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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Publishing House: Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 9780062224736
Source of Copy: Requested from publisher via Edelweiss


Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and 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 - 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.

(Image, summary, and information courtesy of Goodreads)


On what was supposed to be the happiest day of a woman's life, Nyx was anything but. All her life, she's known that she will be the wife of the Gentle Lord, the very reincarnation of the devil himself who strikes deals with the desperate - deals that more often than not always work in his favor. And all her life, it is with this thinking that she knows that she must kill him. But Ignifex seems not to be whom she originally thought he was. He's cunning, mischievous, even playful, but he is also the first person to truly see her as she is. Nyx knows that her original mission was to kill Ignifex and save Arcadia, but there seems to be a few kinks in the developments that follow that may make that plan impossible.

If there were a poll for best female heroine of the year, I would probably scream Nyx's name from the top of my lungs. She is exactly the kind of heroine I've been waiting for - she's clever, incredibly sassy, and she's not afraid to dole out her death threats in the same breath she could ask Ignifex if he could please pass the butter. Nyx might be spitting poison, but her anger isn't entirely pointless and absurd, what with her being almost forced to be the daughter to be married to the Gentle Lord. But Nyx did get the right side of the bargain. Ignifex is actually a delight to read about, because even if Nyx was somehow using her feminine wiles to charm him, it seems that he's not above to trying to seduce her as well - which he does more than willingly. While he's busy trying to evade Nyx's attempts to sever some parts of his anatomy or kill him, he's also allowing her to come inside the walls people put up for him in order for her to truly understand him. 

Cruel Beauty doesn't also only play with a Beauty and the Beast retelling. The numerous magical doors remind me a lot of Bluebeard as well, and this aspect even makes the story richer as Nyx tries to discover the 'hearts' of the house to bring Ignifex, even at the expense of her own heart. 

The story does go a bit loopy towards the end and it might be a bit distracting, which was why I took off half a rainbow. But that aside, Cruel Beauty is an utterly delicious treat about the real power of love and the importance of truth.

Rosamund Hodge's Cruel Beauty is expected to hit bookstands on January 28, 2014.



  1. You got me at screaming Nyx's name at the top of your lungs as best female heroine of the year. I've been reading raves on this one and I NEED to read it soon! Plus, Beauty and the Beast retelling + Greek mythology = SOUNDS AWESOME. Great review as always!

    1. Goodness, Dianne, YES YOU NEED THIS ONE! (And thank you. :>)