Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel BeautyTitle: Cruel Beauty 
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray 
Publishing Date: January 28th 2014
Pages: 346
Genre:  YA Fairytale Retelling/Gothic Horror
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe #1
Source: Audio


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.

I was so totally excited about this book. Love everything at first glance. Love the title, love the cover, love the summary. What's not to love right. I wasn't disappointed. The book was everything I expected and more. It was dark, it was romantic, it was exciting, it was a bit creepy, it was beautiful. 

Nyx was promised, by her father, as a payment for a bargain he made with a monster, a demon, someone that has entrapped their land and is seen as pure evil. Nyx will marry him when she becomes of age. Which she does and is dropped off at his front door. She isn't just to marry him but is expected to conquer him, kill him, even if it means killing herself in the process. Once she gets to the castle, Nyx finds that things aren't that simple and the demon, Ignifex isn't what she thought him to be. She embarks on a journey inside the house to find what she needs to destoy him. She has a bit of help from Shadow, which is well a shadow. What Nyx doesn't expect to happen, her hesitation in defeating the monster who has enslaved her or the fact that she may be just as evil on the inside. 

I am not sure where to begin with this review. I know without a doubt I am over the tops in love with this book, the characters, the story line, the writing, the setting, it was all just superb, out of this world, magnificent, lovely, an so many more words I could use to describe the wonderfulness of this book. So I may run on a bit and possibly get off track because this book totally muddled my brain. 

One of my favorite things about this book was the writing. The writing was just beautiful, dark, poetic. I loved the flow and fluidity of the words. I am not one that talks about the writing much, except to say if I liked it or not. The writing in this book made the book for me. The writing style gave the book character of its own. I felt I was in another world, a world of its own, a world I loved. 

The goodness doesn't stop there. The story line was very alluring, romantic, and very mythical. I love Beauty and the Beast. It is my favorite fairy tale and I was really happy to see the dark come back into play. I also love Greek mythology or any mythology really, and I felt the mixture of mythology with fairy tale was genius. I couldn't think of a better fairy tale than Beauty and the Beast for this particular mixture. It brought on the dark and gave the story a great Gothic feel. Not only was there mythology but there was also fairies. More dark, more horror, more awe. 

The romance as also spectacular for me. There was a bit of insta love, but to me, it belongs in fairy tales. So I actually really loved the romance. It wasn't sweet and loving, it was passionate and frightening, grim, tragic. It fit with the characters very well. There was a bit of love triangle but not really. It all made sense in the end and felt like it was meant to fall just as it did. 

The characters were a love hate relationship. I loved and hated everyone of them and they will remain some of my favorite characters in many books to come. The main character Nyx was a very strong and determined girl. She knew her destiny and she accepted it. She didn't accept it well though. She hated her father, was bitter towards her sister, and was angry at her aunt. She accepted her purpose but despised it every inch of the way. It wasn't until Ignifex and shadow drew out her dark emotions that she started to accept things as they were and started to see so much more of everything else. She did have issues with self pity but that changed throughout the story. 

I really loved Ignifex. I know he was the bad guy, supposed to be evil and all that, but really he wasn't all that. He had more than one side to him and even though he was a bit unpredictable, I saw through his charades and fell for him. Every now and again his ugliness would show and I would wan to slap him, but he seemed to always redeem himself in some way. Although his redeeming qualities weren't the best either, I could see there was so much more underneath the horrid stuff. 

Shadow was another main character. I liked him enough. He had some pretty dark secrets, I knew from the beginning he wasn't who he tried to come off as. A nice guy. He was sweet but he had also had a dark side. I didn't quite connect to him as well as I did Ignifex, but I still very much liked him, he was a very wondrous part of the story. 

The pacing was just right, the book was slow but only in the sense I didn't feel rushed. There was so much to take in and enjoy I appreciated the slowness of things happening. I was able to savor it all. It was a bit predictable, but um its a retelling so yeah that would happen. It was a great spin to a classic fairy tale. 

This book will forever own a part of my heart. I will read and re- read, and probably memorize this book. 

Rosamund Hodge

Rosamund Hodge grew up as a homeschooler in Los Angeles, where she spent her time reading everything she could lay hands on, but especially fantasy and mythology. She got a BA in English from the University of Dallas and an MSt in Medieval English from Oxford, and she now lives in Seattle with seven toy cats and a plush Cthulhu. Visit her on the web at http://www.rosamundhodge.net/


  1. I have noticed with this book it seems that you either love it or hate it. I haven't seen many in between reviews. I am currently reading it and not loving it but not hating it..at 62% in I am thinking it's not going to be a love it read. I wanted it to be though as I love B&B. :(

  2. I really liked this one too! Nyx is such a great character! And I agree, I didn't like Shade as much as I wanted to but oh well. Anyway, awesome review!

  3. Really you felt there was insta love? I didn't think there was. I mean I know she attached quickly to Shade but I felt that was meant to seem shallow because it was. I'm still glad you love it as much as I did!! Sneaky Shade...

  4. Fabulous review! You have me wanting to start this immediately!! I was worried about the pacing; but now I just know I'm going to adore this story, and I'm fully prepared to let it own a piece of my heart. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.


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