Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kaniesha Reviews: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty
Series: Stand-Alone
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Release date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: paranormal, retelling, mythology, magic
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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.

Review: Note: I haven't read Graceling yet but I doubt it's anything like Cruel Beauty. As far as I know, Graceling is about a girl who is trained/destined to be some sort of assassin. That's as far as the similarities go as Nyx is trained but in an unusual fashion.

I am absolutely in love with this book!

I hate to be one of the readers that can't stop talking about a male side character/antagonist but Ignifex. He's lovely. He's bad to the core, thinks his bad is justified and is a bit of a condescending asshole but he's lovely. I don't know how Nyx resists him if I'm being honest. If I had been in her situation I wouldn't have put up a fight at all so I am so proud that she's stronger than I am.

On to Nyx. The book enters with Nyx on her wedding day. She is not in any way happy and never has been but she pretends to be until a certain point. Her mask cracks and her anger slips out to the one she wants to love most. She is so, so angry. But she is also strong and clever. Thankfully that cleverness only goes so far, she has far less witty one-liners than most female leads these days. What I love most about her is that she keeps her duty and her oaths at the front of her mind throughout the book. No matter what changes in her, she knows what she has to do no matter how she does it.

Plot? There's not much of one, honestly. If adventure is one of your main things, you might not like this. However, adventure is one of my main things and I still love this book a lot. It slowed down from time to time but I just could not put it down. Possibly because of Ignifex?

IGNIFEX. I'm not even going to lie to you, he's had me since he was introduced. I was really, really conflicted because hello, he's an evil demon lord. He tricks people daily and causes them to suffer. But he causes them to suffer in such brilliant and creative ways. He's incredible. I'm so sorry world, take me now, I'm a horrible girl who fell in love with a fictional demon lord. (New book boyfriend? Yes.) But I'm going to move on to Ignifex's shadow, Shade.

      "I'm the evil demon lord. I know it's not a compliment, but I do like a wife with a little malice in her heart." He poked my forehead. "If you don't sit up soon, I'll use you for a pillow again."
      I scrambled to sit up. He smiled. "Excellent. Let's start over. I am your husband, and you may address me as 'my darling lord'--"
      I bared my teeth.
      "Or Ignifex."

Shade. I adored you. You were cute and nice. But I did not like you as much as I liked Ignifex. Which is odd, once you get to the end of the book. It's so weird that it all makes sense.

Really! What a love triangle this book has! There are only a few love triangles in books I can deal with and this is a new one to add to that collection! If the term love triangle throws you off, don't worry. This one is completely tolerable and dare I say it, enjoyed. Especially because our heroine, Nyx, is sworn to destroy Ignifex but Shade can be saved if only she finds a way..

Ignifex's castle is glorious all on its own. It's magical. The reason it exists is because of magic. The rooms change structure and placement like any magical castle should. Food appears at the table at appropriate times. Ignifex allows Nyx to explore and a large part of the book consists of Nyx doing just that. Though we don't get too many details, not that there appear to be any as she never really finds too many things.

Cruel Beauty is a story that follows an angry, bitter girl to her doom and watches her experience love, heartbreak, humiliation, failure and success. We get to see two opposite forces try to sway her to their side but in the end, she chooses herself and the one that means the most to her. If dark, twisted fairy tales are your thing (and I highly suggest making it one of your things), definitely pick up a copy.

Rating: 4/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Other than the really crazy love triangle situation, I really liked the book too!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings