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.
This is the second retell of Beauty and the Beast I have read this year, the first by Stacie Jay, I really enjoyed. This one I totally loved as well for completely different reasons. It’s so interesting to see how many different ways this story can be told!
It took me a little while to get into the authors writing style, but once I did, I loved this story. The mix of the classic fairy tale and mythology was really interesting, and I loved that the heroine was exactly that, not a trace of damsel. Nyx reminds me a bit of Adelina from The Young Elites – she’s got a dark side and she’s not afraid to show it.
I had basically figured out the twist between the Gentle Lord and his shadow – but that’s because it’s based on a story I already know. I still thought it was done really well. The idea of the rose under the cloche was the most interesting twist in this (besides the mythology), the way she translated that was so interesting!
Based on the reviews I have read for this book, you either love it or you hate it. Obviously I loved it, but I think part of the reason some people aren’t enjoying it as much is because without a basic knowledge of the myths Hodge references I can see it being confusing. Especially since the myths she uses act as major players in the overall arch of the story.
Basically though, it was a great read and I am looking forward to her take on Little Red Riding Hood.