by Rosamund Hodge Published by Balzer + Bray
, Harper Collins
on January 28th 2014 Genres: Fantasy
, Young Adult Source: Publisher Buy on Amazon Goodreads
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.
I do love good Fantasy books and I found myself craving these stories more and more. I always admire authors who have such a vivid and outstanding imagination and Cruel Beauty comes with an exciting premise!
Also, I’m super excited to host my Review today during the Blog Tour for Cruel Beauty, so stay tuned and there will be a Giveaway at the end for you! Thanks to Jamie and Rachel from Rockstar Book Tours
for organising this Blog Tour
Good – Evil ?
Before going deeper into the story I’d like to start with an overall theme of this novel that I found to be truly outstanding and highly intriguing. Often, labels such as good and evil are easy to set, a person is ei
ther mostly good, ro mostly evil which would make this one the villain and the other one the hero.
In Cruel Beauty we cannot apply these labels so easily and good and evil blur into each other.
I loved how delicately Rossamund Hodge approached this issue and did not shy away from creating characters we would like to easily assume being evil, but end of caring for.
Especially Ignifex the demon lord wasn’t easy to put into box. He was obviously not the nicest guy in town, but the more we get to know him the easier it is to forget some things he has done. It was incredibly intriguing to follow our own emotions about this very bivalent character.
Nyx – destined to kill your one true love?
Nxy was the heroine and main character in this story. From early on she knew that she was going to marry the evil Demon Lord and her father prepared her to meet her destiny.
Also here, Rossamund Hodge took an interesting approach and didn’t made Nxy a heroine who easily accepted her destiny and the path her father choose for her. She was actually very bitter about this. She was jealous that her twin sister was given a wonderful life, while she must marry a demon, kill him or die trying. There was not much hope for Nxy.
Still, she was not completely unlikable like you might assume, I found it rather refreshing having a heroine who is not ready to die for the greater good and is the perfect selfless heroine. I liked this honesty about her very much!
And it’s also these character traits that make her just the perfect love interest for a demon. Both of them are not without flaws and each one knows that they are not the perfect selfless heroes.
Unique and beautiful fantasy elements with a wonderful romance
Most fascinating about Cruel Beauty is definitely the development of the world. Inspired by Greek mythology we still find very unique elements that definitely stand out. Then there is the mysterious castle the Demon Lord lives in and when Nxy explores the house it’s constantly changing with new doors that lead to mesmerizing places. It was absolutely fantastic! Even more, there is a major twist in this story that made me gasp, very excited, but took me some time to wrap my mind around it. The romance was definitely full of chemistry but left me a little lukewarm to be honest. I cannot even put my finger on what I found missing, but I think I was hoping for more sizzling romance and instead found myself not being fully engrossed.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is a very melancholic, yet mesmerizing, surreal and outstanding debut, that let’s us see good and evil with new eyes!
Rosamund Hodge grew up as a homeschooler in Los Angeles, where she spent her time reading everything she could lay hands on, but especially fantasy and mythology. She got a BA in English from the University of Dallas and an MSt in Medieval English from Oxford, and she now lives in Seattle with seven toy cats and a plush Cthulhu. Visit her on the web at http://www.rosamundhodge.net/
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