Author: Rosamund Hodge
Published by? Balzer + Bray
Released: January 28, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe
In Series: 1
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Read: September 2015
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”
I love retellings and when I found out this book was a retelling of my favorite fairytale/Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, I couldn’t pass it up. I was instantly drawn into this world and the story before me. I couldn’t put it down. The characters and the world were all so unique and enchanting. I loved the writing style by Hodge and the way she combined elemental magic and Greek mythology. However, towards the end of the book I found myself getting quite confused. I had to read a couple pages over just to understand what was really happening. In fact, I am still not to sure myself. I feel like she threw too much at the reader and it was just a tad overwhelming to me.
The biggest problem for me was the instalove between Nyx and Shade. I hated it. I loved when Shade was first introduced and was a helping, comforting hand for Nyx, but when she kissed him after two seconds of knowing him it made me cringe. Then we spend a good amount of the first half of the book having Nyx tells us how much she loves him and desires him. It made me want to bang my head on the wall. Maybe because I already loved Ignifex and thought she was being a little naive to her “feelings” for Shade, but I didn’t feel it. I felt used by Shade and confused. Then once she does slowly begin to fall for Ignifex it just turned into an awkward love triangle, but I guess it makes a little more sense given the plot twist.
“If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?”
Nonetheless, I really loved all these characters in the book. Nyx had such hate and resentment in her hear that made her much more real. She spent her whole life knowing her father bargained her life to the Gentle Lord to save her sister’s life and it really left quite a mark on her. She was snarky and her voice was compelling. I found her relatable and I actually found myself laughing at some of the things she was thinking. However, Ignifex stole the show for me. This man is beautiful and just the right amount of sass and bad boy that steals my heart. Maybe this was why I saw no comparison to Shade? In any case, I loved him. I definitely see a new book boyfriend on the horizon…Nyx and Ignifex were both hateful and not at all kind, but they loved each other’s ugliness and accepted each other. This is really why I loved this book so much, their connection. They grew into each other over time and it was beautiful!
“That’s what makes you my favorite.” He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. “Every wicked bit of you.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The characters were great and the overall story was so interesting. I only wished I didn’t feel at all confused at some parts or else I would have given it 5 stars.
“Why is he scared of the dark?”
I meant the words for a joke, but Shade nodded seriously. “Like all monsters. Because it reminds him of what he truly is”.”