For What It's Worth

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


15839984Graceling 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 | Author | Amazon

Source: Amazon Vine for review

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.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for your honesty! I haven't read this one -- and I will probably still try a free sample of it on Kindle before making up my mind-- but I have felt this way about a lot of REALLY HYPED UP books lately: Fascinating premise, but a delivery that falls flat. Too much angst is too much angst. Give me some plot!!!!

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    1. The writing is really beautiful and almost every single one of my friends enjoyed it so you should give it a try!

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  2. Too bad it did not work cos it does sound cool

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  3. Aw, I'm sorry this didn't live up to its promise for you. I really enjoyed it but I can definitely see what you mean about the flip flopping. I did have the urge to smack her when she began waffling.

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    1. It wasn't so much the flip flopping as much as her insisting there were no feelings then being torn up about it. I was like...O_O????? lol

      And for me, it was more about the repetition. The retelling itself was great though. I loved the twist the author put on the B&tB tale.

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  4. Ha! That didn't bother me. I think my relationship with my sister was probably exactly like that when I was that age :)

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    1. lol I understood it....I just didn't feel like reading about it 50 times. haha

      It wasn't so much the feeling themselves - more the repetition.

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  5. I get exactly what you're saying, Karen. When you look at the story, it should hit all your ...um, "feels", I guess. But when you dig in, nope. Thanks for the helpful, and entertaining review!

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  6. I also loved Nyx and the Gentle Lord. I can see what you mean. It did grate on me at times, but I was thinking it was just trying to convey the atmosphere in how Nyx perceived it. But yea... that is why I just wanted to tell her to chill form time to time. LOL

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    1. There were so many things I loved about it but ultimately the repetition did me in lol

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  7. I'm not sure this would be the right fit for me either. I'm not always the most patient reader either. I like either great characters or an interesting, fast-paced plot. Books that repeat things over and over can definitely get annoying.

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  8. Aw, sorry to hear that this one didn't give you the feels, I can get where you are coming from def about the repitition esp

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  9. Is this YA? I've seen the cover but don't know much about the book. I'm guessing I wouldn't like it. It's a very rare occasion where I will read books that are prettier than they are catchy. Maybe that's a bad thing. I don't know.

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    1. It is YA but has an older feel because she's married.

      The writing is really beautiful and the twist on the Beauty and the Beast tale was well done so I would still give it a try if I were you.

      It didn't work for me but it might for you.

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  10. Heh, yeah I'm pretty sure I've felt this way about a book before. It seems like it has everything going for it, but then you find it is lacking in feels, haha. Whatever that means.

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  11. Interesting. I had this in my sights, but now I'm not so sure. I think your analysis is pretty in-depth.

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  12. LOL, all the feels. I really loved this book, but I think I was more enchanted by the writing and the overall premise rather than focusing on the actual characters. A rarity for me!

    Though I do love everything lately, lol.

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