Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
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.
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.
Cruel Beauty is a fairytale like no other. Think the grandeur of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland meets ancient Greek mythology. Or something like that. The minute I started reading, I couldn’t get enough. It’s like the book itself was laced with ancient magic. And I think a huge portion of that has to do with Hodge’s writing.
It was compulsively readable. I was in that same atmosphere when I was reading Megan Shepherd’s The Madman’s Daughter, which is an amazing book by the way, go check it out. The tone of the novel was very dark and gloomy yet it was absolutely scrumptious.
Nyx Triskelion is the female heroine of the year. Well, at least for me. She was so unapologetic. She didn’t try to cover up her resentment towards her sister or the fact that she’s insufferable. She knows it and she doesn’t need us to yell at her. Another aspect I loved about Nyx is she’s not afraid. She’s not afraid of what she wants; she’s not afraid of facing whatever darkness lurks at the Gentle Lord’s house.
Speaking of the Gentle Lord, Ignifex was as complicated as his bargains were. He has a lot of layers; he’s never black or white. And I think that’s his most appealing characteristic. He also vaguely reminded me of the Darkling from The Grisha trilogy.
On to the most scintillating and beguiling aspect of the novel which is the romance. Nyx and Ignifex’s relationship was like a bowl of heartbreak and happiness. You’re absolutely happy yet you’re left with this feeling of wrongness and tragedy that you can’t help but groan out loud. But it’s the dynamic of their relationship that makes it so beautiful. I can’t describe it because it won’t be enough. JUST UGH GO READ IT.
There’s also some really interesting mythology and fantasy going around. I think the world building and the story’s culture and history was pushed to the background to give way for the romance. I hope Rosamund Hodge writes like a history textbook for her universe because it’s really awesome. Like really.
I’m excited to check out more books from this author because she can really tell a story so enchantingly. And I think you all know what to do: pick up this book and read read read read.