Cruel Beauty

In YA Book Reviews on February 12, 2014 at 11:50 pm


 by Rosamund Hodge

YA Fantasy/©2014/342 pages/Recommended for 7th Grade and Above

Publisher’s Blurb (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.

My Thoughts:

I was so looking forward to reading this book because of the publisher’s comment claiming it to be “Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast“. Perhaps that resulted in my expectations being too high because this book just didn’t grab me. I do enjoy a good retelling of a favorite fairy tale, but I don’t think that Cruel Beauty was what I had in mind. I found this book to be a very dark retelling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. It does come complete with a fantasy world under a parchment dome sprinkled with elements of romance and mythology, so that added some interest.  Also, I do think it is well written, and it was engaging enough that I kept reading. If it had been really bad, I would have abandoned it completely. Life is too short to read books you don’t like. That said, I just couldn’t bring myself to really care about the characters. Add to that that there were parts of the plot that were just a little too dark and a little too confusing for me (sometimes there was just too much going on), and you won’t be surprised when I tell you that it just wasn’t the satisfying read I was hoping for. To put things in perspective, I did just finish Cress, the third book in the Lunar Chronicles (one of my favorite YA series), so that may have contributed to my lackluster impression of this book. I read many rave reviews before I purchased this book, so plenty of other avid readers enjoyed it. It just wasn’t the book for me.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Other Opinions:

A Touch of Book Madness

A Reader of Fiction


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