Monday, April 25, 2016

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe #1)
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Romance, Retelling, Mythology
Publication: January 1, 2014

My Rating: 3.5/5

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.

So much suffering!

I recently read A Court of Thorns and Roses and was in the mood for something similar, so I decided to pick this up. This book is very different from ACOTAR.

First of all, the beast is actually a beast, a despicable one. Ignifex is better known as The Gentle Lord, a demon whose bargains leave people's lives in ruins. He's responsible for a curse that hasn't let the people from Arcadia see the sky for 900 years. During that time, he's had eight wives, and every one of them has to follow a very important rule: every night, his wife has the chance to guess his name, if she guesses right, she has her freedom (and so does he), but, if she guesses wrong, she dies.

When we start reading about Ignifex he does seem to be an awful guy, he doesn't play games, and his bargains are pretty scary. But as the story progresses, I actually started to feel sorry for him, he has his own demons to torture him, and masters to follow. It's not exactly Ignifex who chooses to do what he does to those who like to make bargains with him, but his magic. And let's be honest, those who go to him for his bargains are not that innocent either, most of them want to do awful things to others.

I did start to wonder how this book was going to work, the girl is supposed to fall in love with the beast, but it was difficult to see Nyx falling in love with Ignifex in the future. Surprisingly, it all falls into place.

And, even though Ignifex is not very nice, I still think he's not as bad as he seems, once we get to know him. To me, he was just selfish, and isn't that just incredibly human.

I felt bad for him and could understand things from his point of view (and he's been suffering for so many years!),  I actually thought he was a bit too hard on himself, and Nyx was too hard on herself, too. She had darkness in her heart, but don't we all?

We also have Shade, the beast's shadow. He is very nice to Nyx when she first gets to the castle, but, as we get to know him better, I started to like him a lot less. Oh and the castle is an amazing place, it just keeps changing and you don't know in which room you'll end up next.

And I definitely liked Nyx, but there were certain things about her that bothered me. Sometimes she seemed to be bipolar, and decided to do things just out of nowhere and I couldn't understand why. But I guess it's all right, given her circumstances; she's had a tough life.

Now, her twin sister... Their dad and aunt never told her the truth about what Nyx had to do, because they said they had to protect her and let her be happy... Oh, all right, throw one girl in front of the bus and let the other think that everything is fine. I couldn't stand any of them, especially her sister. I just hated her, with a passion. Yes, I'm saying I hated her, let The Children of Typhon take me or whatever, I don't care. She makes us think that she's this adorable girl who wouldn't hurt a fly... Hell no, she's awful.

I liked that most of the story was very unpredictable, although I had my suspicions about what was going on between Ignifex and Shade.

I don't know how to feel about that ending though, it was definitely a happy ending, but it didn't make me feel much. And I also would've liked to see more passion between Ignifex and Nyx, they had a beautiful relationship, but I think just a little part of it is shown to us; I wouldn't have minded if the book had been longer for that to be accomplished.

Have you read this book? Any other Beauty and the Beast retellings you might recommend?

Thank you for reading! Bye-Bye! 


  1. I've been debating whether or not to read this book. I've read ACOTAR, and frankly, I don't think any other Beauty and the Beast retelling will be able to live up to it, so it might be while before I read this one!
    Great review :)
    Erika @ Books, Stars, and the Pages in Between

    1. ACOTAR is amazing! <3 I've seen many people say they like Cruel Beauty better, but I enjoyed ACOTAR a lot more :)

  2. I need to read this one. Or any of this author's books. This one sounds interesting. I'm glad it was unpredictable. Not sure it will live up to ACOTAR, but may be good to read anyway. Great review!

    1. Yes, it's really interesting and original :) I'd never read a retelling of Beauty and the Beast like this one.

  3. Sounds nice...unpredictable fairytale...I've got to get that before the summer vacation.

  4. I love my retellings as I'm sure you know, so this one sounds like it could be something I would head over heels love! I especially want to know how this one works out because it seems unpredictable and I love it when endings are impossible to guess. And the sound of all these characters is brilliant. So excited to read this one now!

    1. Yes, I think you might really enjoy it! :D


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