9

Camellia is a Belle, someone with the power to make the colorless inhabitants of Orléans beautiful. As Camellia jockeys for power in the royal court, she learns dark secrets about both her powers and her world.

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. turret
    a small tower extending above a building
    It's a wonderland of palace buildings with golden turrets and glittering arches, fountains full of crimson and ivory fish, topiary mazes of clipped trees, shrubs, and bushes in every possible geometric shape.
  2. lavish
    characterized by extravagance and profusion
    The Orléans archipelago is a string of islands stretching like a rose with a crooked stem out into the warm sea. Most of them are connected by golden bridges or can be reached by lavish river coaches.
  3. tulle
    a fine fabric net used for veils, tutus, or gowns
    They stand beside women adorned with jewels and draped in luxurious, pastel-colored dresses made full with crinoline and tulle.
  4. parasol
    a handheld collapsible source of shade
    Intricate hats cover the ladies' hair; some clutch dainty parasols and oilpaper umbrellas, or cool themselves with patterned fans.
  5. pavilion
    a large and often sumptuous tent
    The carriages stop before the royal pavilion.
  6. covet
    wish, long, or crave for
    Don't ever covet their use of the arcana.
  7. dossier
    papers containing detailed information about a person
    We weren't allowed to discuss our instructions in the weeks leading up to the carnaval, but Amber and I had swapped our dossiers.
  8. alabaster
    of or resembling a white stone
    Her subject needed to be given skin the color of toasted walnuts, hair full of large barrel curls, and a pretty, plump face; mine had to have skin the shade of alabaster stone from the Fire Isles, hair so dark it blended into the night, and a mouth so perfect and so red it would be indistinguishable from a rose.
  9. wizened
    lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
    Her hair and skin are as gray as a stormy sky, and wizened like a raisin.
  10. pallid
    deficient in color suggesting physical or emotional distress
    All the people in Orléans are born this way—skin pallid, gray, and shriveled, eyes cherry red, hair like straw—as if all the color was leeched out of them, leaving behind the shade of freshly picked bones and ash.
  11. gilded
    having the deep slightly brownish color of gold
    They ask us to use our gilded tools to recast every curve of their faces.
  12. chrysalis
    pupa of a moth or butterfly enclosed in a cocoon
    They wrap around her small, squirming body, until she's swaddled inside a pink chrysalis like a writhing worm.
  13. mantra
    a commonly repeated word or phrase
    I say the mantra of the Belles:
    Beauty is in the blood.
  14. emblem
    special design representing a quality, type, or group
    Fireworks streak across the night sky, creating the emblem of the Belles—a golden fleur-de-lis, with a red rose twisting around its center like a ribbon of blood.
  15. promenade
    a public area set aside as a pedestrian walk
    I feel like one of the famed courtiers depicted in the beauty-scopes or painted on Trianon's promenades and avenue boards.
  16. salon
    elegant sitting room where guests are received
    I loved the house's pointed roof, the four wings, the endless balconies and their gilded railings and silvery spindles, the soaring ceilings full of house-lanterns, the coral-pink salons and wine-red chambers and champagne-blush parlors, the legions of servants and nurses.
  17. fraternize
    be on friendly terms with someone, as if with a brother
    We're not to fraternize with non-Belles.
  18. cerulean
    deep blue like the color of a clear sky
    Royal beasts parade along the grass— cerulean peacocks, rosy teacup flamingos, and fire-red phoenixes.
  19. mortuary
    of or relating to or characteristic of death
    In our Belle-trunks, little stone mortuary tablets are packed alongside our dresses, in memory of our mothers.
  20. don
    put on clothes
    She's able to soften even the voice of a teacup monkey, make the most oafish person charming, and give someone any talent they desire—cooking, dancing, playing the lute or a stringed misen—as easily as donning a different dress.
  21. parchment
    a superior paper resembling sheepskin
    Their animated quills scratch against parchment pads at lightning speed.
  22. fresco
    a mural done with watercolors on wet plaster
    Animated frescoes arrange and rearrange into different celestial scenes: the gods and goddesses, an everlasting rose, the kings and queens of old, the islands of Orléans, the heavens.
