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.
I’m really struggling to think straight right now because I’m feeling a bit like I’ve been hit by a semi and I’m being crushed by one of those car crusher things. So to make things easier for all of us I’m going to break things down into a list of what I loved and what just didn’t work for me.
– The general concept. The general concept was really cool and very original!
-The combination of elements. I loved that while it was a retelling, Rosamund Hodge twisted the original story up more than most authors have, and threw in Greek mythology (my favorite).
-The romance. It was utterly adorable! Sweet, sexy, and well paced, even with a bit of a love triangle going on, it was well done.
– Ignifex. Oh my goodness I loved him to bits and pieces! He was sexy, sweet in actuality, and made me giggle out loud! All the parts with him involved were amazing! Even though he was supposed to be the bad guy, I loved him from the start!
-The writing was good. The writing and world building were enjoyable and at a good level.
-The plot was also decent. The ending was quite good and the mind-bend moment was pretty cool. Over all it had a good arc.
What DIDN’T Work:
-The random dumping of every part of Greek mythology ever. This was an issue mostly in the beginning, but it was still extremely annoying. There was a huge amount of info dumping (most of it unnecessary) and all of it was just random bits of Greek mythology that we didn’t need to know, like explaining about Helios’s chariot pulling the sun and such. It was distracting and I spent a lot of the book confused.
-The big reveal was about as obvious as it gets. The entire book, Hodge pretty much flat-out tells the reader over and over again what the answer is and what the big reveal will be. Predictability like that is not a plus. Hints are ok but not ones that make the entire thing obvious.
– All the rest of the characters. I hated all of the characters other than Ignifex. They were all horrible people! Even Nyx. I never wanted to root for her, not really. I did root for love at the end and while Nyx was involved, I was never really rooting for her. She and the other characters were so filled with hate and they lacked all the qualities that made readers love and support them. Don’t even get me started on Astraia! She went from one extreme personality to another I didn’t even know what she was really like! Sadly this was true for too many of the characters. They had muddy and confused personalities, keeping me from connecting with them.
Overall, I was severely disappointed by this book. While it had it’s glory moments, I spent most of the time confused or annoyed. I was unimpressed and vexed. This one just did not work out for me.
Two out of five stars. While I wouldn’t recommend it based on my expereince a lot of other people really really loved it! (And I really trust those peoples’ opinions and rarely disagree with them like this.) So, if it sounds good to you, I’d say you should still give it a shot!