Wed, January 29, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge Review

Cruel Beauty book cover

Cruel Beautybook cover

Cruel Beauty
By Rosamund Hodge
Publication date: Jan. 28, 2014
Balzer + Bray, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

— Goodreads.com description

I read Cruel Beauty like a bull in a china shop.

What’s that mean?

I got invested quickly, then plowed my way through to the end, not stopping to appreciate or fully process Rosamund Hodge’s intricate plotting and mythology references.

But, alas, I was too “AHHH LOVE STORY I NEED TO KNOW THE ENDING” and I just know I missed a ton.

So don’t be a bad reader like me!

Still, knowing that I totally bungled the reading process, I really liked this book for many reasons:

(1) It was a lovely look at all sides of humanity — the wickedness and kindness we all have within us.
(2) It’s VERY Beauty and the Beast, which I adore.
(3) The girl falls in love with the bad guy. It’s THE BEST when that happens and you root for it.*
(4) The story is set in a magical (but scary) house that’s constantly changing and has a zillion doors that each open into a different scary and/or magical fantasyland. Which I used to daydream about as a kid ALL THE TIME.
(5) Even though I sped through it, I did like the Greek mythology references!

One warning: The Beauty and the Beast reference in the book description is spot-on…but I didn’t get the Graceling comparison whatsoever. So just don’t go in expecting that, because you won’t get it. But! You will get a really fascinating, complex and twisted story that I enjoyed, and I hope you will too!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*Unless it’s in Tahereh Mafi’s books, then blech. I’m contradicting myself, I know. Hey, I’m human afterall. Oh! Which is what Cruel Beauty is about! BOOM, full circle.

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: demons, fantasy, mythology, romance, rosamund hodge
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20 Comments

  1. Tori @ YA Book Queens said:

    Oh my god, you don’t like Juliette and Warner together? Oh my god, lol. This is a lot for me to take in xD Anyway, I usually end up rooting for the “bad boy,” which probably says a lot about my character, but oh well, aha.

    Great review as always! I’ve been seeing reviews for Cruel Beauty everywhere, and I want to read this book so bad. Sososososo bad.

    T

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Sorry to throw that one at you, Tori. HAHAHA love it!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  2. Pam@YAEscapefromReality said:

    I’ve read nothing but great things about this book. I do love the hate turned to love romances, but I completely agree with you about Warner. Ugh! I have a bad feeling about Ignite Me when it comes to Adam….

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    I AM SO SCARED, PAM. SO SCARED.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  3. Tara said:

    Must. Read. This. Book. Although I’m still a bit scarred from Beastly…

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    *shudders*

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  4. Nikki @ Foil the Plot said:

    I’m so excited for this one, probably more for the Greek mythology references than anything. And with ever review I’ve read of this book, it sounds super complex and layered so I’ll definitely take your advice and take my time. Really excited to read this one!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Good, someone who will get & appreciate them more than I did. I can be such a bad, lazy reader sometimes grrr!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  5. Anna Copeland said:

    I am reading this right now and I agree I have to keep slowing myself down because I am tearing it up lol

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    AHHHHHH! Just like me!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  6. D. @ The Nerdy Journalist said:

    A lot of the reviews that I’ve seen for this book have been “meh.” I’m glad your review is positive because I’ve been waiting for this book for a while, and it’d be tragic if it was just “meh.” *sigh* Now I just need to get my hands on a copy…
    P.S. I don’t like Warner either. Tehereh Mafi seems set on turning him into a hero… so, if he must end up on Juliette’s side of the fight, I hope he dies a martyr (like Luke Castellan). Honestly, I just want him gone. I <3 Adam.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Meh! Really! I mean, okay, it’s super dark and angstylicious, you know what I mean? But I was totally in the mood. I get I’m a big hypocrite when it comes to angst because one day I say there’s too much of it (cough NA cough), and then today I say I liked it in this book. I guess it just depends on how well it’s done? Anyhoo. BOO WARNER. The end.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  7. JB said:

    As much as I’ve been wanting to read this book, your review makes me want to read it even more. Moving it up on my TBR!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Hooray! I have done my job.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  8. Tina said:

    I SO want to read this…gaaaah! Every time I see a raving review, I desperately want this book! (I love fairy tale rewrites…though I’ve heard this one is more mythology then fairy tale). I will probably have trouble reading it slowly though…I tend to read everything fast.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Hope you get your hands on it soon — enjoy!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  9. Maddy @ Symphony of Words said:

    OMG, I completely agree! This books was magical and written so intricately! To date this has got to be one of the most cleverly written YA books I’ve come across. Great review!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  10. Emma @ HopefulHappiness said:

    I really like that you mentioned how this book takes a look at both sides of humanity. I really appreciated that aspect as well. It’s interesting how circumstances and your environment can bring out certain aspects of your personality.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Sounds like we had a very similar reaction — I love that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Emma. It’s so nice to hear from other readers. It’s such an individual hobby that to know you’re not the only one reading something and reacting a certain way is a delight!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

  11. "All it had cost me was everything." | Hopeful HappinessHopeful Happiness said:

    […] Anna Reads:  “You will get a really fascinating, complex and twisted story that I enjoyed, and I hope you w… […]

    Posted on: Wed, January 29, 2014

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