Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
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.
Cruel Beauty started off slow and, at first, failed to capture my interest. I’m glad to say that it gets better, though! At first I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get into it. But, once Nyx moved in with the Gentle Lord, I became a lot more interested in it. Though, there were some back-and-forth moments for me — between being bored and interested. Sometimes I would be into it and others I wouldn’t. It was as if I was only able to become completely captivated when she was dealing with the Gentle Lord, which wasn’t all that often in the beginning. The rest of the story was okay — not bad, but not able to keep my interest either.
I found it interesting that Cruel Beauty is a fairy tale retelling — it’s based on Beauty and the Beast — but it’s filled with Greek Mythology references.
I’m not sure I was the hugest fan of any of the characters. I thought they were decent, but not my favourite. There was just something about Nyx that kept me from being able to fully connect with her. It’s like the wall she put up to protect herself in the actual story was there between her and the reader as well. Which is not a good thing. Nyx’s personality also seems much older than her sister, even though they are twins. I mean, I kind of get it, but I also think that it was too much of a difference in maturity. It always seemed like she was dealing with a little sister, a child. I guess that can happen in real life too, I just didn’t like it in the story.
I loved the witty back-and-forth banter between Nyx and Ignifex. I thought it was entertaining to read.
Overall, I kind of have mixed feelings on this one. Which sucks, because I was looking so forward to it. I’d heard a lot of good things about it before picking it up.
SIK’s Short ‘n’ Sweet Version (Point-form Style)
– The relationship between Nyx and Ignifex.
– I thought the writing was very good. Descriptive and unique.
I Didn’t Care For:
– The characters. I just couldn’t connect with Nyx and wasn’t a big fan of any of the characters.
– A lot of boring parts, for me.
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