Monday, October 27, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Image via Goodreads
Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Bought
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Fairy tale retelling
Purchase link: Book Depository


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.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was raised to marry a monster.

Nyx was due to be married to the Gentle Lord, evil ruler of the kingdom of Arcadia and king of demons, upon reaching the age of seventeen. Her father had made a bargain with the Gentle Lord so that his wife would be able to conceive children. In return, Nyx's father promised to have one of his twin daughters married to the Gentle Lord. As her father favoured her twin sister, Astraia more, he had chosen Nyx to be the sacrifice. Since the age of 9, Nyx had been told of her fate and was trained to kill her future husband. 

Cruel Beauty is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. At some point of the story, I could see traces of other fairy tales blended into the plot. Take Rumpelstiltskin for example- the Gentle Lord informed Nyx on the first day of their marriage to call him Ignifex but would ask that she guess his real name every night. Guess it right and she would be set free from the castle, guess it wrong and she would die.

Nyx is such a real character. She's angry at her father for not loving her enough, angry and jealous of Astraia for being the favourite child and not having to go through what Nyx was fated to. Nyx is human and flawed and I like that in a character. 

Oh, Ignifex, how I fell for you! There's a love triangle going on in the story for a while. In the beginning, I was definitely rooting for Shade, the shadow but found myself falling for Ignifex as the story progresses. He leaves Nyx in peace and doesn't force her into doing anything that she's uncomfortable with. Well, there is that one time when he locked her in a room where he kept all his eight dead wives in... But, really, he's a nice guy. He loves Nyx and has accepted her for who she is as a person. 

Towards the end of the story, there's this one scene which I nearly cried reading. Nyx and Ignifex held on to each other as swarms of demons encircled and attacked them. They didn't let each other go and they know that as long as they're together, they will be fine. That is sad and beautiful at the same time.

I'm a sucker for romance and this is a well-written love story. I absolutely enjoyed it! Cruel Beauty has officially secured a spot on my favourites shelf on Goodreads. 

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