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.” -Synopsis from Goodreads.com
I hope you are all having or trying to have a wonderful Monday. I know that my Monday mornings consist of mourning the fleeting weekend, so to brighten my day (and hopefully yours) I thought a review was in order!
I love seeing the creativity authors use when taking traditional stories, such as fairytales, and transporting them into their own world. One of my favorite fairytale spin-off series is the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (My review on book 3, Cress, can be found here), so when a dear friend of mine recommended Cruel Beauty, I couldn’t resist downloading it immediately.
Names are very important to me, and I commend Rosamund Hodge (speaking of names, it’s a pretty cool one) for using interesting and complex ones. However, I found myself on a very, VERY long car ride with my significant other and chose to read this aloud to him to pass the time. Bad choice. I don’t care how many time you practice, “Aunt Telomache” still ties the tongue. My pronunciation was even corrected a few times by my soon-to-be-ex significant other (kidding), who, unbeknownst to me, is actually a scholar of Greek mythology.
Along with the intriguing names, the characters are also three dimensional. Neither Nyx nor Ignifex (the gentle lord) are black and white. The gray areas of their personalities display the fight between good and evil within their souls. The inner-turmoil is something relatable because we all struggle with thoughts and actions that darken who we are. I delighted in learning about Ignifex, and found him to be a surprisingly honorable (and handsome!) character despite his circumstances.
I wanted to like this novel so badly. Not only do I trust the literary taste of my dear friend, but I also enjoyed so many aspects of the writing and creation of Cruel Beauty. Unfortunately, the progression of this novel reached a complexity level that bordered on confusion. As much as I enjoy an elevated writing style and plot twists, I found Cruel Beauty to be tasking rather than pleasurable. It felt like I was reading some required literature for school, not something chosen of my own volition. I also can’t even begin to explain exactly what happened in the last quarter of the book, I only know the outcome.
Was it a waste of my time? No, definitely not. Did I hate it? Of course not. Will I read it again? I might have to in order to gain a more clear understanding of some parts. I would recommend Cruel Beauty, but it wouldn’t be at the top of my list. Please don’t let my opinions deter you from making your own because Rosamund Hodge created a relatively well-crafted novel.
If you would like me to review and of the Rosamund Hodge’s other books, have suggestions for book reviews, or have any other questions, please either comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Download Cruel Beauty here.
Download Rosamund Hodge’s second book based on “Little Red Riding Hood”, Crimson Bound, here.