Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Thursday, 3 April 2014 00:00
Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publication Date: January 28th, 2014
Genres: Retellings, Fantasy, Young adult
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.
I thought Cruel Beauty was going to be mind-blowing. I thought it was going to be the best retelling I have ever read. Damn it! 

Cruel Beauty had a very nice and strong premise. I love Greek mythology. And I absolutely love retellings. So, this book had two of the things I loved most in a story and naturally, my expectations were incredibly high. 

This book just veered far away from my expectations.

Let me tell you, the best thing about this book was its cover and this amazing character called Ignifex, the Gentle Lord. He's the Demon King, the bad guy, the silver tongued monster who lured people to make ridiculous bargains with him. All these factors made it hard for me to not like him. Also, this one character forced me to give this book three stars instead of two.

So, the story begins with a very strong and annoying female lead, Nyx. She's a sacrifice. She's about to wed the Gentle lord otherwise known as (kindly refer the aforementioned paragraph). But why her?

Years ago, Nyx's father, desperate to have children made a bargain with the Gentle Lord even though he knew the deadly consequences. So, according to the bargain Nyx's father will have two daughters but one of them has to marry the Gentle Lord. And, this guy just agrees. Maybe, he only wanted one and didn't care about the other. The 'other' is Nyx. He chooses her to wed the beast and also trains her to kill him. 

I thought Beauty was kind and gentle but Nyx here, is filled with hatred and resentment. Why her? Why not her twin sister? These questions always clouded her mind which greatly annoyed me. She was always envious about her twin sister. Also, the fact that she was shunned away from parental love made her very bitter, indeed.

After the marriage and an appearance from the one and only Ignifex, things started to drop. Nyx was constantly bitter and she couldn't make up her mind about her family. Her thoughts progressed like this: I love them and love them not, I hate them and hate them not. Should I betray them or the one person I love? I really wanted to kick her.

Then, she was confused about Ignifex and Shade (Ignifex's shadow). So, you can see how her stream of thoughts continued. And I was stuck reading this book only for Ignifex. And, sometimes the story will spiral towards different Greek stories and make my head spin. Apparently, too much of anything is good for nothing.

In the end, I did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. This book had great potential to be different and something more. Also, some of you might find the world building confusing, bizarre and hard to get into. Certain parts made me feel like that. The narration was good but Nyx just spoiled the fun out of everything.