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.
After reading Hodge’s other book “Crimson Bound”, I walked into this with high expectations and Cruel Beauty was a complete and utter disappointment.
(Check out my review for Crimson Bound here)
Was this a horrible book? No, not really. Could’ve it been better? Absolutely.
The plot was okay. Some of it didn’t really make sense, and I found everything the main character did was unrealistic. The first half of the book was slow and super boring. I had to force myself to continue reading and not give up altogether. Thank God once I reached the halfway point, the book started to get better.
This story mixed Greek Mythology and the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. There was obvious connections between the fairy tale and the story Hodge wrote but Hodge did make this original and uniquely hers. Integrating Greek Mythology was a pretty cool twist and surprisingly made sense throughout the book.
Nyx, the main character made this novel such a difficult read. I found she was too naive and whiny. Not to mention how she immediately trusts Shade, a servant to Ignifex and kisses him within hours of meeting him!! Ok, I’m in a creepy castle and was just married off to the evil ruler of my kingdom, let’s freaking kiss the guy’s servant! HAHAHAHA..NO
Furthermore, she started having feelings for Ignifex, so whoopdidoo LOVE TRIANGLE, HERE WE COME! *facepalm* Have I mentioned that I despise love triangles??
Thankfully, the love triangle was resolved in a predictable plot twist.
Nyx’s irrational feelings towards her mother, and her sister made this story truly unconvincing. There was no reason and if there was, I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t relate to Nyx as much as I wanted to.
On the flip side, Nyx’s comebacks were enjoyable and funny. Nyx and Ignifex’s banter was definitely one of the highlights of the novel. Also, all through the novel, Nyx tries to steal keys off of Ignifex’s key ring, and the attempts she goes through to get them are hilarious. More so, when Ignifex doesn’t let her get away with many keys. I can safely say I ship these two.
The ending was really good. I liked it very much, but half of me wishes it wasn’t HEA but the other half is glad the characters got one. It was somewhat open ended as I still have questions about the sparrow and what actually happened. (I was a bit confused but I got the gist of it)
Overall, this was a decent novel but still disappointing. If you can stick around for the better second half, this is a book for you, but if you like fast-paced novels starting from the very beginning, this may not be the best choice.
Keep calm and read on!