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.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Reviewed by Ellie, age 17
When I think fall, I think sweaters, excessive amounts of pumpkin, and snuggling up with a blanket and a romantic comedy. So, it makes sense why I picked up Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. While this book isn’t a romantic comedy-I didn’t laugh much while reading it, and rightfully so-this book covers the romance bases pretty thoroughly. (Read: dramatic, interesting, and vaguely confusing love triangle).
This debut novel is about Nyx, daughter of a powerful lord who made a dangerous deal with the Gentle Lord, the controller of demons and a plague upon Nyx’s home country of Arcedia. In order to uphold his end of the deal, Nyx’s father must give up Nyx for marriage to the Gentle Lord. However, he trains her in the Hermetic arts, a type of magic that is capable of destroying the Gentle Lord, and sends her on an assassins’ mission.
So, a warrior girl goes off to destroy the dangerous, powerful man. Not the most original plot line in the world, but used effectively in this novel. I was a huge fan on the origins of this story-it is loosely based on the tale of Beauty and the Beast, and I feel that adds a new layer to this book. Hodge also did a brilliant job describing the setting of the story. The background of the book ranges from a magical castle to a room floating in the sky to a small village square, all told in beautiful prose.
There is also an interesting storyline based on morals in this book. Nyx deals with multiple different moral problems, which provoke questions to intrigue the reader.
However, despite her fabulous description of setting, the world building in this book is a bit confusing. The magic used in the novel is somewhat confusing (how does it fully work? Why is it so important?), and the ending is a bit of a loose end, as it is never fully explained, which irked me. I need closure!
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a dramatic YA romance.
This book hits shelves January 28th of 2014!
Buy Hardcover | $17.99
Ellie, age 17