Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published: January 28th, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Source: Amazon Vine
This review was also posted at Candace's Book Blog.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.
Lately I have felt a bit underwhelmed by many of the YA books I've been reading. It just seems like they fail to really suck me in. The romances are often rather bleh and I just always want MORE. Well, Cruel Beauty delivered on that, though I could say I still want more, but that's only because I'm greedy and I loved it so much I didn't want it to end.
This is a Beauty and the Beast re-telling. I'm not a big fan of re-tellings. I sometimes like them okay, but I don't seek them out and I hadn't read one yet that really worked well for me. So I think I went in feeling a bit unsure. The story pulled me in immediately. I had some tell me the beginning was slow, but it wasn't slow for me. I was liking it right away and didn't want to put the book down. Nyx starts out as a good girl who obeys her family's wishes. But once we really see in her head we see how much anger she has. She's angry at her family, she's angry at the Gentle Lord and even though she knows what she needs to do, you can see she just wants something for herself. Nyx has FIRE. I mean, words fly out of her mouth before she can stop them, all that anger she felt for years finally pours out when she's wedded to the Gentle Lord and in his castle. It's not this constant rage though, it's balanced with fear and even at times, happiness. I really enjoyed this balance in her and felt bad for all that she had gone through in her life.
Once I met the Gentle Lord, also known as Ignifex (not his real name), I wanted more, more, MORE! This is the kind of love interest that I love! So he's suppose to be this evil guy and everything. And yeah, maybe he is. But anyone who knows the Beauty and the Beast story is going to figure that there's probably more to him, or to his story. So I guess any 'evilness' was easy for me to overlook. He just had such a strong presence and something vibrant about him. I will say that there's more to this love story. It involves a Shade (which is called 'Shade'). Some could say it's a love triangle, but I'm not one of them. I'm not sure if it could fit in that category and it's too easy to slip spoilers, so I'm moving on. I will say that the way the romance developed felt lovely to me. The moments together were precious and wonderful. Even when Nyx was trying to trick Ignifex, it was just so entertaining.
This story is unique and strange and at times felt a bit confusing. It was almost hard to just wrap my head around everything. It got more complicated toward the end and you have to slow down and focus to really understand everything that happens. I wish it had maybe slowed down a bit and had more careful explanations, but that's really the only gripe I might have. When I finished this book I had this huge grin on my face. I actually wanted to go back and reread the scenes with Nyx and Ignifex because they were so perfect. I didn't want the book to end! It did have a full conclusion and I believe this is a series of companion novels in the same world, so I'm not sure if we'll see them again, but I really hope so!
I loved it!
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
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About the Reviewer:
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.