Review: Cruel Beauty-Rosamund Hodge


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cooltext1889161239 copyGraceling 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.

cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

Cruel Beauty is a tantalizing play on a beloved fairytale and classic mythology. Dark and edgy, Cruel Beauty is more in line with Grimm than Disney and way more twisted. 

PROS:

  • Combining fairytale with mythology, paganism, and alchemy, Cruel Beauty is complex and unique. 
  • Nyx is a feisty, honest heroine. She speaks in sharp barbs and insults, she is eccentric and bold, she reacts quickly and makes some crazy decisions but is smart. Nyx analyzes her enemy and plots meticulously, trying to stay a step ahead. Intelligent and well versed in both myth and alchemy, Nyx has the tools to take on the devil but resentment and anger burrow into her heart. Nyx is hurt, lost, and emotionally volatile. For years she’s known her fate, her dreams were ripped from her as a child, and she can’t help but hate her lack of freedom. It’s only too easy to sympathize with Nyx, however, sometimes her comments seem a little mean and unfair. 
  • Ignifex is a paradox. He’s demonic, tricky, vicious, and sarcastic at some points and others he’s sweet, playful, and a total charmer. There’s much more to him than meets the eye. Beneath his beastly role, he is just as trapped as Nyx. Be still my heart, I seriously fell for this devilish man.
  • The Children of Typhon are TERRIFYING. Made of nightmares and sinister intentions, they stare back from the shadows, eating at your soul. Vile, vicious creatures, they taunt and play with their food. Some aspects of this story are so dark they’ll haunt you for days.
  • The relationship between Nyx and her family is a complicated one. Nyx and her sister, though the moments are brief are poignant and heartbreaking. Nyx’s emotions reign in all their bitter glory. Nyx wishes she didn’t feel as she did and her internal conflict is especially moving. 

CONS:

  • If you don’t know quite a bit about mythology, the stories associated with the pantheon, and folk traditions, many allusions that are critical to the plot might be confusing. There’s not much explanation and a glossary would have really aided in keeping track of the tiny pieces that author weaved together to form the story arc. 
  • The ending is a chaotic, wavering burst of stories layered one on top of the other. Many things were left unexplained and left me feeling very puzzled. Without being spoilery, it’s difficult to convey exactly what I’m referring to.
  • The love triangle fell apart abruptly. One moment it’s going strong and the next, slap in the face jump from one to the other. I needed some time to adjust that just wasn’t there. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Happy reading, 

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8 thoughts on “Review: Cruel Beauty-Rosamund Hodge

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