Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Skinny: 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. – From Goodreads
BFF?: I think I might have liked Nyx… in the way I liked Katsa from Graceling. I liked her, but she sort of scared me. She was extremely hard around the edges and didn’t have much of a creamy center, but I think that was because of how hard her growing up was. I mean, when your dad pretty much sells you to the town’s resident evil big bad and trains you to kill him, you don’t really have a lot of creamy center. But I think as time went on after she was with Ignifex her hardness sort of lessened. Which is always nice to see. I still wouldn’t want to cross her though!
Readability: This had a little bit of a different flow, but overall I really enjoyed reading this one. It kept me intrigued and I wanted to know what was next!
Crush Level: 6
You know how you have qualms about having the hots for the bad guy but it’s like you can see through the evil and know that he’s just a good guy deep down? That’s sort of how I felt about Ignifex. Like I never really thought of him as being “evil” in that he was cruel and bad; it was more like he was just doing his job. I can get behind that. But despite the fact that some of the things he did made me cringe, I guess I just saw him as this sexy guy who was a little jaded but still had a glimmer of hope.
Collecting Magical Items
I’ll be honest I don’t really remember what Nyx had to find in order to defeat Ignifex, but I love when characters have to collect various things. It’s like Zelda. You have to collect all the magical items from various parts of Hyrule in order to enter into the Temple of Time! Okay, that is not this story… but you get the idea.
I love fairy tales but absolutely hate this one. It’s so creepy and disturbing! While not the focus of this retelling, which is actually Beauty and the Beast, there are elements of Bluebeard woven in that quite honestly gave me the chills!
Yearbook Quote: “That’s what makes you my favorite.” He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. “Every wicked bit of you.”
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