Sunday, 4 May 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

CRUEL BEAUTY was to put it simply: beautiful.  The language, the characters, the world...I loved EVERYTHING.  (Okay, I had a few problems with the romance...and the blurb, but apart from that...)  An absolutely STUNNING first novel by an equally stunning debut author.


Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Release Date: 28th January 2014 | Genre: Historical Fantasy | Series: Cruel Beauty Universe | Read it in: 2 1/2 hours | Word Rating: Enthralling | Source: The library | Pages: 342

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. *Blurb from Goodreads*


I've been finding lately, that  books I think I'm going to dislike I end up really enjoying (think: FIRE & FLOOD).  This was the case for CRUEL BEAUTY.  What made me reluctant to read this book was the blurb.  The first thing that turned me off in the blurb, was:

"Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast."

NO, NO, NO!  This is WRONG!  AND IT'S NOT EVEN CORRECT.  I've read GRACELING.  I loved GRACELING.  CRUEL BEAUTY and GRACELING have nothing in common.  Nothing.  NOTHING.  Why do people do this???  It makes me NOT want to read it, not WANT to read it when I see stuff like this on book blurbs!  STOP DOING IT!

The rest of the blurb (to me) is makes out the story to be some soppy romance retelling of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  Wrong!  Yes, CRUEL BEAUTY has romance but it's not all about that! It has mythology and demons and old enchantments and, and, and, its just so much MORE then a love story!  The blurb doesn't mention any of this awesomeness.

But you know what makes me really sad?  It's the fact that there might be other people out there, who thought the blurb made the book sound terrible to, but unlike me, still decided to try it out and never found out how beautiful this book is apart from it's ghastly blurb.

I think my favourite thing about CRUEL BEAUTY was the main character, Nyx.  Nyx was angry, strong, bitter, defiant, resentful, stubborn, but not in a bad way. Nyx had so much pressure on her, she was like a sheet of glass; she acted fine and strong and invincible and pretended for everyone else's sake that she could save the world but if you looked closer, you would see fine cracks spreading across her surface, her insecurity, bitterness and how she was terrified of the thought of dying at the hands of a demon at the age of 17.  (CLUE: She doesn't.)  Nyx was just so full of emotion that she'd never been allowed to show.  Yes, she did some bad thing, but she also did some good things.  Nyx did what she thought would be best for everyone.  She followed not just her heart or her brain, she followed her soul.  So basically, she was frabjous.

I would've liked to learn more about her family.  We learnt a lot about Ignifex, Shade and Nyx through out the book, but practically zilch about her family apart from the fact her twin sister had a personality change at the end of the book that didn't really make sense.

The world building was  a.m.a.z.i.n.g.  As well as being a fairytale retelling, IT HAD MYTHOLOGY IN IT.  GREEK MYTHOLOGY.  (You should know that I LOVE mythology, especially Greek.)  Somehow, without ruining the book, Hodge managed to include the two, and the result was PERFECTION. *fangirls*

There was one thing that really confused me though: Nyx had a twin sister called Astraia.  (Do NOT ask me to pronounce it.  Just DON'T.)  The land that the whole story is set in is called Arcadia.  Is it just me, or do those names seem quite alike?  Anyway, it confused me.

There was a love triangle...but there kind of wasn't.  Ignifex was the demon lord.  Shade was his prisoner and shadow.  Both had evil in their hearts, but both also had kind streaks as well.  Basically, very confusing, but it all worked out in the end.  Thank goodness!  My poor little brain was finding it hard to keep up.

Overall, a fantastic first novel involving a fairy tale retelling with mythology, written in a simple but beautiful form and full of an interesting cast of characters.  I found it a little heavy on the romantic side at times (I liked it better when Nyx was throwing things at Ignifex) but I still enjoyed it.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy and fairy tales.

COOL FACT:  I wondered what Nyx's name meant, so I googled it. (I love Google.)  It turns out in mythology Nyx is the daughter of Chaos and and a primordial Goddess of the Night.  I though this was very apt  considering she falls in love with a dark lord.
In mythology, Nyx is the daughter of Chaos and a primordial Goddess of the Night.
In mythology, Nyx is the daughter of Chaos and a primordial Goddess of the Night
In mythology, Nyx is the daughter of Chaos and a primordial Goddess of the Night

4.5 stars

Has anyone else read CRUEL BEAUTY?


  1. I haven't ever really looked into this book, Ella, and I think it's probably because I read the blurb and wasn't interested. After reading your review, I'm totally convinced to read it and am adding it to my tbr as I write this comment. I loved your review and am really keen to read it now- it sounds completely different to what I had imagined it might be like, and I definitely think I'll enjoy it a lot. Also, I love that you have a "Word Rating" and how long it took you to read. I just finished a book that took me about 11 months, so that wouldn't be such a good idea for me to do, but I find it really interesting.

    Another fantastic review! I'm adoring your blog! xx

    1. Wow, 11 months, that must have been a hard book to read! But you finished it, so that's a good thing :D

      I really like having a word rating. It helps me keep my thoughts in order if I can think of one precise word to sum up a book ;)

      I hope when you read CRUEL BEAUTY that you like it! You must tell me when you finish reading it and we can fangirl over it together (only if you enjoy it that is*fingers crossed*)!

  2. I would looove to read this! I just haven't gotten around to it yet...(also: library doesn't have it, which sucks a bit). I love that it's more Greek mythology then just plain fairy tale, because I think that sounds like it'd shake things up nicely. I AM freaked out by the names though!! I can't even begin to say them out loud and even in my head they're all a bit confusing. >_<

    1. I have a feeling this will be right up your street ;) The names ARE slightly freaky, but I much prefer freaky names to boring names, though!

      Hope you get to read this soon!


Thanks for commenting! I love comments and every single one makes my day! Check back, because I do reply!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...