Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher/ Date Published: Balzer + Bray @ January 28, 2014
# of Pages: 346
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.
This is by far the most difficult review that I had ever had to write. Cruel Beauty is Rosamund Hodge’s debut novel and because it was advertised as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a personal favorite fairytale of mine, I had high expectations for this novel. I’m sad to say that I feel a little let down by this novel. I guess it was because it was over- hyped that my expectations of this book jumped sky high and that this was supposed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I had expected it to go down the same road, which it didn’t. In addition to being somewhat of a retelling, the plot also included so many different elements that the world building became too complicated for me to follow. There was a lot of high fantasy elements going on with some greek mythology mixed in as well as the sci- fi version of Beauty and the Beast going on. So with all that… I just got so confused.
But enough with all this, moving on to the stuff that I liked.
I really enjoyed Nyx as a character because she wasn’t that Mary- Sue kind of character as Belle was in the original fairy- tale. She felt like a real character to me because all the emotions that she experienced throughout the book. It made her such a complex and interesting character that it made me want to read on to find out what she’ll do. In addition, I really liked the Gentle Lord more than Shade. I found him to be a lot more romantic and I feel that his character goes along with Nyx’s character.
Overall, I think that this was an ok read. I think my only problem was the many different elements being put all into one story. It made the plot and world building a little too hard to follow. On the other hand, most of the characters were lovable and interesting.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes.