Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
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.
Publishes in US: January 28th 2014 by Balzer & Bray
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Series? No

Buy it: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

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    I requested Cruel Beauty when available to request on Edelweiss because I love the disney beauty and the beast, and I had also seen some highly positive reviews from trusted bloggers and wanted to experience for myself. 
   The beginning of the book wasn't what I expected, and I didn't really get fully into it until Nyx was married and in the castle of the Gentle Lord. It was more about gods and goddesses, and repetitive moanings about her and her sister as well as a rather tedious to me set up of the world. Another thing that was lost in the retelling that was a favorite part of the Beauty and the Beast original was how Beauty sacrificed willingly for her family, and here Nyx really had no choice and she complained about it. However, several of my blogger buddies dubbed this a favorite so I kept with it longer than I might have otherwise. 
   However, I started liking the world and the story picked up when we met Ignifex and Shade. Both had qualities that made me want to know more about them and this is where I started being interested and invested in the story. I began to respect Nyx more and more because she is downright real. She has love for her sister, but also resents her because her father chose her sister as the one to fawn over and Nyx the one to sacrifice to the gentle Lord. But she doesn't just accept these feelings, she really tries to control and let the love win out. 
   The love triangle in this one is great. I was especially falling for Shade, and had a few theories about him, but I won't say because it would be a spoiler either way. He could only say certain things, and couldn't betray Ignifex because he was bound to him, but his gentle and believing nature really drew me to him. He helped Nyx when he could and I really pitied but also admired him at the same time for staying strong and still having hope after being imprisoned for so long. 
    Ignifex was an enigma. He was cruel lots of times, which wasn't a surprise since he is the ultimate deceiver but he also showed concern and care at times when I am sure that he didn't have to. In some ways I come to pity him knowing some of his backstory, but it is hard to keep feeling that when I am reminded of all he did, all the pain he's caused. The romance between the two always took me by surprise seeing his gentler side, but just like Nyx, I questioned it, and wondered what the outcome could possibly be. 
   Nyx has quite some adventures in exploring Ignifex's house, looking for answers, and trying to make things right, to fulfill her purpose and to find herself freedom. 
    The ending was perfect for the story. I was kinda confused at what exactly was going on from about 85% up to well, about 95% but still, I think that I know, or at least I pieced together enough that makes me good with the story. I think part of it may be my sickness haze, but I dunno. 
    Also, the ending was perfect. It somehow wrapped everything I wanted for this story (even when it seemed to be in direct contradiction to each other) and gave Nyx and ending that I couldn't even have conjured up. It had plenty of action, lots of character development and was a satisfying and good read that I am glad I stuck through the slow beginning for. 
    So, I will say that it was def worth the read, it had a slow (for me) beginning, I was confused about some of the events that led up to the conclusion but it had an enthralling love triangle (that I was right about for once), a main character I came to love for her honesty and a heart-pounding and satisfying ending. 

Bottom Line: A fantasy that had me a bit confused at times, slow in the beginning, but made it totally and completely worth it with the most unique love triangle and resolution I've ever read.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you sacrifice yourself to an unwanted marriage for your sister and family.
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  1. Hmmm, the boring and confusing parts scare me but I am still excited to read this one.

  2. You still rated this 4 stars, so even though it was a little difficult, it seemed to still leave an impact! Great review!

    As for the question... I think I could... whether it'd last or he'd run because I am a stubborn person is totally up to him :D

  3. I really liked this one too! Beauty and the beast is my favorite fairy tale and I agree with you about the beginning being odd and boring. BUT I absolutely loved ignifex and all of his dark sexiness.

    As always, lovely review.

  4. I'm not sure :/ A lifetime of misery? Errr... But, nice review, I'm just unsure if I want to read it because you said in the end it was conflicting, and I hate books and resolutions that don't make sense to me. But it really is a popular book, isn't it? I've seen three reviews of the book today alone!

    1. It is very popular, and the middle really works.

  5. I just finished this too and wrote my review for my blog next week. I had the same feelings as you about the beginning. The ending was just okay for me and I actually found it almost as confusing as the beginning.

  6. It sounds like we shared a lot of similar thoughts on this one. I was confused at the parts you mentioned too. It just went a little too far over my head. But I did love Ignifex and enjoyed the read on a whole. :)

  7. I heard this was a love triangle that's not really a love triangle, and that piqued my interest. I'm not one for a whiny heroine but sounds like this improved greatly and you're happy you stuck it out. Sometimes those bloggy recommends are helpful! Great review, Brandi! :)

  8. Wonderful review Brandi and I delighted to hear you loved this despite a few issues. This one is on my list

  9. Great review sweetie :D I'm glad you mostly liked this book. <3 I really loved it as well :)

  10. OOoh nice review! Now I will go into this knowing that the beginning is a bit slow! Most reviews I've read have all been pretty praising, but now I'll know at least that it will take some buildup!

    I cannot wait to read this one! I was rejected a good number of times for this one before I gave up. Edelweiss and me apparently have issues...but anyway, great review! I look forward to reading this one soonish!

  11. I'm starting this soon and I'm intrigued by your "perfect ending" comment!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  12. I can handle a slow start as long as you get a solid, perfect ending. I am starting this soon and looking forward to it as I have read some great reviews on it.

  13. It does sound good, even with the rocky start

  14. On the one hand, I hate the idea of a love triangle but it does sound as thought this was handled uniquely. Can't wait to read this! Great review :-)

  15. I enjoyed this one as well. I do like retellings of the Beauty and the Beast though. :) I liked that she was intelligent. Great review.

  16. I have this and have been hesitant. I figured I would wait for a normal review before loading it up on the ipod. I enjoyed your review, love the spin on Beauty & Beast, but am still wavering. Aah well. Must be the toppling over pile of books scaring me off any new books. lolz

  17. I also gave this one four stars (and requested it because of Beauty and the Beast!) The ending was perfect, I agree.

  18. I love the idea of retellings but it's always a but difficult I think are the originals are so good...

  19. Hmm, I had such expectations of Cruel Beauty, Brandi. I'm glad you liked it in the end. And it's good to know about the slow I don't give up on it. :)

  20. I had high hopes for this novel, but with the mixed review and lots of books to read, I decided to hold off until my trusted blogging buddies reviewed it. Your review makes me glad I held off.

    As for your question, at the time she got married, yes I would have married anyone to make her happy. She had a crappy first marriage and I would have done anything to make sure the second was happy. (It is!) And I didn't really care. Now, I would be more selfish.

  21. Everyone is loving this. Glad you liked, despite the confusion.

  22. I definitely had trouble getting in to this but I'm so glad I kept going because I was really impressed with the writing and how everything came together-yay for patience being rewarded!

  23. I am reading this currently. I too found the beginning slow. But now I am up to the part where she meets 'them' and I absolutely love the interaction between them.

  24. Her sacrifice is one of the things that I love most about Belle's character. That would probably hurt me a little while reading. I am so glad that it picked up for you though on the adventure and that the love triangle was special. I'm interested in this book. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

  25. I'm definitely going to have to read this one, but I'm glad for the heads up about the slow beginning. I'm glad you enjoyed it despite the rocky start.


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