Review: Cruel Beauty

Cruel BeautyCruel Beauty
by Rosamund Hodge
YA Fantasy, Greek Mythology
January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray                


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.

My Review

The first time I saw the cover for Cruel Beauty I knew I had to read it! It is gorgeous and I loved the premise. I love the story of Beauty and the Beast and I love Graceling. What a fabulous combination. Now I would say it's more of a twist between Beauty and the Beast and Greek Mythology, but that is still a combination that I would enjoy.

The storybook world was amazing! The characters and kingdom. The castle of the Gentle Lord and Ignifex himself. The history of their kingdom and the plot to free them all. Then there is the storytelling. I loved the writing style! I love the descriptions and how the plot moved along. There were a lot of contrasts in this book between the characters, within specific characters, within the kingdom and its people, and inside the castle. Lots of struggles between fate, choices, love, duty, and loyalty. It was just all so well done!

Nix was an interesting character. I could see how much she struggled and why. I felt pulled, just like she was, to both Ignifex (what an interesting name - makes me wonder if it means anything specific) and Shade. I figured some things out before Nix did, but I still enjoyed...well, I don't know that is the right word since it's a little painful...maybe was intrigued by the journey. I really disliked her family and the gods who were basically at fault for the kingdom's fate. I really liked Ignifex. I liked him more than Shade because I felt he was strong, kind of a tortured bad boy, but that was really just his outside persona. He really was a complex character and was intelligent, wise, and actually sweet. I felt Shade was more of a flat character, which definitely makes sense for the story.

If you enjoyed the Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo, or enjoy reading Fantasy or Greek Mythology, with romance, then I would definitely recommend this book. It is one that I will definitely remember and an author I will be following.

So here's my little disclaimer. There were only a few small things that I didn't like in this story and I'm going to get them out of the way here. There was some innuendo/crudeness that bothered me in the beginning and there was suggestive content. That's the only reason this did not rate higher.

Content: Some innuendo, undressing, suggestive (non-descriptive) scenes, some violence

Source: From Edelweiss (also bought a copy, which is the copy I read), which did not affect my review in any way.

What do you think? Have you read this? Will you be?

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  1. Thanks, Andrea! I definitely love it! :)

  2. Andrea @The Bookish Babe3/31/14, 11:58 AM

    Great pick! And wow, I love that cover. Thanks for sharing!


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