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. – Goodreads
I will sign up for anything that is Beauty and the Beast related. Included re-tellings. It’s my thing. My addiction. So I was quite thrilled when I had the change to read Cruel Beauty as an ARC. Flailing thrilled.
And then I started it. And I had to read a bit more to finally get into it. This was not a quick read in the sense I was hooked from the get-go, but it was still a solid read. Hodge’s does not build a normal world, which made it even more interesting to me that I enjoyed it. I am very much a stickler for certain worlds hence my ability to not read much SF&F! But, oh how I was sucked in and not able to put it down. Minus that whole sleeping thing. I did put it down for that!
Cruel Beauty is an interesting mix of mythology, fantasy and Beauty and the Beast. The last one in that list made it easier for me to get through the first two things if I’m being honest. What also helped was Hodge’s writing. Oh my heart. It was dark, poetic and not like anything I’ve read recently. Plus, although it is the Beauty and the Beast love story there is a bit of a twist that is unusual. BUT IT WORKS. I promise you it works! It does! It also helps that not a lot of the characters are lovable. I do not hide the fact that I love the asshole characters. It’s one of my flaws. I am drawn to the asshole characters (fictional and real, FYI.) But the characters and the twist made this book even more addicting. Nyx is an asshole with her own issues she’s working on and well, let’s not even touch Ignifex, who has done cruel unspeakable things. Ignifex, who she is bound to marry.
The one problem with the book is that it is hard to discuss it without giving anything away because even the littlest thing gives away a lot. Which, I know is about the worst thing a blogger can say. But it’s true. But it works! I promise. Go read it. Now. Go!