Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Published: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
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.
This was… interesting. After trying to find books similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses by SJM, I saw multiple recommendations saying read Cruel Beauty, so I did. I’m not really sure if I liked it, it was definitely weird.
Cruel Beauty begins with a female MC named Nyx Triskelion (weird name) who is betrothed to this demon overlord. She’s pretty bitter, honestly, and I’m not really sure if I ever grew to like her until the end. We are constantly told how smart and clever she is, but she’s actually pretty dense. She dawdles around aimlessly throughout 98% of the book and instead of being a story about saving the people and her family, it’s more about her love interests and learning to accept her life for what it is.
This book has a typical YA-trilogy love triangle shoved into ONE book and it’s a disaster. The book centers Nyx and two male leads: Ignifex (weirder name) the demon ruler, and Shade the “shadow-demon” who becomes corporeal at night. These two males look exactly alike, the only difference is that Ignifex has bright red eyes and Shade has bright blue eyes. She only sees Shade at night, never Ignifex, and somehow this is a huge mystery to her for a major part of the book. She is constantly going in circles on who she has more feelings for and it becomes so tiresome to read.
Nyx has constant internal debates with herself on what she wants to do versus what she should do. There was a lot of weirdness going on in the castle and for the most part, we would only get to see that via her nightly adventures – when Ignifex isn’t around. So although the synopsis hints at this forbidden love between them, we don’t really see any obvious development in that area. To me, the romance seemed more like a case study on how Stockholm Syndrome occurs. The only real time we see a true sacrifice and display of love is by the end of the book. Her falling in lust with a shadow-demon-cursedsoul-whoknows was just weird and I think this story would have been a lot better without Shade in it.
In general, this book was just weird. Have a said weird enough times yet? Probably. I can’t put my finger on it, but it reminds me so much of something I’ve seen on TV or in a movie. I want to say it was Pan’s Labyrinth, but I don’t think it was. It just had a really strange vibe, the characters had weird names, and there was this super strange Inception/Groundhog Day thing going on by the end. You can see that Hodge really twisted the Beauty and the Beast theme but I don’t think it’s something I’d want to read again.
I really want to hear other peoples thoughts on this book, so if you read it tell me what you thought.