Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Hardcover (ebook/audio), 352 pages
Published: January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Fantasy > Mythology > Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Publisher - Print ARC
Reading Level: YA
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.
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Beauty and The Beast has always been one of my favorite movies. I felt I could relate to Bell since like me, she loves to me. (like we all do).
Seeing Bella fall in love with the beast was such a beautiful thing. Even though they are both two totally different people, love ended up conquering all. When I heard about Cruel Beauty I was extremely excited to read it and when I received an ARC on my doorstep late December I literally did a happy dance right there outside my door. I had it in my head that I would love this book and no matter how the author retold the story of Beauty and The Beast I would adore it never the less.
Well....that didn't exactly happen. Not that I didn't like it, I did but I found many different parts of the book that I really didn't care for. Now, I always try to begin my reviews with the positives but I feel before I get into what I DID like about the story I want to explain to you where and what I had problems with.
Nyx. She was one of main character in the story and who was to portray Bell. I just didn't like her at all for most of the book. She was rude, and her inner dialogue was so annoying. I felt she was constantly fighting with herself. She hated Ignifex. She loved Ignifex. Back and forth, back and forth. I understand that she was trying to make up her mind and heart but at the same thing she came across as being a tad whiny and shallow. There were some redeeming qualities I found in her character. Nyx was very strong will, a fighter. She never gave up on trying to end the curse.
The main thing I feel was a big issue for me was the snail-like pace in the beginning and middle of the book. There was more of Nyx's inner thoughts as well as the author telling us in intricate detail of the world around her and within the castle then actually dialog between the characters. This did improved greatly toward the end of the book and really helped pick up the reading pace. Often I was take breaks from reading because of this. I was always waiting for something "more" to happen in the story.
Now for the good things I liked about the book. I really enjoyed the growing relationship between Nyx and Ignifex, and between Nyx and "____". ( I can't tell you who without spoiling the book )
I loved seeing how Nyx went against everything she was taught to do and feel when it came to The Gentle Lord (Ignifex). She always felt like her family hated her and she was nothing more to them than a way to end the curse. I felt very sorry for her and the way she was treated, especially by her Father. Her feeling were all so raw and intense, this for me it gave the story much more of an engaging impact. Toward the ending more I was in fact fully captivated by the story and couldn't put it down until I found out what would happen. While it took me a while to get to this point in the book where I really enjoyed reading it it was worth it. The ending, both sad and sweet gave me a much better appreciation of it's slow start. The more I think about it I can somewhat appreciate why the author decide to take is slow and develop the characters and world around them.
All in all the story was very likable and was very much like the Beauty and Beast I know and love. The ending of course was a tearjerker, and one I won't soon forget. The romance between Nyx and Ignifex was my favorite part in the book. Very swoon-worthy.
Although Cruel Beauty did have it problems, I would most definitely recommend the book to fairy tale and fantasy fans alike.
I liked it a lot. Would recommend.