I received and e-galley of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, so thank you to them for letting me review it! Before we start the review, just LOOK at that gorgeous cover!
Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: January 28th 2013
No. of Pages: 352
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.-(Goodreads)
4 stars: Page decides that this book was very enjoyable
however, it was not catapulted into amazing.
When I started this book, I don't think I knew exactly what to aspect, but the description intrigued me enough to want to read it. Now I'm definitely glad I did, because there are so many things about it that I loved!
First of all, I enjoyed how this book was a twist on the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. Let's be honest, who hasn't seen this Disney film! It's practically a household name, and I even had a Belle dress when I was little! Despite this, I don't think it's usually a fairytale that people decide to reinvent, and I always love it when things are a little different!
I also like that it had elements of Greek Mythology throughout the story. With the fairytale and mythology combined, I felt as though this book was completely original, even though it's based on another story!
Even knowing the story of Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty was still completely unpredictable. It was a quite a Gothic adaptation of the original tale and the characters were completely different to the ones you know, but for me this worked perfectly and this book maintained the element of surprise that it might have lost had it followed the original exactly.
Something else I loved was the main setting in the book: The Gentle Lord's castle. It was huge and so mysterious with all it's different rooms, and magical properties. Each room was unique, and as you read, you discover more and more of the castle along with Nyx, our heroine. The castle just emanates such a dark feeling but at the same time, has this deadly beauty that draws you to it... Kind of scary, right?
Onto possibly my favourite character of the book: Ignifex, otherwise know as Nyx's husband/ The Gentle Lord. At the beginning of the book, Ignifex is portrayed as the enemy- and Nyx always thinks of him as so- but he never does any harm, so he wasn't one of those villains you hate straight away. In fact, I never hated him at all and found myself having a soft spot for him, compared to another character named Shade, who I just couldn't bring myself to like. As I read, I was always wondering if I shouldn't like him as a character, and should instead want to be hitting him with a frying pan, but all I'm going to say is I'm glad I trusted my instincts.
Now I think about it, one of the reasons I liked him so much was that he had this vulnerable quality to him that I couldn't ignore, and I actually enjoyed his banter with Nyx. Forget the 'possibly' at the beginning of this paragraph, he is my favourite character!
Last but not least, I draw your attention to Nyx: Our main character. She was definitely no Belle, that's for sure, but she was the main character that this sort of story needs. She was flawed, and this was definitely emphasised greatly throughout the book, and Nyx even acknowledge this herself. To some people, this may have come across as whiny, but to me Nyx was just being blunt with herself, and her narration wasn't meant to fool the reader otherwise. She was never a damsel in distress, just accepted the things that happened to her and tried to move on, and personally, I think that's one of her best traits.
Cruel Beauty will have you exploring castles and loving unlikely characters as you make your way through this gothic version of Beauty and the Beast.