Saturday, January 25, 2014 21:44

Review 230. Rosamund Hodge – Cruel beauty.

15839984Title: Cruel Beauty.
Author: Rosamund Hodge.
Pages: 352.
Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Balzer & Bray
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: ARC from Publisher for a honest review.

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.
Rating:

Like you all might know by now, Beauty and the beast is my favorite fairytale, so I was excited and scared for this book at the same time. There was no need for this, because it not only lived up to my expectations - it exceeded it. The first and most important thing I need to say is: I personally LOVED this book, but I don’t think this will work for everyone. It was a magical journey through a complex and interesting mix of fairytales and mythology for me, but I don't think everyone will feel that way.

I had a lot of trouble trying to write a coherent review to convey my love for this book and I hope it works.

The basic story is Nyx’ marriage to the Gentle Lord – prince of Demons - after a bargain her father made years ago. She grew up with the knowledge that she would need to sacrifice herself to save Arcadia. But when Nyx comes to live with the Gentle Lord, who calls himself Ignifex, she finds out that he is different. Not only that, her plan to collapse his house isn’t going to work. It’s up to Nyx to find a new way, but can she still kill the man she has fallen in love with?

This book shines in different aspects. The first thing that hooked me was the writing-style. Hodge has a beautiful prose that flows off the pages. I was enthralled by her descriptions and the world she created. The combination of Mythology and fairytales is spectacular and she created something unique. I really liked how she set up the plot and how everything slowly unravels.

Now on to the characters, who were just perfect in their imperfect way. The thing with these characters is that they know they have bad sides and they still find a way to deal with it. Nyx has evil in her heart and she tries to deal with it. She bears hate and love towards her family and she struggles with that. This made the sister-dynamic very interesting and I love that they stick with each other, no matter what. Nyx is also feisty and loyal. Her first encounter with her new husband ends up in a fight, where she smashes her fist into his face. Their banters were highly amusing and I ship them. I ship them hard.

Ignifex is a perfect example of an anti-hero. He has these different sides we also see in the Beast from the original tale. He can be harsh and mean, but on the inside is a charming man who is trapped in a life he created in desperation. In the beginning you only see him as the bad guy. He makes bargains with foolish people, tricking them into a (most of the times) horrible fate, but when you find out that he isn’t evil because he wants to – that is the moment you are practically begging for them to find a way to free him.

”Ignifex sat down. ‘If you start wondering how this house works, you’ll likely go mad. That could be amusing, I suppose. Especially if it’s the kind of madness that causes you to run naked through the hallways. Do feel free to indulge in that anytime.’”

Nyx and Ignifex are meant for each other with their sizzling chemistry. You could call it insta-love, but it worked for me. It made sure that the story keeps it’s pace. There is also a slight hint of love-triangle. Let me assure you: it makes sense. The ending is just like I wanted it to be. There is justice and waiting – but it ends realistic and satisfying.

I look forward to more work from this author. If you want to read a good review, I recommend visiting this one from Christina Reads YA. She did a much better job than I did.

author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

58 comments:

  1. This book is on my wish list. I really want to read it sometime :) I hope I can finish reading the books I already have in the bookcase soon and then I'll buy me this one :)

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  2. I love retellings and this makes me want to read Cruel Beauty even more. I've heard iffy things about it but now I am so excited for it! It also has mythology? That's so cool! Lovely review,Mel! :D

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    1. Yes, it's even more mythology than retelling! :)

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  3. Oh Mel I adored this story so much, love your descriptions of the writing because it was truly amazing! I think referring to Ignifex as an anti-hero is exactly right, we grow to pity and emphasise with him at the end. The chemistry was amazing too, even though there was insta love I still enjoyed it. Lovely review!

    Here's mine.

