Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: eARC, 352 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… and I might even shout it from the rooftops after reading this book… I. Love. Retellings. Now, not all retellings are created equal. But my word, this one was brilliant. Cruel Beauty was just SO MUCH MORE than the Disney version of Beauty & the Beast that we all know and love. This book is dark. The characters are flawed and complex. The writing was beautiful. The storyline was unique, engrossing and kept me guessing pretty much from beginning to end. Filled to the brim with mythology and magic, secrets and betrayals, this was another of the “unputdownable” variety.
There were so many things about this book that were flat out fantastic. The world-building was incredible and the detail was superb. It was easy to get lost inside this world built by the author. As much as I loved the storyline, the characters are what really won me over. There were no “good guys” and “bad guys” here. Each and every single person in the book was so well thought out, well developed that they both had good and bad attributes. No one was entirely innocent. I think that’s part of what kept me guessing the most: what would they do next? What was their motivation?
What’s a fairytale retelling without a little romance? Deeply and darkly romantic, Cruel Beauty delivers. The relationship between Nyx and Ignifex was anything but traditional, but that doesn’t make it any less real. It was born out of circumstance and, eventually, a mutual respect for the other. They shared passion and moments that absolutely took my breath away. Nyx was a kickass heroine. She had spunk. She wasn’t content to sit back and just let fate play out as everyone thought it would. She fought back against Ignifex and her growing (and conflicting!) feelings for him. Ignifex was such an interesting version of the Beast and his backstory blew my mind. As did much about this book.
If you’re a fan of darker books, and especially retellings, you have to try this one. It was a lot different than I anticipated it would be, but that’s what made me enjoy it as much as I did. I love when a book takes me by surprise… in a good way. 🙂 This one definitely did just that.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.