Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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.

I was really looking forward to Cruel Beauty, it sounded amazing and it was one of my most anticipated titles of the year. I dived into this as soon as I got my e-galley but I soon realised that this book was not at all what I was expecting which was a good thing in some parts and not a good thing in others. There were some amazing things about this book but there were also some bits that disappointed me and in the end Cruel Beauty was not as brilliant as I hoped it would be.

I will start with the amazing bits. The writing in this book was glorious I found it lyrical and spell bounding. It was really nice to come across such beautiful writing in a YA books. It was not just the writing but the world building and descriptions that impressed. The inside of the Ignifex’s spooky and wonderful house really came alive for me it was so well created and written and I just got lost in all the beautiful details.

I found the idea really interesting there was lots of mythology and I found it really intriguing. I would have liked it to have been a little more like Beauty and the Beast but I still liked the journey this book took me on. It was brave and daring and I really liked the plot and construction it was original and at times clever.

But there were problems with this book mainly steaming from the main character Nyx. Cruel Beauty is a book where ever character is flawed and I quite like that because it mirrors life but at times Nyx was also annoying. She was like a broken record and always thought the same things. She mentioned her (also annoying) sister all the time, I felt like I didn’t go a page without her being mentioned. The character herself is barely in it but she consumes a lot of space. Nyx lacked personality, she was hell bent on revenge and bubbling over with hate but there was nothing to her at all.

The romance and Nyx in the romance was also an issue. There is a love triangle in this book between Nyx, Ignifex and prisoner Shade. It is not a love triangle that you would expect and in some ways it could not be classed as a love triangle at all but it was still there and Nyx was still ridiculous when it came to the two men. Her attraction to Ignifex was a slow builder and I didn’t mind it but she was kissing Shade and talking about ‘love’ on her first night in the house. It was annoying. I cannot say much more about the romance without giving major plot twists away so I will leave it there.

Ignifex was a stronger character he was a lot more interesting and came across better than Nyx. I liked him more and understood him but there could have been more to him. A majority of this book features only Ignifex and Nyx and it really needed them to be more interesting. It was a shame that the impact of the beautiful and creative writing and plot was tarnished by dull and annoying characters.

Cruel Beauty is an atmospheric and at times beautiful book with gorgeous writing but with irritating characters and romance. I think it is a book that many YA fans will love and I think it will do very well but I wanted a little more from it. I would happily read more from this author as her writing was the stand out aspect of this book.

Cruel Beauty is is stunning example of creativity but failed to deliver on characters.

3 stars 


Published January 2014 by Balzer & Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins.  Book Cover courtesy of Goodreads.  A free copy was provided by the publisher.

Review written by Kate Phillips 

1 comment:

  1. I read this one recently too, and I can definitely see where you're coming from about Nyx. She kept on harping about the same worries despite her new experiences and discoveries, and her affection for Shade was irritating at best. I must agree though, and say the world building was incredibly though, so different and unique. Great review!


Thank you for commenting!