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  4. OOoh nice review! You did a very good job! I am SO looking forward to reading this one! I LOVE B&B as well! My fave Disney movie! Glad to hear that this one lives up to expectations! And again, wonderful review! :)

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  5. I need this book in my life! I keep reading so many great things about it. Great review

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  6. I can't wait for this one . I've got it pre ordered . Eeeeeeeeee . Tnx for the review mel

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  7. you did a good job with this review! give yourself some credit :) I agree.. these characters all have some negative sides in them but they learn to deal with it. I also loved Ignifex too! While it was a bit hard to get into in the beginning, I really enjoyed it in the end!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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  8. I'm really, really looking forward to this book!! I love that the characters are so strong and I also love a good anti-hero. Plus, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites, too. :)

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  9. I should really get myself a copy of this, but I haven't any luck finding any in the local bookstores. And if I tried ordering online, my mother would have my head.

    But your review is good enough to make me burning to read it, because it's like everyone loves it. *sigh* I'll be sad forever.

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  10. I am dying to get my hands on this book.As soon as I saw the blurb,I knew I have to read it.Some bloggers said in their reviews,that the romance was not what they expected,but after your review,I am not having any doubts hereafter.

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    1. I think it really depends what you look for :)

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  11. Well said, Mel! I loved Nyx's character--though the romance felt a little fast for me, though still believable in the end.

    Lovely review! <33

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  12. When I read this, it would be the first Beauty and the Beast retelling I'll read. So far, all I've seen are positive reviews, so I do anticipate reading this one. Fantastic review :)

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  13. This sounds like such a wonderful book. I have this one on my Kindle and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Lovely review Mel. Love the gif, :)

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  14. I'm glad that you loved it. I'm a little on the fence with this but it is undeniably one of the best Beauty & the Beast retelling I've read. Great one, Mel!

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  15. I'm extremely happy to see that you loved this one, Mel! The synopsis didn't appeal to me at first but after reading your review, I just had to add this to my to-read pile! It's so cool to see another remake of Beauty and the Beast- I've only ever read Beastly. I'm glad that you found the writing style beautiful and also that you liked the characters' internal struggle. Nyx and Ignifex's banters do sound amusing- I can't wait to read about them! Amazing review! :)

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  16. Reading this review I'm so in the mood for re-reading this book. It's was such a gorgeous story! Glad you loved it! :D <3

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  17. "I had a lot of trouble trying to write a coherent review to convey my love for this book and I hope it works." Well, I knew right then that I NEEDED this book. Thrilled that you loved it :) And those quotes! And the chemistry! AND EVERYTHING. Such a great review, Mel, you did a fabulous job :)

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  18. Ignifex and Nyx were downright perfect for each other. I loved their back-and-forth banters, the way they snapped witty comments at each other... *sigh* And the writing style was really great, as well as the plot itself. :)

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  19. KABOOM! I know I have to read this, don't I? D: I sort of passed this one up because I didn't look at the synopsis properly, and the cover didn't wow me at first. STUPID. STUPID. But I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Mel!! That's got to be the first 5 I've seen (or maybe I wasn't paying attention) in a long time from you!! :D Nyx and Ignifex sound like a wonderful, complex duo!!
    Fantastic review, Mel!! <33

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    1. YES, you have to :D And yes, I believe it is!

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  20. Cruel Beauty is one of my most anticipated books this year. I'm sad I didn't get a copy of this book. I love retellings and I'm so glad it didn't disappoint! The characters sounded so awesome! Great review Mel! :)

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  21. I was not prepared for this. Not at all. I can't wait to go out and buy a finished copy and hug it. I pretty much agree with you on everything in this review. The chemistry between the two of them was hot. I don't care what anyone else says. It reminded me of the Disney version but then again, it's so different to, which I loved. Cruel Beauty is one of those books that you push at people and make them read it! It's definitely one of my favorite of the year so far.

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    1. Yes, it was a little bit of Disney with the romance and a lot of mythology with the plot :D

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  22. I've been anticipating this one for so long! Beauty and the beast is my favorite and i adore retellings!! I've seen some middling reviews of it but I'm so glad you loved it! I can't wait to check it out!

