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.
At first, I was like yeah this is alright but then things went cray. Like, wow I was actually not expecting that to happen type of cray. I am usually a very observant reader, so observant that I typically know what’s going to happen pages (and I mean pages) before the main character even begins to become suspicious. I blame this on my mother and the fact that she can barely sit through movies without already knowing what’s going to happen.
But then, [insert major plot twist]. and for once, the plot twist wasn't that unsettling.
Now, let’s talk about how cool Nyx’s character is. She has flaws (poison tongue), her family has flaws (dafuq with her father), she makes many terrible mistakes, and she ultimately betrays the only people who ever cared for her. But what's cool about Nyx is that she recognizes her flaws, berates herself for her negative emotions towards her sister, and actually tries to make amends to her wrongs. I find this refreshing since so many mcs in ya tend to have flaws but are either ignorant of those flaws are refuse to admit to having them.
my qualms with this book:
1) So I understand that the setting of this story takes place in pre 21st century Greco-Roman land (this is pretty obvious considering all the allusions to ancient Greco-Roman history and mythology and the fact Hodge outright uses "Romana-Graecia" a few times throughout the story and uses an actual Greek place for the setting), but I have yet to grasp the story's time period. The time period could easily range from Judaism-Christianity-Islam takeover to the early 20th century. The only reason I suspect the 20th century is because Nyx uses words like saboteur, whose origins date back as early as the 20th century.
2) Also, Nyx chooses the weirdest time to talk shit about Ignifex and plan his demise. Like in one scene, Ignifex is lying on her lap and Nyx is like "hey, dude, can you you go get me that one knife which's only purpose in this world is to kill Ignifex? thanks."
3) Lastly, this may just be me (and feel free to disagree), but I don't understand how having sex proves your full trust/devotion/love for someone. Like, couldn't Nyx show her trust/devotion/love by doing something else? Maybe a trust exercise? Like I jump, you catch?
No? Okay. V_V
I f-n love retellings, and the fact that Hodge was able to turn such a well-known story and add a bit of a plot twist without boring me to tears or jacking the original story up, I am totally sold. If you love retellings, especially of the Beauty and the Beast sort, I definitely recommend Cruel Beauty.
Rating: 4 out of 5