Author: Rosamund Hodge
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
When I first saw Cruel Beauty, I thought it sounded interesting and was curious about the Beauty and the Beast connection. Then when it came time to actually read it some months later, I suddenly became very hesitant and started regretting even getting the book. I’ll be honest, I came very close to DNF’ing it in the beginning. I kept zoning out and had to remind myself to focus, but promised to give it a chance at least until the main character met her betrothed. Am I ever glad I did! From that point on, it became a book I couldn’t put down.
Nyx is not some sweet and tender girl who finds herself at the mercy of a monster. No, she was raised to kill him, trained to do so from a young age. He is the demon who is responsible for the entrapment of Arcadia – her home – and the death of her mother. She is the one who will destroy him and set them all free. Even if it costs her own life.
I love Nyx. No, I mean I LOVE her! She’s fierce and has the wicked mean streak in her that I am always drawn to. Let’s just say the title of the book fits. And even though she puts on a smile for those around her, she is aware and honest with herself about how she feels.
“I think I’m wicked enough to love a demon”
Apparently demon lords are drawn to it too. Ignifex – Nyx’s dear husband – is a demon lord and bargains with people … for a price. The two of them together was absolutely delicious! The chemistry … the banter … was perfection. I can’t even tell you how much I loved it. The way she tried to manipulate him at times was funny, even more so how she would react when he didn’t play into it. Also, there appears to be a love-triangle for a little while, but I wasn’t worried about it at all. It was obvious what was going on with that, so I hesitate to even call it a love-triangle. It may seem a little weird, but actually makes perfect sense if you think about it. Once you read it, that is! View Spoiler »Wouldn’t she need to love (at least like) both sides of him in order to truly love all of him? That’s why I can’t think of it as a love-triangle « Hide Spoiler
What I also love is, how dark it was. It was dark, but in the most beautiful way. I mentioned how I started zoning out during the very beginning of the book, but I’m pretty sure it was because of me and not so much the book. There was more mythology infused in the story than I thought there would be. Now, I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just that I usually have that reaction to that kind of stuff at first, and then get used to it. But again, once I got past a certain point, I became completely fascinated. Plus, it tends to take me a little longer to adjust to the world-building in fantasies. So when both elements hit me at once right from the beginning, my brain wanted to shut-down. However, it turned out to be an absolutely wonderful mix.
I am so glad I stuck it out with Cruel Beauty, because I would’ve hated to miss out on it. I truly enjoyed it and was very happy with the ending. I won’t hesitate again to read a book by Rosamund Hodge.