“A gleaming, crimson-clad lady stared back at me. Until this day, I had worn only the plain black of mourning, even though Father had told use when we were twelve that we could dress as we pleased. Everybody thought I did it because I was such a pious daughter, but I simply hated pretending everything was all right.”
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Star rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 stars
Summary: Nyx must marry the demon lord who rules her country to pay for a bargain her father struck before she was even born. She feels angry and bitter that this has always been her fate, to marry and die trying to kill her husband. When she arrives at the castle, things are different than she expected and she starts to try to unravel the secrets of her new home and to free her husband.
Review: Okay right off the bat, I have to say that the names in here bugged the crap out of me. I did not like them and it was hard to take the book seriously. I mean, I known they’re Greek names but aside from worshiping Greek gods I had no reason to believe anyone was Greek. Especially when the key player gods weren’t any I’d heard of before. I mean maybe I missed it but I don’t know, still wasn’t a fan.
The beginning was a little slow and I had a hard time getting into it. At one point I texted my friend who had given it a high rating wanting her to reassure me it got better. She said once Nyx gets to the castle it gets much better and she was totally right. As soon as she got into the castle the book was so much better and I flew through the book. The beginning of the book is very vague on any details and it feels like Nyx is just constantly whining. It turns out that she has every reason to be and is completely justified, it just isn’t clear until later on.
I loved the romance aspect of this book. I loved how Ign… Igin… I cannot spell or remember this dude’s name… IGNIFEX! I loved how Ignifex refused to make any advances towards Nyx that went past kisses until she initiated it and because she wanted to, not just because her aunt told her it’s what was expected of her as a wife. I liked how the romance grew between them and that he loved her not despite of her flaws but because of them. They were both pretty flawed and the book owned that, I really liked it. I thought it was pretty obvious that Shade was half of Ignifex from the beginning but that never seemed to be something Nyx thought of while she was trying to solve the puzzle of the house and Ignifex.
This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I thought it was a really good one. It has the feeling of the overall original but brings its own flair to the book. I like the twists it brings to it and the fact that Nyx does betray him. I thought that was something I hadn’t seen much of, a woman choosing her family over her love and betraying him. I liked that. I also noticed the sort of Bluebeard nod as well with keeping the seven dead wives in a locked room.
One of my issues is that I’m not sure what happens at the end. Like what reality are they living in during their happily ever after? The first one where Ignifex was the demon lord or the more utopian world Nyx awakes in after she had Ignifex locked up in the box with the demons. I wasn’t sure exactly where they ended up, which could make a whole world of difference in their end story.
Recommendation: Overall this is a really good fairy tale retelling and romance. I think if you like fairy tales, romance or fantasy books that this is something you should check out.