Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


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.


My rating:

I'm honest when I say I'm surprised at my rating, because when I started this book, I was so sure I was going to hate it... but I didn't.

This is another retelling of Beauty and the Beast (with Greek mythology). So many things could have gone wrong with this, but thankfully they didn't. Just before I read this, I had finishedA Court of Thorns and Roses, which, if you ask me, was a huge disappointment and was more a retelling of Cinderella thanBeauty and the Beast.

Basically, the story follows Nyx, who's about to be married to the Gentle Lord – a demon who makes bargains and always gets what he wants – because of a bargain her father made before she and her twin sister were born. Their mother died giving birth to them and Nyx was offered (since a baby) to the Gentle Lord as his betrothed.

Now she's seventeen and the bargain must be fulfilled, so she has to marry him, but she hates him. She's always hated him because of he taking advantage of people and well, wouldn't you also? I mean, she basically has to marry the monster who killed her mother. Now she's made a promise to her family to get rid of him.

Nyx is what I want in a YA protagonist. She's brave, strong, bitter and can get angry pretty easily. She also has poison in her heart. Sometimes she could think not-so-beautiful things about her family because of what they did to her, or about her sister for always being the favorite. She didn't fall immediately for the beast – rather, she tried to kill him many times – and when she did, her character was still the same – meaning, he didn't change her into a “better” person.

As this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, there should obviously be a beast. The beast was Ignifex, the Gentle Lord. This was one of the things that could have gone wrong in the story. When reading retellings, there are some things that must stay true to the original story – otherwise they would not be retellings. In this one, perhaps the most importants are:

1. The beauty trapped with the beast. Duh.

2. The beast. Which has to be a freaking beast, not an effing chivalrous handsome guy.

3. The romance. This is basically the point of this story. How can a woman fall in love with someone that she hates so much? With this tale, you can know one of the answers.

4. The curse. Or something that explains why the beast is like he is or why he looks how he looks etc.

And you know what? This book did justice to all of the previous points!

1. Because Nyx was indeed captive in the castle. She could wander some parts of it, but she was a prisoner. 

2. Because Ignifex was damn cruel and beastly. The things he did were not charming at all! (Unlike Tamlin from ACOTAR, which was not a beast at all *snorts*)

3. Because there was no insta-love, and the change is gradual. And even after she fell for him, there were parts where she felt she was betraying herself.

4. Because it is indeed a curse and not something silly.

Okay, but this was not perfect. I wanted more action; you know, more badassery. This book was a little too romantic for my taste – that's why I was surprised I liked it at all. Even when there's no insta-love and the relationship grows not too fast, this book was romance-heavy and I rarely tend to like books like that. Still, I enjoyed this.

Another thing I really liked about this was the gothic feel. Hell, how could I not like that? Basically, all my favorite books have that dark and gothic atmosphere – and this one was not missing it. The castle was lonely and big; there were some rooms containing things that might not be pleasant to see (but they certainly are a pleasure to read), etc. But I loved that.

So, in the end, this was a great surprise and I can't wait to read Crimson Bound. I truly recommend this book and I hope you read it.


  1. I didn't really get a huge Beauty and the Beast vibe from this one, either. I really loved Nyx as a main character too--she was strong and yet realistic. Oh, and Gothic books seem to worm their way into my heart easily. ;)

    So glad you loved this, Vane! Crimson Bound (for me) was ten times better. Awesome review. :)

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    1. Yay! Thank you! I'm expecting to like better Crimsom Bound - it sounds more like my kind of book than this one. I hope I like it.

      P.S.: Gothic books are the best. ;)

  2. Isn't it great to finally get a female protagonist that isn't just perfect??

    1. Yes, it's great! Perfection can get boring after some time.