Author: Rosamund Hodge
Published: January 28, 2014
Category: Romance, Fantasy, Retelling
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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.
A lot of people have been looking forward to reading this Beauty and the Beast retelling. It is one of my favorite Fairy Tales and I must say that Cruel Beauty surely put a fantastic twist to it. Aside from the creepy elements Hodge put to it, the Greek mythology touch made it more interesting. Not only that, Hodge owned it that the voices in the story made it a unique one as if it wasn't a retelling at all.
I loved the House. It reminded me more of Howl's Moving Castle to a point that I almost imagined it moves. Every door, every part of it and the Hearts are not only magical but masterpieces. It fits perfectly to the world Hodge created and lifted it to a level of fantasy world I wanted to see for myself. The discovery of the truth behind the Gentle Lord's secrets made me cringe and gave me goosebumps. It was all creepy and interesting and lovely and absolutely thrilling.
What I couldn't wrap my mind to is Nyx Triskelion's character. Of all the wives, how come she's so special she survived the Heart of Fire and the Children of Typhon? Is she stubborn and unpure enough to surpass them? Was it because she was trained to destroy the Gentle Lord? HOW IN THE WORLD WAS THIS COMPARED TO GRACELING? SHE ISN'T EVEN CLOSE TO LADY KATSA! NOT EVEN A LITTLE! And how come she let herself feel something for Shade that easily? I just don't simply agree to those but the fact that she's brave, loyal and so true to herself turned me a fan at the end. She made sure, no matter what it would cost her, she would remember and save the one she truly loves which is truly heroic.
I was caught off guard by Ignifex character though. I was seriously hating him at the beginning. How I hated his power, his bargains and how really cruel he could be to others. Especially the admission of how he loved Nyx the whole time. It was just ridiculous for me. But when he started saving Nyx and spending time with her, the hate turned to love. I never thought he would be protective and open. His quest to remember his name is one of my favorite parts. Doing the impossible things with the person who matters most to you will make it bearable and worthwhile. And I appreciated how he gave up himself to save Arcadia. I loved how he turned from annoying villain to loving hero. I want Ignifex for myself. And his true name? IT FITS HIM.
Cruel Beauty is a delicious read that will make you salivate the whole time reading it. It is surprisingly good with a fantastic twists in between. The elusive love proves how one can be changed once the perfect time arrived and having the person you want to fight for will make you think that the "right one" is just a label. Hodge planted in my head that love is love no matter what kind of person THE person is. Not only Cruel Beauty takes you to a universe where you breathe magic but it is a universe where loving the wrong person gets a happily ever after ending.
"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 wasn't born to be saved."
"We still could have snatched happiness from our tragedy if we had made the right choices, the right wishes. If we had been kinder, braver, purer. If only we had been anything but what we were."