Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Friday, April 25, 2014

Title : Cruel Beauty
Author : Rosamund Hodge
Genre : Fantasy
Published Date : 
January 28th 2014
Publisher : Balzer + Bray
Pages : 342
Source : Bought

From Goodreads :
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.


A month ago, if someone came to me and recommend to me a retelling, I would totally turn it down. Like, uh, retelling? No thanks, I've seen the Disney one and it seems like good enough. I'll do with just that.
Tell me again that I'm totally wrong? Yep, I know it.

Before, I've only read one retelling ever. It's Tiger Lily (Retelling of Peter Pan, which, by the way, I love while I hate the original), and this book is my second attempt on retelling. 
I think I've seen a review of this book somewhere that made me reluctant to read it. But after a little while and tons of 5-stars Goodreads review to convince me, I finally did gave this a try. And wow, wasn't this one is beautiful.

"But we’ll pretend we know how to love.” I smiled at him. “And someday we’ll learn."

I've actually never really watched Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and just know that there's Belle, there's Beast, there's this talking furniture, and it turned out the Beast was a prince, happily ever after. But Cruel Beauty offered so much more depth to the story than I've ever know. 
When we know a beautiful peasant, this book offered an assassin. When we know a beast, this book offered demons. And when we know a witch's curse, this book offered a cunning gods. And the way Hodge weaved all this intricate details into one beautiful and mesmerizing story is just beyond me.

I also really really love love love this book unpredictably and the way it makes me so confident about how the story will go cliche-ish, and the turn it upside down. The pacing was also fast enough that it will keep us curious and guessing (and turned out wrong) every time.
The world building was also very strong and very well-portrayed too. It was easy to imagine the grandeur of the castle, the eerie surroundings, and it's just so beautiful without being hyperbolic.

Beside the world building, the character of this book was also really well-developed. Every one of them had heir own distinctive traits and their own role. And even the most minor character of all do have an impact on the story, not just being there to crowd the space.

Nyx, as our main character, would probably be one of my favorite character. What made her especially charming is because she doesn't started out as those annoying humble, innocent, selfless girl like most fairytale had. Instead, she held her dignity and pride and looked calm, but pent up her anger inside like a warrior. And oh, did I mention that she even fought back to a seemingly sadistic demon lord like Ignifex? Isn't it just simply amazing? I couldn't adore her more.
Ignifex, our demon prince too, started out as a seemingly corrupted demon prince. And there's just something in the way Hodge write him, that however wicked his action is, I couldn't help but to root for him. And then turn out what? He's actually totally sweet and all.
And the way he's able to ask for help and not being I'm-way-too-cool-for-that like some guy on novels did, is just another plus point on why I also love him.

And gosh, did I mention the chemistry between Nyx and Ignifex? The feels? The asdfghjkl-I-want-this-right-now moment? Their relationship is just so deep and cute and complex and snuggly-warm and all this feeling jumbled into a huge fluffy ball of feels. And wasn't Ignifex just soo sweet he gave me a toothache? it makes me feels like I want to bring him home and keep him for myself.

Overall, this book totally delivered more than I've expected. It promised amazing, and it delivered perfection. And I know this because I've waited a week before even writing my review and I still can't find any flaw.
With it solid world-building, ever-moving plot that's unpredictable, strong character, and a great romance, this book is totally a must try.

Cheers, x

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  1. I was totally weird about retellings before as well! When I first heard about Cinder I just ignored it. Then I actually read about it, read the book and loved it! I've been seeing Cruel Beauty around a lot so I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It's definitely on my TBR now. :D

    1. If I think about it, I still ignored Cinder until now -_- Guess I should picked it up ASAP :D

  2. "I've actually never really watched Disney's Beauty and the Beast"

    *Mel's heart stops for a second*
    It's my favorite movie ever <3

    And this book was the best :D

    1. Aww I know I'm sorry! :D ahaha But I kinda guessed that it was your fav fairy tales from those roses on your blog :D
      And yepp, this book is really the best :)


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