Publisher-Balzer + Bray
Released-Jan 28th 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N
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.My Thoughts:
Well, this was different.
Cruel Beauty is by far one of the most bewildering and strangely enchanting fairytale I've ever read. This was a book that I was very excited for. Just look at that cover! Plus, I also love fairytales and Beauty and the Beast is a classic and a favorite. Only…this one felt a little too outlandish for my taste. What was supposed to be a retelling of sorts ended up mostly being about the mythology and fantasy elements that were entwined within these pages. I’m usual a pretty open reader and can go with just about anything and while I like the idea of combining genres, this one sadly didn't seem to work the way I hoped and ended up feeling scattered and overwhelming to process.
I had a hard time connecting with a lot of these characters. I felt their actions and thoughts were going everywhere and nowhere at once.
Nyx Triskelion, was probably the most conflicting character I have ever read. She had a twisted inner battle between right and wrong, want and need happening throughout the entire novel which made me want to shake her straight a few times and demand she make up her confounded mind. I could understand where she’s coming from and even sympathize with the situation she’s in. It’s not fair that she was chosen to end the darkness surrounding her kingdom and her resentment, hatred and hostility was even justified, but with her every repetitive wicked thought she became more bitter and selfish. She is not a happy character and her constant complaining, hot and cold demeanor and back and forth inner banter throughout the entire novel proves just that.
The Gentle Lord, had his moments where we can see the true demon he is but shows some compassion, if only just a glimpse. This was a character that I was at least interested in continuing to learn about and I felt he was slightly better developed. He may be a monster who acts in monstrous ways, but his story and curse goes deeper, which is where the mythology comes into play and I found myself intrigued by his back-story.
The love story for this particular novel is very strange. I’m not even sure I can call this romance since it reads like toxic more then anything else. I’m all for insta-love in books, but this is one time where it just wasn't believable nor likable, even in a fairytale setting. I’ll give the love triangle between Ignifex and Shade points for unique, but it was oddly approached, way too abrupt, forced and felt very awkward given the situation.
With that said, this may not have been a story that worked for me, but this is probably just me. The writing is strong and stunningly passionate and I have to give props to Hodge’s imaginative vision in her fairytale retelling with a mythology and fantasy edge that will surely entertain readers who are looking for something fresh, bold and at times, even compelling. I just wish I could have loved this one.