Cruel Beauty

By Rosamund Hodge
Published on January 28, 2014
Published by Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss
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 a very specific feel to it.  It is the feel I got when I read Keturah and Lord Death and Wake Unto Me.  Obviously they are all books about the same thing, but it was the WAY that they are written that really is what spoke to me.  They both are written in a way that is both spooky and beautiful.  They hint more than they just tell- the reader really has to fill in between the lines. 

I think that the comparing this book to Beauty and the Beast will honestly hurt it.  Yes I get that she is being married against her will.  But Cruel Beauty doesn't need comparisons to that fairy tale or Graceling (and I'll be honest... what?  They aren't even similar!), it is a good enough book to stand on its own.  If you are looking for Graceling or B&B, I am sad to say that you probably will be disappointed.  So please... ignore that and just read Cruel Beauty for what it is.

I will admit, the book started slow.  It didn't pick up until Nyx and Ignifex really started to get to know each other.  After that the romance and the book took off.  I loved the weird love triangle.  I can't go into detail about it, but although I had already figured out what was going to happen (like any good fairy tale), it was still fun to see it unfold.  The Epiologue was hands down my favorite part  *happy sigh*.

I only have one beef with Cruel Beauty, with a ton of 2014 books actually.  WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MESS WITH BABIES AND KIDS?  I think that the authors know that if they write about babies and children that they will tear my heart out and stomp on it.  That is all.

I digress.  Read Cruel Beauty.  Read it again- loan it to a friend and force them to read it.  It was just that good.

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