Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty
Cruel Beauty Universe #1

by Rosamund Hodge
published by Blazer + Bray

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.

I don't get it. That about summarizes my thoughts. I. Don't. Get. It.

I had ridiculous high expectations when I went in. I absolutely loved Graceling and I'm a gigantic Disney fan. I expected a strong, bad-ass heroine that would fight her way through the book, either mentally or in full out armor. I got nothing of the sorts. Not even close.

Nyx, our heroine, has been trained by her father all her life and never gotten as much as a loving hug. She once got a nod approval, though. When she's married off she's bitter and alone but still enters his house with a strong conviction to do what's right for the world because that's the fate that's been drilled in to her skull. The Ignifex hugs her and suddenly her conviction isn't so strong. Then it is. Then it isn't and she rather just live happily ever after in the castle. And like that it goes on. There really isn't much about her that's likable and the only redeeming quality may be her self-awareness and that she know who she is and who she's not.

I think every single character in this book is suffering from split personality disorder. Everyone from the Lord to his sidekick, that both goes from loving to deceiving bastards, the sister who goes from happy to vengeful and just... weird, and our beloved Nyx who can't seem to make up her mind about a single thing.

Even through Ignifex goes back and forth from sweet to rabid in between a few pages he is the only character I liked. He's no prince charming and he's never claimed to be one but at least he's more or less consistent. His sudden mood changes is mostly due to Nyx's erratic behavior and are completely understandable even if a bit extreme. But he's the bad guy, he's not supposed to be mellow.

I really do love the general plot, it's a bit slow at times but it's a beautiful story about how you don't need to be happy and giddy and saint-like to be loved. How you can be flawed and still be loved, how we'll find someone just as flawed and still love him or her. The last chapters are utterly beautiful and is the reason I can look back at this book and still feel happy I finished it, because the end was worth it.

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried."

"Knowing the truth is not always a kindness."

“If you start wondering how this house works, you'll likely go mad. That could be amusing, I suppose. Especially if it's the kind of madness that causes you to run naked through the hallways. Do feel free to indulge in that anytime.

About the author:
When my older brother was thirteen, he started a writing club with his friends and wouldn’t let me join because I was only eight. I promptly swore that I would become a writer and make him sorry.

He still isn’t sorry. (I checked.) But in 2014 I got to publish my first novel with HarperCollins, so I guess everything worked out okay.

Some other facts about me:

• I practice Shorinji Kempo, a Japanese martial art based on Shaolin Kung Fu.

• I got a B.A. in English at the University of Dallas, and an M.St. in Medieval English at Oxford. Naturally, I moved to Seattle and got a job with computers.

• I love some things more than T. S. Eliot’s poetry. But not many things.

• I am represented by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates.

To reach Rosamund, contact her here through Goodreads or by any method below!

Facebook - Rosamund Hodge
Twitter - @RosamundHodge


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