Author: Rosamund Hodge
Category/Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mythology/Fairy Tale Re-telling, Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2014
See it at Goodreads
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 is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. That much is noticeable right away as the story begins with a daughter arranged to be married to the town’s mysterious and rumored villain--a hermit that lives amongst a run-down castle off in the distance. Sounds a bit like our traditional tale in many ways from that start, but there are also notable differences that made it stand apart and give the story its own voice. There are bits and pieces I thoroughly enjoyed, and things I nearly loathed enough to almost put the book down at times.
For me, this was one of those reads that I found a "likeable enough" middle-ground and by the end, I couldn’t get past that little hump to say that I either loved it or hated it. It was an enjoyable read that I can honestly say was hard to put down, which is why I couldn’t find myself marking this as DNF like I almost wanted to in a few areas. My biggest problems were the characters and romance... and though that sounds like a large problem for the reading, it wasn’t really since it was such a complex story. I must say that I really loved the writing style and the overall story with the crafted mythology. It was what held my attention until the very end and left me caring just enough to find out what was going to happen next.
And there is an unusual mythology in Cruel Beauty that I felt was different than I was used to reading so it made everything feel unique and interesting. I wish it’d been a bit more touched on rather than making the romance such a focus--and at times making things feel so instantaneous, which was just uncomfortable. I didn’t get that, to be honest, but to each their own.
So, by the end, I wasn’t as wowed as I’d hoped to be unfortunately. But I was satisfied that it’d still ended up being a fast and entertaining read with a compulsive quality to it. I was also happy that it still left off being memorable, and I know I’ll gladly read more of this author’s work in the future. A nice rendition of the Beauty and the Beast tale, but from my perspective it wasn’t quite the potential it could’ve been. I still would gladly recommend this title to anyone interested or lovers of this classic story. :)