Published by HarperCollins on January 28, 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, High Fantasy, Love & Romance, Retelling, Young Adult
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.
A tale as old as time.
Oh God, the love I have for this book! As I’m writing this, I literally just finished reading it in one sitting at midnight, so excuse me as I collect my thoroughly gasted flabber off the floor and turn it back into a brain. I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting when I dove into Cruel Beauty, but I know it wasn’t this. And for once, that’s a good thing!So I’m a giant fan of retellings. And when I say giant, I mean giant. Add in Beauty and the Beast? It just got better and better! The tale as old as time is one of my favorites and one of the more commonly retold stories–but it’s so, so, so hard to get right. But I can say with absolute certainty that Rosamund Hodge is a genius author whose brilliance can not go unheeded.Hodge is a wonder with words, something that you can easily see through her debut. I fell in love with the first chapter and couldn’t let go after until I’d read everything and was clinging to my plush rabbit in agony. The most amazing part, I think, is the worldbuilding, which has it’s feet set in the plot, the characters, and pretty much everything.
The world is a mix of high fantasy, paranormal, and Greek mythology, something I found extremely unusual, but undeniably enthralling. It was amazing seeing the world come to life in the pages and being told the world’s history and background through snatches of folklore and tale and absolutely fascinating, how the author pieces together bits of her fantasy world with that of Greece. Who knew demons and gods went together?The plot, I realize, is actually rather slow, but you don’t get bored at all. The tension between Nyx and Ignifex kept me laughing and giggling forever and you can’t help but get sucked into the story once they meet. It’s more than just the romance, of course. It’s Nyx trying to defeat Ignifex, to avenger he mother’s sacrifice, and to keep her promise. It’s amazing how this goes about and there are still so many plot twists I can’t accept. I refuse to
accept.Romance! There are hints of a love triangle, but I can’t really say anything beyond the fact that, well, it’s not really a love triangle and that I loved Ignifex from the moment we met him, with his snark and wit and charm about him!Nyx is truly a badass character. She’s not quite the assassin I was expecting, but she’s tough, she’s fierce, she’s curious, but beyond all that, she’s absolutely and brilliantly flawed. It’s even stated in the book that her heart was threaded with darkness, and you can’t help but relate to her sometimes. Not to her situations, of course (I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone engaged to a demon prince), but her feelings and her regrets. She’s a broken character and it’s just something you love about her.The ending, I have to say, was absolutely perfect. And that’s all I have to say about that.So yes. Cruel Beauty is one of those books you can’t help but fall in love with, and one of those books that’ll automatically jump to your favorites list. It’s gorgeously written with brilliant characters, a cutthroat plot, and a romance that’ll set you on fire. It’s like reading a fairy tale–there’s honestly no choice but to get enthralled. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough! So seven out of five stars it is!