Book Review: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty CoverBook: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Published January 2014 by HarperCollins|229 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store (e-book)

Series: For now, it’s a stand-alone, but there may be other books and novellas set in this universe

Genre: YA Fantasy with a Greek Mythology and Beauty And The Beast twist

You can find Cruel Beauty on goodreads and Rosamund Hodge on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

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.

What I Thought:

When I first saw the summary for Cruel Beauty, I was really excited!  It seems like such a different take on re-tellings, and I love that it’s a blend of Greek mythology and Beauty And The Beast.  So when I started reading, I wasn’t sure about it, but by the end I was enjoying it a lot more than I was at the beginning.

So, here’s why I wasn’t sure about it at first.  There is this very alternate history feel to the book. which is awesome, but it also made me feel like there was some piece of history that I was missing, and wasn’t being explained.  It very much felt like I needed to have some special knowledge to know what was going on, and it was driving me crazy that I didn’t know what it was.  It definitely takes a few chapters before you learn what’s going on.

Despite me feeling like I was missing some key knowledge at the beginning, I came to really like Cruel Beauty.  Nyx is an interesting character, and it’s interesting how drawn she is to Ignifex.  Ignifex is also an interesting guy, and I really like their relationship, which really changes throughout the book.

I really liked Ignifex’s castle, which was described really well,  It’s creepy but very vivid, and I could picture it so well!  Much better than the world that the castle resided in, because that world…there’s something about it that doesn’t seem completely explained.  Then again, most of the book focuses on Ignifex and Nyx, so perhaps that part of things doesn’t need to completely be there.

I’m not sure how I feel about the romance.  Maybe it’s because of Nyx’s mission, or something else I can’t identify, but I wasn’t completely into the romance.

Let’s Rate It:

Initially, I felt slightly confused by what was going on, and I felt like I was missing something, but as the book went on, I got really into Cruel Beauty.  It’s a very detailed world, and there’s something very intricate and vivid and imaginative about this world.  It’s definitely a great read for fans of fairy tales and Greek mythology.  Cruel Beauty gets 4 stars.

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