Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe
Publication Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
Her mission was to kill him. Her destiny was to love him.
Well. That was different.
Disneys Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favorite fairy tales. Ever since I was a little girl Ive been in love with Belle, and as Ive gotten older Ive realized that perhaps it has a lot to do with how bookish Belle is. I mean come on? Her favorite pass time is reading, and when the beast shows her the castles library she is enamored! I would be too! Anyway, when I heard there would be a new Beauty and the Beast retelling, I knew Id buy that sucker and devour it. And devour it, I did! Rosamund Hodges paints a vividly real world with subtle and very well-crafted similarities to the Beauty and the Beast tale we know and love.
Cruel Beauty is definitely not your typical fairy tale. For one, the protagonist isnt this sweet, optimistic, happy-go-lucky gal. At all. No, Nyx is sarcastic and bitter and hateful and vulnerable all at the same time. Living in her sisters shadow, knowing that she would be sacrificed for her people has seriously blackened Nyxs heart. Carrying around the knowledge that your father easily gave up your life can do that to a person. The only one who has ever loved herand love is a relative termis her twin sister, and even that relationship is majorly flawed. Nyxas much as she doesnt want tohates her sister for being completely oblivious to the truth, and her father, for giving up her life so easily and without remorse.
I wasnt born to be saved.
Nyxs journey begins inside the walls of the Gentle Lords castle. Sent to kill the Gentle Lord and liberate her people, Nyx goes head-first into her marriage knowing she will most likely die. Still, its been ingrained into her that she must defeat the Gentle Lord at any cost. What ensures next is a witty game of cat and mouse. Ignifix is unlike anyone Nyx has ever met. With the face, body, and characteristics of a human, its rather easy for Nyx to overlook the fact that hes a demon. And as much as she knows hes evil, shes strangely curious and fiercely attracted to him. I thoroughly enjoy reading about dysfunctional relationships and Hodge does not disappoint in that manner. Both Nyx and Ignifix are tainted in darkness in one way or another, and thats something Nyx struggles with throughout the novel. Once she learns to accept those hateful parts of herself is she able to love and accepts Ignifexs darkness.
Dont look at the shadows too long or a demon might look back.
I dont want to give too much away, but I will say this: Hodges world-building was incredibly beautiful. The storyline she crafted was definitely a unique and intriguing one. Not only does she work a fairy tale retelling, she also incorporates a great deal of Greek mythology into her story and it worked beautifully. Dark and captivating, Cruel Beauty is a thoroughly enticing read, filled with a wicked sort of love story that just grabs a hold of you. I definitely cannot wait to see whats next for Rosamund Hodge!
You deserve all that and more. It made me happy to see you suffer. I would do it all over again if I could. I realized I was shaking as the words tumbled out of me. I would do it again and again. Every night I would torment you and laugh. Do you understand? You are never safe with me. I drew a shuddering breath, trying to will away the sting of tears.
He opened his eyes and stared up at me as if I were the door out of Arcadia and back to the true sky. Thats what makes you my favorite. He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. Every wicked bit of you.
Cant get enough of the Cruel Beauty universe?
Check out Hodges digital novella, Gilded Ashes, a Cinderella retelling!