Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
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.
The moment I found out about Cruel Beauty I was excited! I might be 19 but I have the heart of a 6 year old, so when I saw that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast I fangirled my little heart out. The synopsis alone sounded so cool, and Nyx sounded badass! But 5% in and I knew that sadly, this book was not for me.
I think my main problem with this book was that I went into it thinking that it was a direct retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which it is not. I feel that if I went into only thinking that it was just a fantasy novel I would have enjoyed it a little more than I did. I kept waiting for a single scene that would scream Beauty and the Beast and It never came.
Nyx wasn’t the badass, strong heroine I had Imagined her to be, she was actually a whiny, annoying girl. Now given her situation I totally understand why she would be acting the way she was. But after thirty pages of whining I wanted to smack her. I mean her situation sucks, and her father is a jerk but really wanted to just scream at her and tell her to suck it up, to believe in herself, to stop crying and just deal with it. The hatred and resentment she carried around with her was frustrating. Nyx blamed her sister for so much, the last thing Nyx said to her before her wedding was heartbreaking and unnecessary. And while a part of me was rooting for Nyx to stop pushing everything down and SAY something, instead of using her words to communicate her feeling she used them to make her sister feel like crap! There were times in the book that I would see a glimmer of the Nyx I wanted her to be, where she would be strong and feisty but then she would start whining again.
This book also didn’t work for me because there is a love triangle. I usually don’t mind love triangles as long as they work and don’t feel unnecessary; this love triangle was not only unnecessary it was unrealistic. The romance didn’t feel real, there was no spark or chemistry, It felt more like two lonely people looking for comfort.The triangle to me was just stupid and the only thing it did was give Nyx something else to whine about. There was extreme insta-love I mean within two chapters of meeting the guy Nyx was saying how much she loved him, I’m so over of insta-love.
I had extremely high expectations for this book and while this book didn’t work for me, I can see how it would work for other people. The writing is lyrical and beautiful! Rosamund Hodge has extreme talent and I look forward to seeing what she’ll write next. If you can get past the fact of how mean and annoying Nyx is then you might actually like her. Nyx can be strong, fierce, and self-sacrificing, and while she is extremely flawed there is something admirable about her.
Overall, this book wasn’t bad it just wasn’t the right book for me. It just wasn’t what I expected it to be. I expected to be a re-telling but its actually more of a mythological fairy tale, so keep that in mind if you plan on picking this book up!