March 10, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


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.

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Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe)
by Rosamund Hodge
Publication Date:  January 28, 2014
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby-2013Cruel Beauty by author Rosamond Hodge is a novel that I have been absolutely dying to read. Beauty and the Beast re-told with a murderous beauty and a demon beast? Count. Me. In. After checking out a few reviews on Goodreads I did find that this is a novel that you either love or you hate. Needless to say that after finishing this novel in one sitting I am part of the ‘loved it’ demographic. It was everything that I could have ever wanted out of this novel and more.

               After her father’s deal with a demon goes wrong Nyx Triskelion has been destined to wed the evil demon lord since the day of her birth. Her entire life has been leading up to her wedding day, when she’ll marry the monster ruling over her father’s kingdom and fulfil her life’s duty by killing him. Though Nyx is angry and bitter at knowing that she is the sacrificial lamb meant to be thrown away for her kingdom’s safety and her younger sister’s. All that pent up anger is released when Nyx is trapped in her new husband, the demon Ignifex’s castle.

               Not all is what she originally thought it to be. Killing Ignifex is proving a greater challenge than Nyx anticipated. He’s calm about the fact that she wants to kill him, finds amusement in it, and taunts her with it. Even seducing Ignifex to lead him to his death isn’t what she planned it to be. It’s only a matter of time before she finds herself drawn to him in the most unwanted of moments, slowly falling for her enemy. But falling in love with Ignifex leads Nyx to question where loyalties lie: with her monster of a husband or with the kingdom that cast her away.

               Where do I even start when it comes to Cruel Beauty? By the time I had finished the first two chapters I had just known that it would be one of those novels that I just had to read. The first thing we find out about Nyx’s character is that she is hella pissed that her father was not only stupid enough to make a deal with a demon to have his wife give him children, but that the end result was her mother dying in labor and Nyx being the child he promised Ignifex to have as a bride. Nyx is an angsty, badass character who can be merciless at times and insanely human at others. I really loved her character and watching her grow. My only problem might have been the Shade-Nyx relationship which felt forced and unnecessary, but still, it was minor.

               The big thing that made me fall for Cruel Beauty: Ignifex. He’s the kind of character who uses witty one-liners, his physical appearance and attractiveness to his advantage. We get a few descriptions of him, but for me personally it wasn’t how Ignifex looked that made me dub him my current 2014 Fave Male Character, it was his dialogue and his personality (wait—what?).

Hear me out, everything he would say just made me smile and roll my eyes or laugh. Or have my heart melt. One of those four. He’s a character who’s very 3 dimensional, he isn’t some strictly evil demon. He actually has sides to him that show even he isn’t as evil as we originally believe, that just like Nyx he’s also a part of a much bigger scheme. If there’s a Beauty and the Beast re-telling, my Beast best be Ignifex.

               The writing used by Hodge is wonderful. Cruel Beauty has the ability to grab readers by their throat, never let go and immerse them in a world they’ll never forget. The amount of detailing used, the way the characters are set up, the perfect quotable dialogue; it all just clicked together and worked. From the way the novel has ended, I hope there isn’t a sequel. Not that I wouldn’t mind (more Ignifex, yes please) but it just ended so nicely. Clean enough that I don’t need to worry about the characters for the rest of their lives.

               I would have to recommend Cruel Beauty to just about any readers who like YA or want a fairy tale retelling. Readers who want a novel with romance, unforgettable characters and dark lore will eat this read up.



I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel, CRUEL BEAUTY (a YA fairytale fantasy, where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast), is due out from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in Winter 2014.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Kristie

    I feel like I’m the last person to get my hands on this book. Same goes with watching Frozen and reading The Winner’s Curse… Man, I have my work cut out for me! Great review Gabby!

  2. Faye

    This one sounds great! I love books like this. Thanks for the wonderful review. I will definitely be checking this one out.

  3. Sophia Rose

    I’ve had my eye on this one for some time. I love the retelling part, but it sounds like I’ll enjoy the characters too.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Brooke

    Really enjoyed this book, so much more than I thought I would. I didn’t really feel the Beauty and the Beast connection, though, to be honest. I mean, I saw it, but it just didn’t click that much for me. Glad you enjoyed it.

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