My Rating: 4 hearts for the first 3/4 of the book; 3.5 hearts for the last 1/4
Thoughts on the Novel: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge was a book I wasn’t planning on reading until I searched through my Kindle, looking for a fairy tale retelling. Remembering that Cruel Beauty was based on Beauty and the Beast, I decided that this retelling might be worth a try.
As a retelling, Cruel Beauty is a very loose one; and Nyx is definitely nothing like the sweet Belle. Instead, Nyx is full of anger and hatred, yet surprisingly easy to like and understand because she has grown up her whole life knowing that she is to be sacrificed for her father’s bargain with Ignifex.
I also liked Ignifex because he wasn’t at all how the other characters portrayed him as. Like Nyx, I thought he would be this scary demon; but, he turned out to be a charming, witty character who embraced his role as the liaison between the Kindly Ones and the people of Arcadia (which I had no problems with because if you’re going to be evil, why not embrace it?). The other characters in Cruel Beauty, however, were quite one-dimensional, and when there was an attempt to make them more complex (e.g. as in the case of Astraia, Nyx’s twin sister), their motives remained rather unclear.
The romance, though, would have to be my least favourite aspect of Cruel Beaty. Not only did I think that Nyx fell for Ignifex kind of quickly, but there was an unexpected love triangle as well. It should be noted, however, that the love triangle does make sense later on.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed the worldbuilding, which incorporated a lot of Greek mythology and Roman culture. Unfortunately, the worldbuilding did become more confusing towards the end, and the book concluded with an ending that I just didn’t understand.
Cruel Beauty was released in January 2014 by Balzer + Bray.
Comments About the Cover: I’m not really a fan of the rose being interwoven with a bunch of stairs.