Monday, 20 January 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel BeautyCruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge
Series: -
Pages: 352
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release date: 28th January 2014

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

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: 4  out of 5 stars

Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairy-tale so I was more than eager to read this retelling and how fabulous is the stunning cover! I’m pleased to say the story within was just as wonderful.

Our main protagonist is seventeen year-old defiantly wonderful Nyx who lives in the mythical realm of Arcadia and who has always known she was promised to the Gentle Lord, the evil ruler once she came of age, the result of a deal her father made with him before she was born. She has planned and plotted her whole life to overthrow him and to work out a way to break the curse placed on her people; it was a unique concept and one which played out well.

Nyx was the kind of character I find myself enjoying - angry, cynical and realistically flawed but also intelligent and resilient and despite her backstory which was sad she stood strong and determined in her plan to kill her lord despite the unexpected feelings she begins to have for him.

Ignifex is the cruel ruler, dark and mysterious and a character I found myself liking with his quick wit and unexpected humour, while I thought his secret was pretty obvious it was nice to see how it would all play out. He could be quite cruel and evil but all in all he was an intriguing character and the perfect love interest.

It may appear there is a love-triangle but it is quite complex to describe what is going on without giving away major spoilers; the romance is probably my only gripe with this book and how soon it progressed, it was too much too soon in my opinion and needed a little refining.

Cruel Beauty’s world-building is strong and the multi-layered, complex plot was solid and engrossing, I was eager from the onset to see which direction the author would take the story and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The magic, mythology, betrayals, twists and turns kept the pacing consistent and me flipping the pages wanting to know what would happen. I was mesmerised by the storytelling.

Rosamund Hodge’s writing flowed beautifully and kept me captivated right from the onset, I found myself really enjoying the details no matter how small they were; the descriptions of the setting and Ignifex’s home were especially wonderful.

Overall, Cruel Beauty has a nice blend of mythology, romance and fantasy and despite having a few minor flaws I found it to be an incredibly creative story and a wonderful debut for Rosamund Hodge.

photograph by Janelle BighinattiAbout the author: 

I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel, CRUEL BEAUTY (a YA fairytale fantasy, where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast), is due out from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in Winter 2014.


  1. OOoh nice review! Dying to read this one and cannot wait to read it myself! Glad to hear it was amazing!

  2. You and I share similar thoughts on this one. I enjoyed it, but I also struggled with the romance a bit. I did absolutely love Nyx though. Like you said, she was so realistic.
    I'm glad you enjoyed this, Sharon!
    Great review.

  3. I cannot wait to read this one! Great review!

  4. I love the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. This sounds like a wonderful book with a lot of interesting aspects. I am glad you enjoyed it so much and your review was so helpful. Thanks!

  5. I am excited for this and despite a few flaws I am really excited that you liked this one :) Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites.

  6. ooh I am going to add this to my tbr, this sounds really good! :)

  7. I just realised that it comes out on my birthday :DD

  8. So glad to hear you like it as I have this one to review! :) Great review!


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