Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publication date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC provided by publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!)
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.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
Cruel Beauty is a bewitching retelling of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. With a touch of Greek mythology, the story’s original concept provides a fresh insight in giving unique twists to timeless tales and making them brand new.
Rosamund Hodge’s writing thrums with gracefulness and vitality. Her words are lyrical and alive, enchanting readers until the last word. The beginning of the story may be a bit slow. However, it is worth reading because it deals with the backstory of Arcadia, the riveting fictional setting of Cruel Beauty. I’m amazed by the rich and imaginative world-building of this book. Gripping and believable, the history of Arcadia really supported the intricate details of the magical lore it’s enclosed in. It supplies answers to questions that arise as you read along.
Surrounded with a supernatural, mysterious atmosphere, the plot is a wonderful piece of art. Each scene is thoroughly presented and well put together. What I also like about Cruel Beauty is the unpredictability of events. I had no idea what was going to happen next and it really made reading the book a thrilling experience.
The characters are remarkable. Gorgeously flawed, they exhibit realistic traits that help readers understand their nature and way of thinking. Nyx is a complex character, overwhelmed with fury and resentment. But in spite of that, she’s a fearless and compassionate person whom I grew to admire as the story progressed. Nyx’s determination to fulfill her mission of saving Arcadia is the factor that renders her courageous. She could be annoying at times with her thoughts of jealousy and indignation but really, she’s a character worthy of appreciation.
Up next is Shade, who plays a huge role in the unraveling of secrets in the story. He’s an intriguing character and readers are sure to be surprised to discover the truth about him. Last but not the least is Ignifex, the handsome and attractive “Gentle Lord”, whom all of Arcadia is afraid of. His charm has a dark, magnetic, sinister feel that sends electricity traveling through your veins. Yet beneath Ignifex’s mask of glamour lies a tortured soul. Shrouded in darkness, he struggles to break free from a curse that keeps him trapped in a world of evil and suffering. Falling in love with Nyx may be the most amazing thing that happened to him, with high hopes of seeing the light again.
Cruel Beauty is a love story that hypnotizes in cruel yet beautiful ways. This book is too good to be missed!