Review: ‘Cruel Beauty’ by Rosamund Hodge

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘Cruel Beauty’ by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 28th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 342
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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.

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A bargain made with the Gentle Lord, Nyx’s father has given his eldest daughter to him to be his wife. As the magister of the Resurgandi, her whole existence is to kill her newly wedded husband so the people of Arcadia will be free.

I DNF’d this one but after fellow bloggers loved it, I decided to try it out again and I’m glad I did. What bothered me was the beginning and in other areas of the book. The mythology info dumps felt out of place and would be literally dumped in your face. It was an onslaught and I had no idea how some or all was related to the story. I’m such a mythology fan but even I was confused as to different parts of what was being said. If you push past the beginning in sure you’ll have a better read. The setting felt like a Victorian one, yet the people believed in the Ancient Greek and Roman Gods. A house that changes every time you move around just like a maze, books that make you forget how to read, and shadows that creep around you.

This book screamed instant love, so be wary of that. Why she ripped out her gown or tried to seduce him is beyond me. She would randomly kiss someone and the next day her thoughts would be full of him and him alone. I now understand why this is being called a love triangle and technically it is, but it isn’t. You’ll just have to find out what happens.

Ignifex and Shade are truly the most interesting characters. They’re both so oblivious and also incredibly tolerant of Nyx and her anger. I just loved seeing them all interact on the page. It was brutal at times seeing as to how she would defy her husband and at the same time hilarious because she would struggle through her feelings only to give in. Nyx on the other hand is unlike any other main character I have read. First of all, she’s selfish and proud, but at the same time she truly wants to help her sister and the people of Arcadia. She’s also incredibly snarky, temperamental and just loves to make out with her Ignifex and Shade. It was the most odd love triangle I have ever read, but in a great way.

With a combination of elemental magic, Greek mythology infused with the Beauty and The Beast fairy tale, Cruel Beauty is a hauntingly original tale. The ending was the highlight and I enjoyed it so much (because questions were answered) and everything was revealed. Don’t wait for a Beauty and the Beast retelling because it isn’t at first, but it will be in the end. Lovely stand alone and I highly recommend picking this one up.


Demons are made of shadow. Don’t look at the shadows too long or a demon might look back.
For right years you lied to her with every breath, and now you hate her because she’s deceived?
I was foolish enough to wish that he would kiss me again, that he would take me in his arms and make me feel like I was that fearless, guiltless girl just one more time.
If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?
I’m the evil demon lord. I know it’s not a compliment, but I do like a wife with a little malice in her heart.
Duty is bitter to taste, but sweet to drink.
I can wait as long as I please and still have all of you.
I was foolish enough to wish that he would kiss me again, that he would take me in his arms and make me feel like I was that fearless, guiltless girl just one more time.
You are our only hope.
I wasn’t born to be saved.
I wasn’t some fool who would forget she had been kidnapped after one or two kisses. I wasn’t some idiot who would think a man noble because he’d saved her from the consequences of his own crimes.
What kind of creature was powerful and vicious enough to command the prince of demons?
Everything you give him, he will use against you. Do what you must. But don’t trust him.
I knew it was insane to be happy, to feel this desperate exultation at his words. But I feel like I had been waiting all my life to head them. I had been waiting, all my life, for someone undeceived to love me.
With such a selfish heart, what night did I have to expect any hope?
We still could have snatched happiness from our tragedy if we made the right choices, the right wishes.

reading progress





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