Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
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.
I read so many good reviews about this book that I was expecting it to be the best book ever… well, not for me.
I found myself disappointed by how slow the first 5 chapters were, then it picked up but got stuck yet again until chapter 9 when Ignifex finally suspected Nyx was up to something and locked her with his other wives. From there it had its ups and downs but never quite got my interest.
Things I love:
I like that Nyx is strong, angry and brave; she’s flawed and knows it. I love that she couldn’t help to inject some of her poison into Astraia. I like that she’s courageous enough to double cross Ignifex regretting every second of that betrayal. She is gentle and cannot ignore someone’s pain even if that someone is evil. She was prepared to serve as a weapon and has every intention of fulfilling that duty.
I absolutely loved the magical feeling of Ignifex’s home. It’s a shifting castle with a mood of its own with its beautiful ballrooms, grand library and magical feasts; it has a lot of secrets to hide but also horrors waiting to be discovered. It made me want to run around the house opening every door and looking for every key. I also liked how Arcadia was separated from the world by a curse and never expected where it truly was.
I love mythology so I enjoyed the Greek references.
- I hate everything about Astraia and I can’t stop saying how much I dislike her selfish, egotistical and entitled being. She has been loved and protected from the truth since she was born and yet shows no compassion or understanding on why her sister could have said things so harsh to her but instead believes she has the right to ask Nyx for something in order to forgive her.
- I hate how Leonidas was into something with Telomache and still thought them dumb enough not to notice, it’s insulting.
- I don’t think Nyx plotted enough to kill the bad guy, I expected her to go all Celaena Sardothien on him: to finalize a plan that failed so she could plot some more… but I guess she was easily distracted by Shade and busy acting like a boat adrift.
- Since the plan to kill the gentle lord with Hermetic Sciences wasn’t even tested by Nyx I didn’t fully grasp the Author’s need to mention them in the first place, it just made things confusing.
- I would have liked Ignifex to work his butt off to get Nyx’s love; he’s the bad guy after all, he had to really earn it.
Anyway I personally just found it boring, it never managed to catch my interest and I’m glad it’s over so I can shelve it as I-don’t-want-to-see-it-again.