Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Genre: Fairy Tale/Mythology Retelling
Source: ARC for Review
Challenge(s): Debut Author, Fairy Tales
Find it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

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 has been one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2014, so I was freaking out when an ARC magically appeared on my doorstep one day. As soon as I had a moment of free time, I started reading, and I just couldn’t stop until I had turned the last page.

I always love discovering a new fantastical world, and that which is found in Cruel Beauty is a curious one, with a rich and mysterious history, effortlessly blended with familiar myths. Early on, there’s a lot of heavy “info-dumping” which slows the plot, but is important to introduce the mythology that later comes into play. Do not let that stop you, because once the story truly starts, it will enthrall you to the end, and you’ll be grateful for the information which so brilliantly comes into the plot at a later point.

Nyx was such a unique character. Her past has left her hard and cold, almost broken in a way. She’s not a perfect, innocent girl. And because of her faults and shortcomings, I came to love her as a character. The interesting thing about this book is that I found myself wondering who was really supposed to be the beast, and who the beauty, because both Nyx and Ignifex have so many complicated layers to their character.

I had mixed feelings about the love triangle initially. The logic in me said “No! They’re dangerous!” and yet their was a burning curiosity about both Shade and Ignifex, which got the better of me, Before long I had fallen for both. They both had such different personalities, but both had this tenderness buried in them, and when it emerged in either I would swoon.

Cruel Beauty is a beautiful, dark, complex novel that has the potential to make you overflow with emotions of all sorts. I was angry and scared and confused, all for the characters who I grew attached to over the course of the novel. I cannot say enough about the cruel and beautiful power in this novel.


  1. What I loved most about Cruel Beauty were the characters, particularly Nyx and Ignifex. They were so complex, imperfect and just REAL to read about, and that translated well. Plus, the story gets really interesting a third of the way in! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  2. I am reading Cruel Beauty now and loving it.

  3. wow this sounds great i can't wait!! thank you

  4. I recently got this book, and after reading your review... I want to pick it up now and read until I finish it!


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