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  23. Amazing review Mel. <3 I'm so happy that you loved this book. I did too. Sigh. It was just amazing :) I cannot wait to read more from this author either. Thank you for sharing :D

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  24. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I was really looking forward to it, but had to DNF it. Just wasn't for me =/ I wish I had loved it as much as you did!

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    1. That's a shame :( but like I said, I really think this book isn't meant for everyone.

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  25. Completely agree about the writing / characters - the writing was gorgeous, and I loved how imperfect the characters were. This book was a nice surprise!

    Great review!

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  26. I loved this book too! And Ignifex...I ended up loving and lusting after him. Idk why I just found him very sexy.. The writing was spectacular. Great review..I seriously am still working on my review idk if I'll finish it, like, ever.. :|| I really hope the author releases another book soon bc I am a total fan over her writing. ;)

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    1. I really liked his complexity too. It was mysterious and sexy! Haha.

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  27. Hooray! Heck I have evil in my heart and I deal with it too hehe. Can't wait!!

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  28. I am SO excited to read this book, and you just made me even more so. A vivid writing style is vital to a book like this, and I love anti-heroes so much! A conflicted character who is both "good" and "bad" will always get me to remember a story.

    This review was perfectly coherent! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and letting me know what kind of greatness to expect from Cruel Beauty. :)

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  29. I knew you would like this one, I've been waiting to see if you would post a review on it :D GAH I love that gif. Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite fairy tale :) I'm so glad you liked this one and you hit it spot on with the characters: perfect because of their flaws.

    This is random, but do you watch Once Upon a Time?

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    1. YES! Of course :D Watch, adore, fangirl, haha.

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  30. It's exciting to see so many great reviews of this one because I've been anticipating it for a long time! I love Beauty and the Beast, too, so I'm always ready to jump at a retelling of it. Wonder if this one will top Of Beast and Beauty for me? Loved that one!

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    1. I think you'll love it just as much or even more. It has the same darkness :)

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  31. I definitely didn't love this as much as you did, because for me, the whole thing was just too confusing and rushed and I thought the writing, while beautiful, was also a little choppy. What I did love was that both Nyx and Ignifex were cruel. That is such an interesting dynamic that YA hasn't really shown us yet, and I loved that. The world-building was confusing to me, but I loved the whole Inception-ish thing that was revealed toward the end. That was just so cool!!

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    1. Hi, back to commenting huh :D I think that the confusing part was one of the things I liked so much. The complexity was stunning <3 it makes me want to read the book again to see if I missed anything. And yes, it was one of the dynamics we really needed in YA.

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  32. Wonderful review, Mel! :)
    My co-blogger, Andrea, reviewed this book on Bookish, but sadly she didn't enjoy it all, which made me very sad, cause I personally LOVE retellings and I really had my hopes high for this one. I am definitely going to give it a try myself, simply because it just seems like a book not to be missed, and hopefully I'll enjoy it as much as you did! Very excited to see if I'll be one of the haters or lovers of this one ;) We'll get back to you on this soon!

    Evie @Bookish

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    1. I can't wait to hear what you think about Evie!

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  33. Ooo, I was waiting to see what the fairy tale queen thought of this one! I'm so happy to see that you loved it. I'm not reading your review just yet because I'm hoping to get to this one soon, but YAY for those 5 beautiful flowers!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  34. eeeeeeeee I can't wait! Starting this one today, I'm so happy with everything I've been hearing about this book, and now it's finally out! Great review!

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  35. I think this was a great review! Give yourself some credit =P. I agree with everything you said. The writing. The characters. The ending. It felt magical. It was wonderful.

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  36. I'm going to have to look into this one! I'm particularly thrilled that you liked the writing. Style is very important for me, and can really make or break a book.

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  37. I loved this book so much! Nyx and Ignifex were just outstanding, for all the reasons you so eloquently expressed. They had amazing chemistry, but made strong characters themselves. I can't wait to see what the author has in store next, but I'm so glad it isn't a sequel because that ending was PERFECT!

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