ARC Review | Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 4:00 AM

Format: e-ARC

Source: Edelwiess
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Pages: 352
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

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.

This book has been on my radar for quite some time and I was extremely excited to start reading it. I haven't read a Beauty and the Beast retelling and to be honest I don't really know how the Beauty and the Beast story goes as I've never read the book (is there a book?) or watched the movie, or if I did watch the movie when I was younger, I don't remember. Anyway, my point is that I really didn't know what to expect going in to this book but luckily I immediately got sucked into this world and did not come up for air until the end.

What I Liked:

* Nyx - From the moment I met Nyx, I immediately felt so bad for her. Here is a girl who has known her entire life that she would be wed to a demon lord when she turned seventeen. Her father made a deal before she was born and Nyx was the price for that deal. While Nyx has accepted her fate, she still feels so much anger at her family, and I can't say that I blame her. But she's also very strong willed.

* The Setting - I loved how the castle wasn't just an ordinary castle and opening up the same door today could take you someplace completely new. I love when things aren't as they seem and trust me, there's a lot of that in this book.

* Ignifex - Ok, so I wasn't sure what to think of him at first but he eventually grew on me. Once we learn his story and how he came to be the Gentle Lord, it was kind of hard not to feel anything for him.

* The Twists - Like I said above in the Setting part, everything in this book isn't as it seems. When you think you have something figured out, you will get hit in the face with the truth and I'm not sure about everyone else but a lot of the twists in this book, I didn't seem coming which is just how I like it.

What I Didn't Like:

* The only thing that bothered me while I was reading this book is that the romance felt kind of fast. It wasn't really insta-love in the fact that she didn't declare her love moments after meeting her husband but it did feel a bit fast.

Cruel Beauty is a wonderful debut novel that I would recommend not only to fans of fairytale retellings but also to the people who aren't that into them. Hodge's writing is beautiful and I hope to read more of her work in the future.

Thanks to Balzer & Bray for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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