Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Release Date - January 28, 2014
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.Beauty and the Beast meets Greek mythology. Cruel Beauty twists them into an engrossing story of love, forgiveness, sacrifice, and whimsy. With writing that is as beautiful as this novel's cover, dreamlike imagery, and two captivating characters, Cruel Beauty with a decadent story to fall into.
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.
The effortlessly beautiful writing that lyrically weaves this story is one of the stand out elements of this novel. Rosamund Hodge's prose is not only fitting for this fairytale elements, but allows a whimsical element that compliments Ignifex's castle. This author has delivered an astonishingly well written debut that will captive as much for the story, as the writing.
Nyx's anger scorches off the page. Her life has been mapped out since before she was born, and death almost an inevitable conclusion to her brief existence. Her anger defines her, pushes her, and provides a catalyst for the most important part of the novel. It allows her to see Ignifex as something more than a monster. Kindness, and precedence is nothing something she is used to having. Her father bargained her away. Her sister is looked upon as the favourite. Her Aunt sees her as nothing more than a means of destroying the Gentle Lord. Nyx feels like a weapon, with her wants and feelings being an inconvenient afterthought. Ignifex surprises her, because he shows respect, gives her room to make her own choices. Add this to a charming, if sometimes infuriating attractive demon and it's easy to see how she begins to fall for him.
The romance is swoon worthy. It's filled with yearning, angst, and a wickedness. These are two broken people, who are each drawn to wickedness, and yet bring out the best in one another. Nyx begins to understand forgiveness, and Ignifex finds something in himself worth fighting for. The push/pull of duty versus following your heart that occurs with Nyx's every breath is a battle that perfectly compliments this couple. Their seriously sexy banter was flirtatious, with a hint of war thrown in. Nyx never forgets what is at stake (or who she is dealing with), just as Ignifex never forgets that people want him dead.
Greek mythology and the classic Beauty and the Beast tale weave together surprisingly well. The compliment each other, and allowed Rosamund to take this story into different directions. The influence, and inspiration she garnered from various sources is evident, and yet she twists it to create something that's all her own. The result is a sensual, and thrilling fairytale in it's own right.
An intensely romantic, lush tale that weaves together as beautifully as any fairytale. Cruel Beauty delighted an surprised me in the best way possible. I look forward to anything else Ms Hodge releases in the future, and urge you to pick up this twist on the tale that is as old as time.