Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062224735 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062224736 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Bridget
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.
Quick & Dirty: Beautifully written story filled with mystery, romance, and interesting characters. It was slow moving at times, but overall it was a good read.
Opening Sentence: I was raised to marry a monster.
Nyx has spent her whole life knowing one very important thing. When she becomes of age she will marry the Great Lord, the ruler of their kingdom, and then she will find a way to kill him. When she was young her foolish father made a bargain with the Great Lord and the payment was to give one of his daughters to the Great Lord to become his next wife. Nyx has spent her whole life training to rid her country of the tyrant that rules their country and she is willing to sacrifice everything to fulfill her duty.
When she turned seventeen she leaves everything behind and marries the powerful Ignifex. But to her surprise, Ignifex is very different than she expected him to be. He is surprisingly kind and the more time Nyx spends with him, the more she learns to care for him. Nyx always resented her family for never trying to save her, and she was never really ever able to be herself around them. But with Ignifex she doesn’t have to hide who she is, and for the first time in her life she feels free. Unfortunately, her mission hasn’t changed and she will have to decide what is more important, the kingdom she was raised to save or the man that has stolen her heart?
Nyx is a very complex character. On the outside you see the perfect daughter that has done everything in her power to do what she must, but underneath that there is a girl that just wants to be loved. She has a side to her personality that is dark and twisted, but all her life she has always kept it at bay. She is full of determination and drive, but there is a lot of hatred in her soul as well. I honestly found her fascinating and very intriguing. She wasn’t the easiest person to connect with, but I felt that I understood her.
Ignifex is charming, sexy, and very mysterious. One moment he was cruel and heartless, and then the next moment he was sweet and caring. You never knew what to expect from his character and I loved that he kept me guessing. As his story slowly unfolds throughout the pages, I found myself totally taken with him. His relationship with Nyx was sweet and real. They were able to be themselves with each other and they were able to look past the others flaws. Their romance was beautiful and timeless. Ignifex was a great character that was easy to fall in love with.
This was a wonderful story full of mystery and romance. Now I can’t deny that it is written beautifully, but it moved really slow for me. The writing style is very descriptive and lyrical, but there were times I had to reread parts to understand what was going on. So for me, the book felt like it dragged, and I got a little bored with the story at times. The best part about this book was the complex characters. Both Nyx and Ignifex have so many sides to their personalities and not all of them are pretty. I loved the depth you see in them and how their relationship brought everything to light. The setting was completely magical, with a castle that is ever changing and a mystery within its walls. While I was reading, I could vividly imagine the fascinating world that Hodge created. Also, the cover for this book is gorgeous, and it fits the story perfectly. Overall, this was an enjoyable read, I just wish it would have flowed better for me. If you are a fan of retelling or mythology, I would highly recommend you give this book a try. I think you will find it interesting and a good read.
If I thought of the house as a maze, I had no hope. I still got lost in Father’s box-hedge maze; I’d never solve this labyrinth.
But if I considered it a riddle . . . The house was a Hermetic working. And I had trained to master those all my life.
There is an ancient Hermetic saying: “Water is born from the death of air, earth from the death of water, fire from the death of earth, air from the death of fire.” In their eternal dance, the elements overpower and arise from one another in this order, and every Hermetic working must follow it.
Maybe I had to unravel the house’s mysteries in this order too.
FTC Advisory: Balzer & Bray/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Cruel Beauty. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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