Cruel Beauty

Rosamund Hodge
The romance of Beauty and the Beast meets the adventure of Graceling in a dazzling fantasy novel about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday, when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is as she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband.Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.For fans of bestselling authors Kristin Cashore and Alex Flinn, this gorgeously written debut infuses the classic fairy tale with glittering magic, a feisty heroine, and a romance sure to take your breath away.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-12-07
|| ARC received from HarperTeen in conjunction with Shelf Awareness ||

This is the most conflicted I've ever felt about rating a book. There were so many things I liked and yet SO many things I didn't... I think I'll settle on 3.5 stars...?

Firstly, how is this like Graceling at all? Beauty and the Beast I get, but this was no Graceling. This is why I get upset when people make book comparisons and proclaim them to the world.

Secondly, why is there NO mention of mythology anywhere in this book's synopsis? It actually plays a pretty big part in the book and that's probably something people should know. It's a mix of fantasy and mythology. Absolutely.

And thirdly, just how in the world do I put what I just read together? I really did not like Nyx (the MC) for a vast majority of the book. Even in the end I didn't LIKE her but she got better. For much of the book she felt whiny, rude, and repetitive. She became a better person overall but I still wasn't a huge fan of her. Or any of the characters really (except Ignifex because HI, demon lord. Bad has never been so good (okay well it has but I love snarky "evil")).
The world building...... It COULD have been awesome -- I mean the castle was awesome. It sort of reminded me of the moving staircases in Harry Potter except the whole house kept changing, essentially. I loved the castle itself but as a part of the book... It just never seemed to all REALLY come together.
The plot and general idea of the book could have also been awesome too but I felt like the book was written in pieces and somehow these pieces just didn't quite all fit perfectly together. They all came back to create one story, but they didn't seem like they fit well.

And I'm upset with the ending. Everything seemed to happen so fast and yet not. It was not a satisfying ending and just didn't seem to work with how the rest of the book went.

Yeah, I think overall, the book just felt very pieced together. The characters didn't feel very developed. The world building could have totally blown me away but it felt very unfinished. Nothing felt cohesive. It was still an interesting read but this should have been a book that totally wowed me and it just didn't do that much at all.

Want to read my full review? (Yes, there's more) Check it out at The Book Addict's Guide!
Reviewed: 2015-10-19

This review was originally posted on the Children's Book and Media Review.

For 900 years, Arcadia has been ruled by the Gentle Lord, Ignifex—a powerful demon willing to bargain to grant his subjects wishes, but there are always unexpected costs. Nyx is the result of one of those bargains. In order to have children, her father agreed that one of his daughters would become Ignifex’s bride. The unexpected cost was his wife’s life. Determined for revenge against the Gentle Lord and free Arcadia from his cursed rule, Nyx’s father trained her to seduce, disarm, and kill her future husband. But when Nyx goes to live with Ignifex she discovers there is more to him than she could have possible imagined. As she searches for a way to destroy him, Nyx discovers she is falling in love with him. Eventually, she figures out how to save both Ignifex and Arcadia.

Cruel Beauty is a unique retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Rosamund Hodge creates a very detailed world, complete with its own culture and mythology. However, there are times where the world’s mythology gets in the way of the story instead of enhancing it. It is easy for the reader to get confused by the different myths and become disengaged with the story. But this is the book’s only weakness. The quick wit of the characters—particularly the banter between Ignifex and Nyx—is infectious. Hodge does an excellent job keeping the story interesting despite having several chapters where Nyx is simply wander around the castle. The relationship between Nyx and Ignifex poses some interesting moral questions about good and evil that would be great for discussions. Due to this and several conversations about sex, Cruel Beauty is best suited for more mature readers.

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