Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cruel Beauty: Review


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.


Cruel Beauty is one of the more unique books I've ever read. Fairy tale and Greek mythology went into the mix? Sign me in. Though it's a little too complicated, there's no doubt that Cruel Beauty is mind-blowing.

It's a story based on Greek mythology and the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Though classic fairy tales are not one of my favorite things on Earth, Greek mythology is. When mythology meets fairy tale, it's bound to be interesting at least. And it is. Cruel Beauty offs to a really exciting start. Nyx, a girl who is bound by her father's bargain with the Gentle Lord to marry him when she's seventeen. And she's trained to kill the demon prince to save Arcadia, her only home. There are no words. None. It reminds me a lot about The Falconer by Elizabeth May, especially the opening (and I love The Falconer). You have no idea how much I like a killer start.

"Though mountains melt and oceans burn, The gifts of love shall still return."

All the characters are really complex in Cruel Beauty. Nyx first. She's trained to kill Ignifex by her father. She knows that it's her duty to kill the demon and free her home. Yet she feel no love from her family or reluctance to hand her over to the sinister one. She falls for Ignifex's shadow, yet she is enthralled by Ignifex himself. The darker side of her is constantly in battle with the lighter side. I love how Rosamund put a lot of focus on Nyx's dark side. Yes, she's the heroine. But I've read so many books about how a heroine is so self-sacrificing that I'm a little tired of it. Nyx's dark side is key to the plot of the book in a way. Her soft spot towards Ignifex, her determination to find out the truth about the demon lord and his shadow, all leads to a great storm. Nyx is definitely one of the most unforgettable characters.

Ignifex is very interesting. He's the demon lord. And he makes fair bargains that makes people suffer in more ways than one. But he has a soft side too, one that is reflected in his shadow. His confusion and him showing vulnerability to Nyx are what makes me love him. Sure, he's really charming to say at least. But what really makes him such a good character is that he has a soft side he's never known when he's supposed to be a demon lord. His shadow... I'm not going to talk much about his shadow because that will be a huge spoiler. His shadow plays a huge part in the book and their difference (as well as their resemblance) is uncanny. Trust me, both Ignifex and his shadow are more complex than I've seen for a long time.

"Water is born fro the death of air, earth from the death of water, fire from the death of earth, air from the death of fire."

Cruel Beauty has me from the start of the book. Though it gets a little confusing when it is close to the end of the book (and that's probably the only flaw the book's ever had), the secret behind the ruins of the castle, the hearts, the Kindly Ones, and the mythology itself is beyond captivating. A bargain struck so long ago leads to this story. What's better is the love shared between Nyx and Ignifex. Their faith for each other, their determination to make everything right again is just touching.

"A pure heart and a pure kiss, Will free the prince and give him bliss."

Cruel Beauty is the perfect mix of fairy tale and Greek mythology, light and darkness, romance and danger. I highly recommend this book to you guys.

Rating: 8.5/10

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