Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publication: January 28th 2014 by Balzer & Bray
Genre: Young Adult ~ Fantasy
Format: e-arc from Edelweiss
Cover Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5

e-arc provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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.

~My Thoughts:

A mix of fairytale retelling and greek mythology, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is a fantastically, imaginative story that blew me away!

The reason I started this book was actually sort of random. I wanted to read a book that I had received from Edelweiss because I've gotten quite some great books and I said to myself I should make work of them. Cruel Beauty was the one that spoke to me the most because of the amazing description and gorgeous cover. I just want to jump in the air and yell thank you for whichever other reason I decided to read it. 

Cruel Beauty features a seventeen year-old girl named Nyx. She's been betrothed to a monster, a demon lord, all her life thanks to a bargain that her father made with the Gentle Lord who rules the kingdom. But until the day of her wedding which is on her 17th birthday she's been taught by her father how to try and destroy the Gentle Lord (a.k.a. Ignifex), avenge her mother and break the curse, with which the kingdom has suffered for over 900 years. When the day finally comes and Nyx marries Ignifex he seems different from what she has expected all her life, which was a cruel monster. Instead she finds herself drawn to him. As she struggles to find a way to free her people of the curse and uncover the Gentle Lord's secrets, she finds it hard to keep going on the right track and her heart protected from him.

"A virgin knife in a virgin's hand can kill the beast that rules the land."

This book... My favorite one of the year so far. By far. It left such a huge impression on me, especially because it's the author's debut! I can hardly believe it. The story itself was so fascinating. I couldn't stop reading at all and finished in two days time. At one point I was even walking and reading (don't try this at home, kids!) because I didn't want to stop. Yes, it was THAT good. The writing was unbelievable gorgeous. I all but inhaled word for word and loved it beyond believe. I was very engrossed by the enchanting world Rosamind Hodge has created with this book. The allure! 

I knew that soon I would realize what I had done, that the acid of my self-loathing would eat through my walls and burn me down to the bone.

Nyx has got to be one of my favorite young adult characters EVER. I might say this with every good book I read but this book wasn't just good or great or awesome it was the most enticing book I have read lately and I've read a lot of compelling books this year already. Unlike so many other young adult books, Nyx was actually not a damsel in distress or got caught up in a insta-love spell, no, she knew who she was and what she had to do. Kill her husband to save the kingdom. It was only slowly, but surely that she fell for Ignifex. And even then, when she had fallen in love she knew that at some point she might have to hurt him. If she's done it, I will let you guess because I'm sure as hell not giving that away. 
Ignifex's (or the Gentle Lord) character was very interesting to say the least. I'm not sure what I expected from him. I had also expected a monster just like Nyx but I found myself liking him right away. He was so charming but more than that he was a different character on his own. The way the author wrote him was very nicely done. I loved how he also had his vulnerabilities. But, gods, him and Nyx were perfect together.

Demons are made of shadow. Don't look at the shadows too long or a demon might look back.

So Cruel Beauty is based on the fairytale of Beauty and the Beast (which is one of my favorite fairytales every) but it also has Greek mythology (also one of my favorite things ever!) intregrated in it. I must say that makes an interesting mix and I can only bow down to Rosamund Hodge's brilliance for she has written this book with so much ingenuity and freshness that I was rocked off my socks by it and this doesn't often happen. 
The world in Cruel Beauty was wonderful to read about. Stunningly beautiful but yet mysteriously dark also. Gotta love that! 

In my family, nobody's love had given anything but cruelty and sorrow, and nobody's love had ever stopped giving.

Overall Cruel Beauty is pure perfection. It's as simple as that. There were no negatives for me at all. The story, the writing, the characters, the world. Amazing! I'm sure it's going to be a huge hit with almost everyone. I'm absolutely looking forward when this book actually comes out and I will definitely get a physical copy of my own. Also doesn't often happen when I read an e-arc that I want to get the actually printed version too. I just need it. I also feel like I will reread this in the near future. I almost started it right away again after finishing. And I can't wait to read more books by this author in the future. I am more than sure we will see great things from her. 5 stars more than deserved for Cruel Beauty!

Favorite Quotes:
Every half-educated child knew about the Sibyl's Rhyme. In the ancient days, Apollo would sometimes touch a woman with his power, granting her wisdom and driving her mad at once, and she would live in his sacred grotto and prophesy on his behalf.
The ancient poems, written before the Sundering, said that the sun—the true sun, chariot of Helios—was so bright it blinded all who looked upon it. They spoke of rose-fingered Dawn, who painted the east in shades of pink and gold. They praised the boundless blue dome of the sky.
They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense. But now I knew what every mad word was true.
When I was much younger, I sometimes imagined that the sky was in illustration in a book, that we were all nestled safely between the covers, and that if I could only find the book and open it, we would all escape without having to fight the Gentle Lord.

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