Monday, March 3, 2014

[Book Review] Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel BeautyCruel 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.

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Wow. I am absolutely speechless. I definitely liked this one. 

“They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense. But now I knew that every mad word was true.”

Story begins with Nyx getting ready for a wedding. With Gentle Lord – a demon. Ever since birth she was getting ready for her faith to pay her father’s bargain that he made with the demon. Because he gave him children, one of his daughters was bound to marry him and that was supposed to be Nyx. But she is going to the castle with a mission to kill Gentle Lord and free her land that has been cut away from the world for over nine hundred years. 

“You were sent here to die. You were the one that was not needed, was not wanted, and they sent you here because they knew you would never come back.”

When Nyx meets Gentle Lord, he is nothing what she thought he was. The Lord of the Bargains, he is beautiful, powerful, and knows exactly what she is up to. Nyx knows that she should have expected this and hates him with all of her heart. But what she didn’t expect was to feel sorry for him and to actually love him. 

“I knew it was insane to be happy, to feel this desperate exultation at his words. But I felt like I had been waiting all my life to hear them. I had been waiting, all my life, for someone undeceived to love me. And now he did, and it felt like walking into the dazzling sunlight of the Heart of Earth. Except that the sunlight was false, and his love was real.”

Let me say this one more time: WOW! Even thought Cruel Beauty started out a little confusing, I loved it. The reason why I say confusing was because of the history that laid behind their world. But once she went to Gentle Lord’s house, it was like the book had some sort of magical powers over me or something. 

With Beauty and the Beast element plus the Bluebeard feeling (murdered wives, locked doors), this was thrilling and actually quiet chilling at times. Most scariest part of it was definitely Children of Thyron with their soft children-like song, burning hollow eyes, and tiny claws. Cruel Beauty is the kind of Retelling story that is done just right and could not have been more interesting. Recommend it for anyone who’s into mythology & retellings. 

““All it had cost me was everything…”