Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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 am a huge sucker for young adult retellings and forbidden romance. Therefore, it should be no surprise that my all time favorite fairy-tale when I was growing up (and even now) is Beauty and the Beast. There is something about a villain changing heart and learning to love that reels me in every single time. CRUEL BEAUTY was no exception.
Nyx, CRUEL BEAUTY’s protagonist, has been promised in marriage to a demon lord that reigns over their entire kingdom. She has been trained to pay for her father’s foolishness since she was a child, for her true mission is to kill the lord. However, when Nyx finally comes face to face with the monster, she finds out he is nothing like what she expected.
“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”
Beauty and the Beast has been done countless different times but the romance depicted in this novel somehow seems the truest. It’s not a love story that will make you smile as you snuggle your favorite stuffed unicorn. It’s a love story with sacrifice, pain, and little hope. One you will remember.
Knowing you have been cursed would take a toll on anyone, and Nyx’s personality reflects that. She is a very real character, with very authentic emotions. It is easy to understand her motives and accept her flaws. Ignifex, the demon lord, is also a very unique character with a lot of depth. Although he does not reveal anything about himself at first, as the novel goes on you get to know him, love him, and even pity him.
Hodge tells a intricate story, and it is difficult to keep up sometimes but that is all the more reason to savor the novel and read it slowly. There are some stunning quotes in CRUEL BEAUTY, and a lot of the writing reminds me of the wonderful descriptions in Erin Morgenstern’s THE NIGHT CIRCUS.
I’m going to give you a piece of advice I have never given before: do be fooled by that cover. CRUEL BEAUTY is just as gorgeous inside as it is on the outside.