Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (2014)
YA Fiction | Romance | Paranormal
“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.”
pooled ink Review:
A very interesting blend of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast with Greek mythology. Interesting indeed. Did it work? Hmm…yes I suppose so. I would perhaps never have thought of such a mix but now that I find it written and read I find myself pleasantly surprised. Although most mythology, legends, and fairytales all resemble one another vaguely so perhaps pitting together two seemingly distant stories shouldn’t have come as such a strange idea after all.
I’ve seen a fair amount of reviews that attempt to compare Cruel Beauty with A Court of Thorns and Roses and now that I’ve read them both I feel that a bit unfair. While they’re both cousins to Beauty and the Beast they differ in almost every other way. Cruel Beauty took the classic fairytale and while it danced heavily in Greek mythology it remained true to its inspiration. ACOTAR however seems to have deviated quite far. At its heart yes, ACOTAR is a Beauty and the Beast re-telling but it incorporates so many different elements that it takes on a life of its own and I honestly feel that calling it a “re-telling” is asking a bit much. Cruel Beauty however remains dutifully so. Right, well, enough of that silly comparison argument everyone seems bent on having.
I found this story half-captivating, half-ho-hum. The writing was executed quite well and the creativity behind the story was enchanting but, hmm…I’m not sure but perhaps I was seeking something a bit…more? While I truly enjoyed reading this book (honest, I did) it only managed to keep me submerged in its world for all too brief moments of time. The castle gave me an Alice in Wonderland vibe which was a touch unexpected but very cool. I definitely enjoyed Ignifex’s character, and I suppose Nyx was an interesting puzzle as well but, hmm, it was just missing something. That’s all total opinion of course, I’ve read several raving reviews for this book and for that I am happy. But I’m not going to lie and say that this book has become the light of my life, for it has not.
Perhaps the story felt a bit rushed? Or perhaps not… Perhaps it was not multi-dimensional enough? Or perhaps not… No no no. None of that is it. I struggle to place my finger upon it but something was missing. As I said before, Hodge is a skilled writer with an avid imagination and a river of creativity and I know that this book dwells in a special place in several readers’ hearts but alas, in mine it does not quite. I’m glad I read it, I enjoyed reading it, but I’m ready to dive into another book and move on.
Beauty and the Beast is okay. I mean, honestly, isn’t that the dream and nature of most women? To try and change a man? To fall in love with a dark, handsome, mysterious, and dangerous stranger and to have him, despite all his darkness and armor, fall infinitely in love with you? To have this man who could kill you so easily instead do anything and everything in his power to love and protect you? To change for you? To reach for the sun and the moon and the stars for you? Gah, it’s a beautiful fairytale and one many women (myself not excluded) swoon over. So for this I will always love a Beauty and the Beast re-telling.
Greek mythology? Hmm…I do enjoy mythology very much, actually, but for whatever reason (I honestly do not know what) I’ve never found much interest in Greek mythology. Celtic? Nordic? Native American? Slavic? Latin? Yes. Roman? Maybe. Greek? No, not really. And perhaps it is this that keeps me from falling in love with this book…?
Unimportant. I babble. I’d apologize for my babbling if I did not already forewarn my readers with my blog’s description “Honest babble about books.”
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is an exquisitely unique re-telling of a classic fairytale with an ancient Greek twist. Love, betrayal, gods, demons, riddles and bargains fill the pages until they are overflowing in crimson. Brand new and yet quite old this story will strike fire into the hearts of soft readers all.
Purchase here: Cruel Beauty
Similar recommended reads: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Meet Rosamund Hodge!
I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. I write YA fantasy that draws on two of those things. My next novel is BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE (09/16), the first in a two-volume series about Romeo and Juliet and necromancers.