Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

CruelBeautyCruel Beauty
(Cruel Beauty Universe, #1)
By: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: Jan. 28 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy

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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…

Cruel Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. However, unlike BatB, this “Belle”, Nyx, is not kind. She has a darkness inside of her that has been festering away for years. Maybe it’s because since she was born she was sort of the cast-away child, a pawn if you will. Her father made a bargain with the Gentle Lord (demon lord) for his wife to conceive, which she did. However, she died while giving birth to twins. The payment for her father’s bargain was that one of his children would marry the Gentle Lord when she became of age. Since she could remember, she’s been trained to take down the Gentle Lord while her twin had been doted on and loved. So when the time comes for Nyx to marry the Gentle Lord, kill him, and free her people, she does so knowing she’s going to die.

This was a really interesting story. There was so much darkness in this story and I loved it. I mean, our heroine is not a pure of heart person. She has a lot of rage inside of her and it matches the Gentle Lord, Ignifex, perfectly. He’s a bit more of a jokester while still carrying out his duty as the Gentle Lord but he shows her a bit of kindness here an there while still showing his darker side as well. Meanwhile, we have Shade which is Ignifex’s shadow and slave. He seems kind at first but also has his own motives in the hopes of being free of the Gentle Lord. Add onto that the Shadows that will literally suck out your soul and leave you a dried husk if you look at them, the cursed house that changes all the time, Nyx’s mission to free her people, and the impending doom of whether or not she succeeds, and you have one hell of a story.

I really liked that there was no perfect person in this story. There was no hero. You weren’t really sure who to root for the entire time. Is Ignifex just misunderstood? Is Shade really the bad person in all of this? Is Nyx worthy of being the heroine of the story? Do the people of Arcadia really deserve to be saved? The title was absolutely perfect. Not only does it pertain to the characters within but the story as a whole was a cruel and yet beautiful story.


Favorite quote…

“You fought and fought to keep all the cruelty locked up in your head, and for what? None of them ever loved you, because none of them ever knew you”



3 Thoughts on “Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  1. I <3 retellings, especially when the author goes their own way with it. I'm going to have to read this. Thanks!

  2. I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m rediscovering the YA genre and have slowly started reading/catching up on series that I passed up on in the past. I guess the “Twilight” fever is over, simpering heroines and romantically driven fantasies, bleh. I’m happy to see more badassery in YA like we usually find in UF. Will try this next, hopefully my library has it.

  3. Sounds super interesting. No hero? I don’t think I have ever read a book like that.

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