Monday, February 17, 2014
Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
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.
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Source: Amazon Vine for review
Have you ever read a book that was wonderfully original, with compelling characters and writing – yet you just did not connect to it? That’s how I felt about Cruel Beauty.
I had read that many readers didn’t like Nyx but I loved her. She is definitely an angry, bitter heroine. But if I was raised to go marry the lord of demons and die just so your sister could live a happy life, I would be pissed too. In fact, I probably have been even angrier than Nyx.
I loved the wonderful spin that Hodge took on the Beauty and the Beast tale and I definitely loved the beast – The Gentle Lord.
Even so, I just could not deal with the pacing and repetition.
While I understood and even liked Nyx, her constant flip flopping of EVERY feeling, even within the same sentence drove me absolutely insane.
She hates her sister. Understood. She loves her sister. I can see that. She hates her sister. Ok – yeah I know that. She loves her sister. I know! I heard you the first 20 times. This happens with the romance as well. I love him – I have to kill him. What a horrible dilemma! But please move on already. I don’t want to read it over and over.
Same with the house of The Gentle Lord. It’s alive, which is very cool. She’s given keys that only work for certain doors. So she goes off exploring every day. Love it! But then….every chapter starts with…So I go explore – or I go exploring. Steals a key – goes explore some more.
So….I don’t know. I see how this story was enchanting for many people. The prose is beautiful and slowly unravels it’s secrets. Maybe I’m too impatient a reader for this style of story telling but I was just bored to tears. Especially when things started to pick up but went…nowhere. I figured something out really early and waited over 200 pages for Nyx to come up to speed. Since I was learning the information along with her (1st person POV), it was frustrating that she was completely clueless.
In blogger terminology - it did not give me *all the feels* lol
I wanted more of a connection to the characters. Every time I thought that’s where the story was headed, there was a diversion. There was quite a bit of cutting away to a story (usually relating to Greek mythology) and I just wanted to stay in the moment and know Nyx and The Gentle Lord more. Instead I was hit with mythology info dumps, Nyx’s constant questioning of herself and house wanderings.
Cruel Beauty is a gorgeous retelling. The overall premise and twist is fantastic! If you are more into atmosphere than action this is the book for you. Even though it didn’t work for me, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others.