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.
My Take: This book is a bizarre world that is extremely hard to explain. The story takes place in a very strange setting and it has a very different feel to the writing that I don’t think I’ve ever felt from another book. It’s like a young adult version of an epic fairytale. Does that even make sense? I think the closest I can come to explaining the “feel” of the writing while reading Cruel Beauty is that it was similar to the bizarreness I felt while reading The Night Circus.
The main character, Nyx, has lived a cruel, horrifying life and she has so much animosity for her family. Normally, a character with that much negativity is one I would have a hard time liking, but I never had that problem with Nyx because it was the life Nyx has lived that had me completely understanding all the hate she had in her heart. But even with all that hate, I wouldn’t say that she is totally full of pure hate because if she were, she wouldn’t feel so guilty or have such a desire to make things right, or to do good, or to save the people of her land. I think most people who lived the life she lived, would just give up! They wouldn’t try to fulfill the destiny that was thrown upon Nyx’s shoulders.
And when Nyx is introduced to her new husband, Ignifex, and his shadow, Shade, I was immediately intrigued by Ignifex. I really didn’t care too much for Shade because he actually kind of annoyed me. And even though Ignifex was cruel (what I think a lot of people would define as evil), he was still interesting to me. His snarky comments and his banter with Nyx were extremely entertaining. I kinda struggled with the book because I really wanted to like the “bad boy,” and it kind of bugged me that he was supposed to be so evil. But the bizarre world kept me reading along and I’m glad I did.
There are a lot of magical elements throughout the book that keep the story very unique, and there is, of course, a huge betrayal/twist in the story. And then, when all elements of the story finally come together, and all the parts of the puzzle about this bizarre world finally fit into place, I was absolutely blow away by how amazing the whole story was! And I loved the ending! I will be keeping my eyes open for any other book written by Rosamund Hodge.