Hi! I’m so sorry to disappear into thin air for the last 4 months but
‘you know, life happened.’
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publication: January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, 346 pages
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.
Generally, I enjoyed Cruel Beauty but towards the end of the book things got… confusing. I don’t get the ending. Cruel Beauty is unlike any other Beauty and the Beast retellings- it’s twisted and darker (and definitely way better than some other retellings).
Meet Nyx, the other daughter of some rich guy. She’s bitter and angry for being forced to marry the Gentle Lord (a.k.a Ignifex) And she’s one of the most bad-ass and complex female character I’ve ever read.
You may ask: in most YA books today, the female characters are bad-ass too, so how is Nyx any different from the rest?
Most female characters I’ve read are physically and mentally overpowering (therefore thrashing anyone in her way without sweating). And those characters rarely failed at anything. In addition, they have perfect manners, perfect looks, perfect everything. Basically, they’re Mary Sues with Superman powers.
Nyx, on the other hand, makes mistakes, suffers, fails, and picks herself up to fight again.She never waits for a knight in a shining armour to come and save her. Neither does she have Superman powers. That’s what, I feel, makes Nyx stands out from the crowd of god-like females.
Ignifex is definitely one of the best ‘villain’ and lead male character I’ve ever read. He’s one of the few, but rising in number, villain who is sarcastic and absolutely humorous.
Cruel Beauty is set in Ancient Greece (or somewhere between Ancient Greek and Roman Empire), on an island called Arcadia. Which is separated from the rest of the world by some demonic magic.
The setting is vague and confusing, but it gets much better when it comes Gentle Lord’s magic mansion.
Before Nyx enters Gentle Lord’s mansion: Brilliant. Fantastic. Awesome.
The few chapters after Nyx enters the mansion: Good. Decent.
After the few chapters and Ending: 9 words: I don’t know what the hell is going on.
To elaborate: there’s just way too much infodump, twists (that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel the plot just keeps twisting until I’m not sure where it’s going anymore), and romance.
You may be thinking: ‘But it’s ROMANCE novel! Of course there will be romance!’
Well, I thought Cruel Beauty will offer something MORE than plain ol’ romance. (It’s also a FANTASY novel!) Like, you know, fighting. Or at least something more interesting than wandering around the mansion/ kissing every time the love interests meet each other.
I don’t know quite understand the ending and I feel it doesn’t line up with the rest of the story.
The second half of the book was quite confusing (for me, anyway) but other than that, Cruel Beauty is a good Beauty and the Beast retelling (Fresh premise! Some Greek mythologies!). Recommended!