Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge [thoughts]

Cruel Beauty coverCruel Beauty by Roasmund Hodge
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe

Goodreads description: 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 decided to read Cruel Beauty  because I enjoy retellings and it was getting crazy amounts of praise among bloggers I follow. I don’t think I knew about the mythology factor much beforehand, but that would have made me want to read it more.

Nyx is a princess type person (I don’t remember her father’s title) and she has been brought up to marry an evil ruler person who is monstrous. There’s a plan for her to murder him and free the land but things get complicated. The Goodreads summary for this one seems pretty spot on.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I liked a lot of the world building. It was based on a lot of Greek/Roman ideas and I think (I don’t have the book with me right now, I read it on Overdrive) it’s almost like an AU of somewhere in Greece. I loved the house and how it changed, but I wasn’t completely sure about all the seals and magic that was supposed to be used. I loved other magical things, and the use of mythology. I thought it added a lot of depth to the story.

I loved how selfish Nyx was, and that she wasn’t just dying to be the hero. She wanted a life that was her own, and not having a choice really bothered her. She let herself be afraid and she didn’t force herself to be strong at every single moment. I liked that, it was different from some YA heroines. She wasn’t completely hateful and unlikable, she felt guilt and love, but I understood where all her negative feelings were coming from. It’s okay to not be the perfect girl that wants to fall in line and do everything you’re told, well-behaved women and all that. I also liked Nyx and Ignifex’s relationship, it was antagonistic. She was sent in with a mission but it was easily confused. It seemed like it was fun for her to get to know someone that was completely different, and she enjoyed getting to know him and arguing with him, even knowing that he was…evil.

I did not care for how Nyx’s family worked at all. I was on Nyx’s side, and when she started to feel guilty about her selfishness, I wanted to yell at her. Some of the fire in her attitude seemed to fizzle at the first sight of a sprinkle. She was too easily swayed one way or the other, and it annoyed me. There is one big decision in the book that really made me frown and felt disappointing for me. I don’t think it would be as annoying to everyone else, though. The ending was something else I didn’t love, or maybe not what happened but certain circumstances, but again, I’m not sure it would bother anyone else the same way it bothered me.

rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

As you can tell, I have mixed feelings about Cruel Beauty, but I did enjoy it. It’s a difficult decision whether this gets a 3 or a 3.5 but I think I could possibly want to reread it at some point, so I’m going with 3.5. And I believe, from how the series seems on Goodreads, that there might be more stories in this world but not exactly a series. I’m not completely sure, but I plan to read more by the author. I recommend it if you love retellings, strong girls that don’t just fall into place, and feisty relationships. Goodreads average rating: 3.82.

Roasmund Hodge‘s website and twitter!

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6 thoughts on “Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge [thoughts]

  1. I’m on the waiting list at the library for this one and I’ve also been wanting to read it because of the great reviews I’ve seen. But now that it’s been out for awhile I’m starting to see a lot more mixed reviews for it, which is interesting! That just makes me want to read it even more to decide where I stand. 🙂 I enjoyed your review!

  2. This one was kind of a disappointment for me. I’ll admit though, a big part of that was because of my struggle to pronounce the character names 😉 lol.

    I kind of felt this book was a bit insta-lovey. And I was disappointed by the fact Nyx seemed willing to forget what Ignifex had done / she thought he had done, because was handsome. One moment she hated him, then she kissed him, then she hated him, then she kissed him. It was just a bit too trite for me 😦

    Like you though, I really enjoyed how Nyx wasn’t the typical ‘princess’ character and didn’t spend her time whining over her tough hand. She was really strong and determined!

  3. I’ve been meaning to read this one – I really like retellings as well. I get annoyed with indecisive characters, so I might be annoyed with Nyx, but I’m glad she’s a strong character otherwise! I will let you know what I think when I finally get around to reading 🙂

    – Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider Silk

  4. I’m actually not a huge fan of retellings, plus this one only sounds okay-ish so I’m not planning to read it anytime soon, BUT if I ever pick it up that will be because I love mythology 🙂
    Btw, is this a standalone? Goodreads is not entirely clear about it.

  5. Pingback: goodbye March, hello April [recap] | a blighted one

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