Grade: 4 Butterflies
Name: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: Hardcover, 352
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 love re-tellings, they are some of my favorite stories and books. So it is no surprise that I got my hands on this one and read it as fast as I could. In the end I really enjoyed this one. This book was really great and fun to read. However, there were a few problems I had with this story.
First off, the plot. I had serious mixed feelings for this plot. On one hand I really enjoyed reading this story, I liked the concept of it, I liked how it was executed, I liked reading it. However, the whole story of Beauty and the Beast is the romance. So even though the plot isn't just about the relationship I went into this one expecting a romance where they two people hate each other, but learn to love one another and at first I was disappointed. I was disappointed because until page 150 they didn't start falling in love with each other. We actually rarely saw Ignifex up until that point. So I was a little disappointed how long the romance took to even turn into romance.
With that said, I still enjoyed the plot. While I was a little disappointed I still thought the plot was great. And even though it took me a while to get into this story when I did really get into it I couldn't get out of it. It was thoroughly captivating and enchanting. The ending had me on the edge of my seat, I had to know if the author twisted it to that extreme or if they do get a happy ending. I stayed up way to late to finish this because I had to now how it would end. The only other thing about this plot is I figured out the 'mystery' at page 5o. I didn't figure out the how, when, or why until the end when it was revealed, but I did figure out the basic element of it at the way beginning.
Why I really enjoyed this book was because of the complex characters. This author has a talent for writing and developing characters. I loved how flawed she made these characters and how they accepted their flaws. It made them feel so much more realistic and relatable. At the beginning Nyx wants to love her family but all so feels is resentment and hatred towards them and you can't blame her. They are essentially sending her towards her death and they don't seem to care, at least her Father and her Aunt don't seem to care. If I was in her place I don't think I would be any different, not because I'm an awful person, but because It would be a natural reaction. So, I really appreciated how complex and realistic these characters turned out to be.
Last thing I would like to talk about is the romance. I've said I didn't like how long it took to really take off, but besides that I actually liked the romance. I love Nyx's and Ignifex's relationship. I liked how they bickered with each other, I loved reading their back and forth dialogue. They where just so cute together!! The one last problem I had with this book was that while they where good and amazing together their relationship didn't have much depth. We got to see them overcoming their first initial judgment of one another, but even with that I felt that their relationship lacked a lot of depth. Yo could tell they loved each other just not why.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this one. The plot was really great and the ending had my on the edge of my seat needing to know how it ended. Even though the ending was a little confusing, I felt like the author wrote it like that on purpose or that was just the least confusing way she could write it. Either way it didn't bother me all that much because the rest of the book was so enjoyable that it couldn't ruin the book for me. I would reccomend this one to any fantasy or fairy-tale retalling lover.
This book got....
Beloved, This is a really good book.