'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

REVIEW: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Cruel Beauty
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.
*Received in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you, Balzer & Bray*
Cruel Beauty is a book that I've been highly anticipating, so when Edelweiss pinged up with an approval I was completely overjoyed! This book was nothing like what I expected and nothing that I've read before. It's a wonderful blend of fantasy and romance with Hodge creating a world that I was completely consumed by. This was definitely a case of wow, is this real?! I could imagine the details vividly - it would make one hell of a film. I've never read a retelling of Beauty and Beast up until now and wow did this one blow me away! This wonderfully complex tale leaves no room for putting down as Hodge sweeps us up and takes us on a whirlwind of adventure, romance and suspense through the eyes of Nyx and her arranged marriage to Ignifex, our beast. 

As I said above, Cruel Beauty was nothing like what I expected it to me. I expected a relatively simplistic retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a couple of twists. I wasn't prepared for the complex world that Hodge created; from the familial battles to the Shadow within Ignifex's castle to the romance and the relationships which developed and the absolutely poetical language used by Hodge to convey all of this. I was completely swept away into this world and left wanting more at the end. I definitely hope we hear more from Ms. Hodge because her writing style is absolutely stunning! Nyx is such a wonderful character to follow, she is strong and feisty yet so realistic in her emotions and motives. She strives for the love of her father yet cannot accept any love from her sister. Nyx is such a complex character and I loved unravelling her mysteries as the novel progressed.

The relationship which builds between Ignifex and Nyx is beautiful, humorous and full of suspense. It was never possible to tell whether Nyx was going to cut his throat or that Ignifex was going to throw her into the dungeons. As this relationship develops, I loved finding out about all of the twists and turns in each of their lives. Ignifex is a character that I absolutely adored. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to him. The only thing which prevented this from being a 5* was that the ending was almost disastrous. Thank you so much for not ending in a way that I thought you were going to! I wish I could go into this more but I really don't want to spoil this novel for anyone. It's bloody brilliant. I think the main thing which drew me into this story was the absolute complexity of everything. Everything was interlinked in ways that I'd never have imagined.

I thought that it would be incredibly predictable as we all know the story of Beauty and the Beast, but I found myself being continuously surprised by the narrative. Cruel Beauty is such an enticing book mixing cruelty, romance, medieval attributes and fantasy into a completely unputdownable blend of words. I can't wait for it to come out so that I can put it on my shelf! 


  1. I quite liked this one too and also thought the writing was really beautiful but I did have some issues with it. I didn't like Nyx all that much, Great review : )

    Kate @ The Little Blog of Geek

  2. Oooh very nice review! I've requested this numerous times with Edelweiss and have received numerous denials. I have so much better luck with Netgalley. Le sigh...

    Still cannot wait to read this one once it releases! Love the tale of Beauty and the Beast and loooove the retellings! Some are a different fairy tale twist like you were expecting and than others are just ones that blow you away! And this sounds like the latter!!! I am beyond excited to read it!

    By chance what did you rate this as? I can't seem to see your pictured rating. Tend to have bad luck with that lately...

    Great review all the same!

    1. I gave it a 4* rating :).

      Funnily enough Edelweiss generally hates me but I've been auto'd for some harper collins which is incredible. I hope you get it soon it is suuuch a wonderful and beautiful book. Looking forward to seeing your review!

  3. Oooh yay yay yay *does a little dance* I got this one from EW too and I was equal parts excited and terrified to get into it but reading this lovely review just made my day! I adore how you describe the writing style and especially the characters ♥ I can't wait to jump into this one :D

  4. You've never read "Beauty and the Beast" retellings before? Clearly after enjoying this one so much you now know what you've been missing and can rectify that. :)
    Your last paragraph makes me want to read this book all the more. I can't wait until it's published.

    1. Apart from an Angela Carter one, nope! I'm completely up for recommendations though :)


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