Friday, January 24, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Standalone
352p.
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Published: Jan. 28, 14
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
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 thoughts:
Yep, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Best which is probably my favorite story for retelling. Not because there is a beauty or even a beast, but often because the girl/woman has a brain. It is also often her kindness and not her beauty that captures the beast. In this tale it is no different but there are some major character differences I both loved and hated.

I loved that the beast was not 100% cruel. He was just charged with not having a pure heart. Even though they never defined what a pure heart was for this world, I didn't see how anyone could achieve such a thing. We are all a mix of both cruelty and kindness, purity and well... not so pure. :) So, I did enjoy that both characters were charged with being cruel and kind. Even that purity was discussed, I think it centered more on fear and bravery.

The difference I didn't love was with Nyx. She kept berating herself on her "evil" thoughts. It became so much I just wanted to tell her to "chill" a bit and give herself a break. No one is so perfect that they never have a negative thought. However, she is young and is trying to be the best person she can, so it was also easy to forgive her... but I still wanted to make her relax from time to time.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed this story. It keeps pretty close to what we know about the story and so it isn't unpredictable. I didn't mind that but it did make me want to yell at Nyx so she could see what she was missing in the puzzle she was trying to solve. Sometimes those are fun. I recommend the book to fans of the story Beauty and the Beast as well as fairy tale retellings.

31 comments:

  1. I see this one a lot but I confess I wasn't so sure because I'm always a little anxious about retellings, some are really good but others... but it seems that this one is really interesting so I'll have to check it out I think.

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    1. I do like retellings so that was a plus for me. :)

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  2. Like you, Melissa, I really liked how both Ignifex and Nyx were such complex and nuanced charcters, both containing both good and evil within them. It's a tough balance to strike but it worked marvelously in this piece. Fantastic review, my friend!

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  3. I just finished this last night and, yeah, wanted to tell Nyx to chill on the "I'm evil" bit. She isn't evil! Just angry and bitter at her lot in life, which I totally understand. And I loved Ignifex. GREAT character.

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    1. She so needs a chill pill. :D I agree.. I really enjoyed Ignifex. :D

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  4. Despite my mixed thoughts on re-tellings I do like the sound of this and what a gorgeous cover.

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    1. Hm... you might enjoy this one. I think it just depends on if you do like retellings a lot. :)

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  5. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings so I've been looking forward t this one.

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    1. So do I! :) I hope you enjoy and would love to see a version from you... *hint* ;D

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  6. This book seems to be everywhere! I do love the sound of these complex and nuanced characters so I'll just pick it up because of this reason only.

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  7. Glad you enjoyed this one overall Melissa even if you did want Nyx to lighten up on herself a bit ;-) I agree, I think her sister should have shouldered some of the guilt and pain poor Nyx had to carry around. I loved this one so much though, it was all dark and a little twisted and I need more from Rosamund immediately!

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    1. I loved the alterna sis. Totally made sense to me. :) I enjoyed my self as well!

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  8. The cover confused me a bit, it does not look like the genre

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    1. I liked the cover and it makes some sense when you read it.

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  9. Between you and Jenny! I am so glad that you liked it even if it had its issues. I wish I liked retellings more but I feel like I can like them through you :)

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    1. Maybe you won't be able to resist retellings after we get through with you... *evil laugh* ;)

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  10. So happy you enjoyed this book! I loved it.

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  11. I just started this last night and so far I am intrigued. Lovely writing but the aunt is a wacko!

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    1. LOL! I think that whole family is a whack job. :D Yea, that aunt was a piece. :)

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  12. I am definitely going to want to read this one. You are the first one that has said that about Nyx. That will definitely make it a little more difficult to enjoy. But I love Beauty and The Beast as well. Any of them!

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    1. It makes sense in a way, but it was a bit much for me. Still, wasn't enough to make me not like it. :) I think you will be fine with it.

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  13. I'm not always the biggest fan of retellings but I LOVED this book! The Gentle Lord (Beast) was fantastic and this was a romance that I really enjoyed a lot. I didn't get annoyed with Nyx, except toward the end and a decision she made. But I was a little confused sometimes, it was hard to wrap my head around it all!

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  14. I just finished this and loved it! Glad you enjoyed it too, even if Nyx did annoy you. She didn't bother me, but I totally understand where you're coming from. Awesome review! :-)

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  15. I saw the cover and thought: nope, not for me. But your review makes me want to read it after all. Thanks Melissa.

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  16. Nice review! Never thought of that, but you're right about Belle being one of the few heroines who has a brain! Sleeping Beauty used to annoy me, as she just slept until the Prince came to save her.

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  17. So glad you enjoyed Cruel Beauty too! The only thing that bugs me about B&B is how she is his prisoner turned love interest. But with this book, it's a nice spin that offers a twisted, yet good reason for her to be there.

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  18. I just got this today! I'm so excited. I'm a little worried too because after all rave reviews I'm hearing more negative one as well. lol

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  19. Not many standalone reads these days. I like that this is. And it sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing a new one with me. :)

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