Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: 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.
I hardly expected to enjoy this Beauty and the Beast retelling as much as I did but I was proven wrong. This story actually reminded me a lot of The Wrath and the Dawn, a girl is chosen to go be the wife of a Gentle Lord who is a demon and has had many wives. While living in his house she changes her mind about him and falls in love. Much like what it’s emulating, our heroine is smart and resourceful and her Beast is interesting and lovable.
I enjoyed the chemistry between the characters and I enjoyed the mythology – much of it was Greek and Roman and I’m a sucker for that. I also loved the non-romantic relationships between the sisters and the complex relationship of the father and daughter dynamic. Now, this was interesting because any other writer I think would’ve made this story into a trilogy, the world was certainly ripe for it but Hodge decided to compress all of the elements into a neat book and I highly admire her in this regard given that YA is filled to the brim with stories that never should’ve been extended to 3 books. I think this is why I enjoyed this so much, it got to the point. It entertained me and it left me satisfied without me having to read 2 more books.
I highly recommend this especially if you enjoy any Beauty & the Beast or Hades and Persephone retellings and especially if you loved The Wrath and the Dawn.