Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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.

Cruel Beauty, along with having a absolutely phenomenal cover, is a mixed bag of many things. Start with Beauty and the Beast, throw in some Rumplestiltskin, some Greek mythology, and alternate world, and you've got this book.

When I read the pitch for this book, a twist on a Beauty and the Beast where Beauty is an assassin? Umm...yes please. This, however, isn't really what I got.

The concept behind this book is awesome, but overall, I came out of the book wanting more than what I got. The pacing of the book, while great, left me little time to connect to and bond with the characters. I felt like I missed a lot of the relationship development, and so what might have been a stunning emotional payoff in the end, was just okay. Usually I'm all for fast pacing in books, but in this one, I just wanted things to slow down, take a little more time, linger here and there.

One of the other things that struck me was simply how much was packed into this book. As you can see in the things I listed above, this book has a lot going on. Tons of separate elements. Because of that, in my opinion, some things just got a little lost.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good book, and given the task at hand it is well executed. However, after I put the book down I was left wishing somethings had been more deeply explored, and that the lens had been just a narrowed. Regardless, I think that Ms. Hodge is a very good writer, and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.


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