ARC Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

January 23, 2014 Review 60 ★★★★½

ARC Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Source: Publisher
Pages: 352
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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

60 Responses to “ARC Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge”

  1. Bec



    (also, very good review as always, my… idk. We should totally make random/strange pet names for each other, just because we can) (irrelevant, pointless ideas ftw! :P )

    • Alise

      I would say it’s a balanced mixture of the two, but either way it’s extremely unique :) I kind of blew through it too so no worries, aha.

  2. Deyse

    A already read some reviews about this book and all of them talk about how amazing this book is! Beauty and the Beast was also my favorite fairy tale when I was a kid and I keep seeing the movie (even now) and falling for the story all over again, so when I heard it was a retelling story I couldn’t help myself to want it badly haha I already put this on my Kobo and soon will be reading. Great review ;)
    Deyse recently posted…The It Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar

    • Alise

      Same! I really like all the different movie adaptions they have. I don’t know if you have seen Once Upon a Time but I love the Beauty and the Beast Rumplestilskin/Belle relationship :) Thanks!

      • Deyse

        OMG! YES RUMPLESTILSKIN/BELLE IS SO AMAZING!!! I watch Once Upon a Time and when they told the story in the first season I was just “woooooow/all the fangirl feelings activate” haha But seriously, my friends hate them and I’m just so happy I finally found someone that love them too. :D
        Deyse recently posted…Deyse Says On Bloglovin

        • Alise

          AHH THAT IS SO COOL. I was just throwing that out there as a comparison but it’s AWESOME you know what I am talking about :D I KNOW THEY ARE SO CUTE I LOVE THEM.

  3. Stormi

    It’s really good to hear that some are liking this book, the first review I read of it the lady only gave it a two and I was like..nooo. I have it to review but haven’t had a chance to get to it yet, so I do hope I like it. :)
    Stormi recently posted…Movie Review: Gimme Shelter

  4. sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    I was just thinking how it’s been forever since I’ve stopped by your blog and I realized it was because I wasn’t following you on Feedly. Totally fixed that!

    With Beauty and the Beast being a favorite of yours I’m so glad this retelling didn’t disappoint. I thought Nyx was well written. Of course her emotions and feelings would be all over the place with the knowledge of her future she had to grow up with. I liked this one too. :)
    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted…Review: Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison

  5. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    I actually read this book twice, as I don’t think I grasped every single detail the first time around, and it definitely made the world-building and concepts all the more exciting and richer for me. I had some issues with the romance that stopped me from loving this completely, but I’m really glad to see that it worked for you. Lovely review! :)
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

    • Alise

      I know exactly what you mean-I really could benefit from reading this one again! I too felt like I missed so much :) The romance, yeah, wasn’t exactly perfect. Thanks :)

  6. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Goodness, so many of my friends have been loving this one so much. I tried a few pages and I agree that the narration is absolutely breath-taking. Can’t wait to read more! I’m in for a treat knowing the majority of my blogger friends are giving it 4-5 stars! Also helps the cover is spectacular, too :P
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Review: Fake ID by Lamar Giles

    • Alise

      Right? That is one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen-would be awesome as a poster or something :) I hope you end up enjoying the rest of it!

  7. tonyalee

    YAY! I am so glad you loved this one :) I loved Nyx, even though she was hard to like at times but she was just SO REAL and her thoughts were realistic.

    Great review :)

  8. Miss Page-Turner

    I just read a review of CRUEL BEAUTY on another blog raving about how awesome it is and I thought I should pick up a copy, but now after your review, too? Well, I’m barely able to contain myself and run screaming for the next book store, ha. I love retellings, too and the forbidden romance sounds so yum. Thanks so much for your review!:)
    Miss Page-Turner recently posted…Behind The Pages #1 – The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

    • Alise

      Aha, I know the feeling! After I see so many positive reviews for a book I MUST have it :) Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    Oooh nice review! I am soooo eager to read this one! I can’t help but gush over every positive review. There have been quite a lot of them too! Glad to hear it’s a great read! Again, great review!

  10. Summer/Sunny

    I’m extremely happy right now. This book. I haven’t read it, but I have a major case of grabby hands because I’m seeing so many positive reviews (at first I saw negative ones though) and this review. Ah. My heart. I’m ready for the plot and the beautiful writing.

  11. Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens

    Wohoo! Maybe we should start a fan club for this book. I totally ship Nyx and Ignifex’s characters who are both adorable. I love the wicked games that they play between one another. I love their banter even if it sometimes leads to really morbid threats. Hahahaha.

    I concede that Ignifex’s situation is really pitiful. Once I saw his true nature, I wasn’t able to stop myself from thinking that Nyx and him may have reversed position…him being the Beauty and Nyx, the beast.

    Great review, Alise.
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…My Blogging Fears

    • Alise

      That would be awesome xD I almost wish it would be a series but I think it’s better off as a single book. Hahaha, definitely a love -hate relationship but they definitely would do anything for each other :)

    • Alise

      It’s a great read, really :) The romance might not be for everything but in the end it all makes sense and the two became one of my favorite couples!

  12. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    You don’t know how happy I am to know that you loved this book! I am SO glad you gave it a go and that it did not disappoint you. I agree how this story is as beautiful as the cover, and that the writing style is just flawless. I also like how Hodge was able to intertwine Greek Mythology and Beauty and the Beast. I also love the romance! It was unique and Ignifex is so adorable.
    Leigh @ Little Book Star recently posted…Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

    • Alise

      I agree, those two are so cute with their bantering. The mythology got a little confusing but it’s great that is was included and combined with the retelling because it just made the story that much more unique :)

  13. Aman

    This was such a beautiful book, I absolutely loved Nyx’s character. Though the backstory was hard to follow in the beginning, the working of hermetic made me sense to me, but you real along, everything becomes more clear. I’m glad you loved it too! Wonderful review, Alise! :)
    Aman recently posted…Review: Misbehaving by Abbi Glines

  14. Kirsty-Marie

    THIS BOOK. AND IGNIFEX. Can’t even. It was everything I hoped for and more, and if I’m honest, I was really surprised by it. By the cover, I hoped it would be, but wasn’t expecting it to actually be. Probably made me love it all the more, and ugh, just woven perfectly. Glad you enjoyed it! :)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Anything to Have You

    • Alise

      I so agree, woven perfectly is a fantastic way to describe it. I actually had pretty high expectations for this one so it was great they were met!

  15. Tina

    Cruel beauty was so amazing! I loved Nyx with her wicked side, and her desires for revenge, one of best MC that I’ve ever read about. And Ignifex… WoW, I’m in love with this man. Their romance was so perfect…
    I’m a huge fan of retellings, and this one was a mixture of all my favourite fairy tales (Beauty and the Beast, Rumpelstiltskin…) with some Greek mythology.
    I read the entire book in two days and I enjoyed every page.

    Great review!
    Tina recently posted…Tow Dolly Rental

    • Alise

      I’m so glad you liked this one too! I so agree, everyone has a wicked side so it was great to see that the author also focused on Nyx’s, it made her more real. Ah, same! Rumplestilskin and B&B are made of awesome :)

      Thank you!

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