Cruel Beauty
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Fantasy>Mythology, Retellings, Fantasy>Magic, Paranormal>Demons
Pages: 342

Summary:
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.

My Thoughts: (watch out for minor spoilers)
This book is a blend of Beauty and the Beast retelling and Greek Mythology. Mythological stories are told throughout, especially those dealing with the Underworld.

Cruel Beauty was gorgeously written, powerful and dark. It may not appeal to some readers but I really liked its plot.

The setting took place in an alternate world called “Arcadia” where magic, demons and the kindly ones existed. The information regarding Arcadia seemed blurred at the first pages of the book for so many things were illustrated and it may be a bit overwhelming but everything gets better and I was able to picture out this wonderful world.

The characters in Cruel Beauty were flawed but still I found them very compelling.

Starting off with the heroine, Nyx, I expected too much from her. She was trained to kill the Gentle Lord ever since she was a kid so I kind of pictured her out as an assassin, but instead I got a lot of illicit kissing and falling in love. Not that I didn’t expect that in this book but I had higher hopes. Nevertheless, I think she was very brave and strong-willed. Also, she was bitter, jealous and ferocious, making her a great protagonist of this book.

Then, there we have Ignifex, the Gentle Lord. The one Nyx was betrothed to and trained to kill. Instead of being a monstrous villain, all he ever was is a charming bastard and has a wicked sense of humor. I swear, he was nothing like a villain. The are so much more about him and I’ll just leave them for you to discover. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to be spoiled.

Cruel Beauty was so unexpected that it would blow your mind. I enjoyed reading it so much. It’s too good to be a stand-alone novel. The plot and the characters were great. Nothing was ever simple or cliché. I rated this book 4/5 stars.

My favorite quotes from the book:

“Duty is bitter to taste but sweet to drink.”

“The name of the light is in the darkness.”

“But we’ll pretend we know how to love. And someday we’ll learn.”

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