  23. lattice
    framework consisting of an ornamental wood or metal design
    A series of chariots drifts along a shiny lattice of cables, lifting well-dressed people from one balcony to the next.
  24. trinket
    a small cheap ornament, knickknack, or piece of jewelry
    Trinkets lined our shelves: dried petals, tiny bayou pebbles, and rainbow pearls sat like shrines to our adventures together, along with tomes of folklore and fairy tales about the God of Luck's phoenix or the Goddess of Deception's little silver fox.
  25. tome
    a large and scholarly book
    Trinkets lined our shelves: dried petals, tiny bayou pebbles, and rainbow pearls sat like shrines to our adventures together, along with tomes of folklore and fairy tales about the God of Luck's phoenix or the Goddess of Deception's little silver fox.
  26. vanity
    low table with a mirror where one sits while dressing
    A vanity table held a washbasin, and a fireplace always roared with light.
  27. abacus
    a manual calculator with counters on rods or in grooves
    The room holds claw-footed sofas clutching jeweled pillows; a gold-stitched tapestry of the great kingdom of Orléans swallows one whole wall; a large white desk is nestled into the far corner, boasting an abacus with pearly white beads and cast-iron spintria safes.
  28. scurrilous
    expressing offensive reproach
    Another, Speculations of the Foulest Kind, broadcasts royal and courtier relationship breakups, blaming them on appearance shifts or lack of beauty maintenance, and a third, Scurrilous Scandals and Secrets, speaks about a series of black-market beauty products rumored to perform the same feats as the Belles themselves.
  29. solarium
    a room enclosed largely with glass to allow sunlight in
    "This is the solarium courtyard to inspire your arcana. I encourage all favorites to walk in it daily. Very therapeutic."
  30. hallowed
    worthy of religious veneration
    "Each and every favorite has stayed here. This is truly hallowed ground," she says.
  31. carafe
    a bottle with a stopper, for serving wine or water
    A servant enters with a carafe of warm oil and we fall quiet.
  32. encroach
    impinge or infringe upon
    She swats at the encroaching servants, but she's restrained and dragged out, kicking and screaming.
  33. leech
    carnivorous or bloodsucking aquatic or terrestrial worm
    The nurse shakes her head at me, removing another pair of leeches from the porcelain jar.
  34. unadorned
    not decorated with something to increase its beauty
    She returns and pulls my hair up into a simple, unadorned Belle-bun, and ties a cream-colored waist-sash around my middle.
  35. mauve
    a moderate purple
    The windy season's colors are in: bright cobalt, misty mauve, cognac, purple-red wine, radiant orchid, cypress green, and storm gray.
  36. allotment
    distribution according to a plan
    "When will the queen release her official announcement regarding toilette-box allotments?"
  37. blatant
    without any attempt at concealment; completely obvious
    Your blatant disregard for the rules, Camellia, in front of the entire population of Orléans, has put us in a compromised situation—do we disqualify you from being the favorite, or allow you to be considered despite this?
  38. bestow
    give as a gift
    A very talented Belle, named the favorite. But she didn't follow my instructions, or respect the honor that the Goddess of Beauty bestowed upon me. So I took her from court and kept her at La Maison Rouge.
  39. tawny
    having the color of tanned leather
    Valerie's tawny brown skin pinkens, and she frowns.
  40. stark
    without qualification; used informally as intensifiers
    She smiles at me, and her teeth look stark white like the keys of a piano.
  41. bauble
    cheap showy jewelry or ornament
    Tiered trays hold buttons, lace, ribbons, gems, jewels, and hundreds of other baubles.
  42. primp
    dress or groom with elaborate care
    Even though I've been dressed and measured and primped so many times, I still hate the feeling in these moments that my body doesn't belong to me.
  43. embellish
    make more attractive, as by adding ornament or color
    I become a doll—an object to be embellished.
  44. rouge
    makeup consisting of powder applied to the cheeks
    Layer after layer of Belle-powder and rouge are applied to my cheeks and eyes.
  45. fawn
    try to gain favor through flattery or deferential behavior
    She fawns over us, and the dresses, and our new looks.
Created on June 21, 2018 (updated June 25, 2018)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, sheffieldwind.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.