Summary: 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.
Review: I can’t accurately pinpoint the things that had me fascinated. Like I’m also uncertain on which ones that left me confused. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is different, that I’m pretty sure of it. Different in a way that that will spellbind you with the ideas that were incorporated in the story. But at the same these ideas also will leave you a bit muddled inside because they were sort of overwhelming. I like novelty especially if we’re talking about retellings, but there are times that too much, is well, too much.
This is not an ordinary retelling, many ideas are cramped in the story. And with those concepts alone one will be taken instantly. I’m one of those. In fact, I found the first few chapters totally fascinating. I mean with the book greeting me with this line: “I was raised to marry a monster.” will sure tickle my or anyone else’s reading fancy. Am I right? Or am I right? It was the reason why I sort of upped my expectations because of those rare moments. But I guess it was too soon to tell. Things started to boggle my mind as the story progressed.
Nyx was trained to assassinate the person she was betrothed. She was about to marry the Gentle Lord due to some family history. She had prepared all her life for that moment; anticipating the moment she can avenge her mother. But of course not everything will work according to her plan, because like the famous fairytale, the guy all known to be cruel and evil was someone more than meets the eye. When she was with him he showed emotions and behavior that caught her off guard. It was different from what she anticipated of the person who she expected to be…evil. And I liked those little details that were added to him.
The romance is you can say is a semi-complicated one. Does it qualify as a love triangle? Maybe and maybe not. I did like the romance even though the predictability was given, that’s my debbie downer right there. But the important thing is that it managed, clumsily though, to deliver the very essence of their relationship. I mean all her life she expected the terribleness of being married to the guy she loathed but the opposite had happened. It needed to show why she fell for him, truly fell for him for who he is. I think it did show that.
Overall, I liked it; though the writing did complicate it a bit. I’m a stripped down, direct to the point kind of girl. I do sometimes like beautiful prose, it is a treat to read from time to time. But sadly, it didn’t exactly work for me this time around. But I really liked the creativity and the entire idea, I can even bravely say it’s one of the better ones out there. It wasn’t completely a flat read but there were some things that sadly just didn’t register. And by the time I finished it I felt completely unattached, stared at the ceiling and asked myself, “that’s it?” Yes, that was it.
I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
Preview Quote: “I had expected it to be horror and doom. I had never thought that I would love at all, much less in his arms.”