All About Books

A book blog, mostly touring foreign worlds of fantasy novels with occasional detours into space and explorations of magical realism, featuring book reviews, random bookish thoughts and hand lettered quotes.

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


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 thoughts

Even though I didn’t like the romance in this book I got exactly what I expected which made me like this one a lot. With being a retelling of The Beauty and the Beast it is somewhat predictable but there are also lots of different aspects about the book that made up for insta-love and predictability.

On the one hand we have the typical YA paranormal love interest: He is supposed to be the bad guy, he is some paranormal creature and therefor quite old (in this case 900 years). It’s not only this predictable love story but it also comes with another love interest with whom this insta-love thing is even worse. If never read about a girl falling in love with someone THAT fast.
BUT: The Gentle Lord is a really interesting character and especially his background story but also some of the other characters made up for this. I usually don’t like stories that come with a love-triangle and insta-love but in this case it didn’t bother me in a way so that I couldn’t enjoy the story.

Ignifex, the Gentle Lord is not only a swoon worthy dark guy but he is actually pretty interesting. His past it rather fuzzy and I loved this big mystery around him that Nyx has to solve. I didn’t like the second guy in the picture but he still had something interesting about him too.
Once the love triangle dissolves it suddenly makes a whole lot of sense why it came to that in the first place. And there was something about this that was kind of mind blowing when revealed.

Even though I disliked the romance in principle there was always something to it that made me still enjoy the book.

What really made me enjoy this story a whole lot is the retelling and the world building. These are amazing. I only know the story about the Beauty and the Beast from the Disney movie and can’t compare it to the original story. From what I know Cruel Beauty had the significant aspects from the story in it, so that the overall story is predictable, but Rosamund Hodge put so many new things into it, changed a lot that it was still recognizable but more exciting and surprising which made me love this a lot. There was even some Greek mythology in here that made for a story that blew my mind.

I think when you know what you have to expect with this one you will enjoy it a whole lot. I myself had a great time reading it and I couldn’t put it down. A great take on The Beauty and the Beast with many new twists and turns, an epic background story and adorable, interesting characters who make it easy to condone insta-love and love triangle.

Cruel Beauty by

Published January 28, 2014