Book Reviews

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

15839984 Published: January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray.

Format: Hardcover, 352 pages.

Goodreads Summary: 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.

Thoughts: I’ve had my eyes on this book ever since I saw Emily May from The Book Geek do an early review of it back at the start of January. Her reviews are so insightful and I wholeheartedly trust her reviews even if I end up loving a book she didn’t. Cruel Beauty is indeed a retelling of the beloved classic Beauty and the Beast, but in no way are they the same. This book is incredibly twisted (in a good way) and intertwined with Greek Mythology. Needless to say I enjoyed it immensely. To be honest, I’m not quite sure I understand the ending, but it still worked.

I have to talk about the main character Nyx. Now, if you’ve ever watched the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast you’ll know that the girl is depicted as being gentle and kind and she usually shows the beast that he still has a heart or whatever. That’s not the case in this story. Nyx holds a lot of hatred in her heart and she’s bitter. I’d probably be the same if I was in her situation. I mean she’s being forced to marry someone who’s brought nothing but suffering to her world, all because her father made a deal before Nyx was even born. She’s forced to watch her sister be loved while she’s hidden away. I absolutely loved her character development. She’s intelligent, defiant and determined to do whatever she can to get out of her predicament.

Of course there’s Ignifex, also known as the Gentle Lord. He was the one that victimized the village and cut them off from the rest of the world. As you keep reading you’ll learn that he’s not that simple. I know you’re not suppose to fall for the evil villain, but I couldn’t help it. He was funny and extremely witty. He’s on the top of my list for favorite characters for sure!

I’m so glad I decided to read this book because it’s one of my favorites. It’s a fantastically dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast and even if the initial idea isn’t all that new, Rosamund Hodge captured my attention from the very start. When it comes to the mythology aspect she definitely knew her facts and this story was just beautifully done.  For all of you that are looking for a new standalone, please check this one out! We’re only a month into the new year and I already have a favorite book of 2014. What are the odds?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.



3 thoughts on “Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  1. Oh my goodness, everyone is talking about this book! It sounds really interesting and I had no idea that there was greek mythology involved, which now only makes me want the book more!

    And Nyx sounds like an awesome and realistic protagonist. (Finally, those are hard to find in young adult literature). Great review! 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed Cruel Beauty too, although I thought parts of the plot were a bit more complicated than they needed to be. Still, it definitely sucked me in, and I really loved Nyx and Ignifex’s characters. Great review!

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