Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Series: N/A
Published by Balzer+Bray
Pages: 342
Genre: Romance/Fantasy (YA)
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Since birth, Nyx has been trained to defeat the Gentle Lord - a demon that ripped the land of Arcadia from the world nine hundred years ago. Since then the Gentle Lord has ruled over the people from his ruined tower, making cruel deals and bargains and loosing his demons on the unsuspecting. Nyx's duty is to destroy him, even if it costs her her life.

But when Nyx is wedded to Ignifex and taken inside his castle, neither him nor his house was at all what she expected. Can a girl taught to hate learn to love? Or is it already too late for both of them?

I had been the bride of the Gentle Lord for half a day already, and there had been strikingly little torment. And I was not grateful; I was disturbed. What could he be planning?

I've always loved the tale of Beauty and the Beast. That was actually my favorite of the Disney fairytale movies. I loved Belle because she was so intelligent. Beast was…well, I honestly always thought he was such a sweetheart.

This book actually makes me feel the way I did when I first saw Beauty and the Beast. This isn't one of those pure, good fairytales where everyone is so shiny and perfect - except for the villain, of course (who is always vile).

Nyx is a girl that hates her destiny. She's fiery, she is willing to rebel when she can. And she's no good at biting her tongue. She's not perfect. Her heart is cold. And yet, she's still such a seventeen year old girl. She wants to be loved. She wants to be able to love someone without the poison in her heart effecting that love. This book is told entirely from Nyx's first person narration, and I adored it. Me. And I usually cannot stand first person view points. But Nyx made the book such a joy to read thanks to her problems and the fact that she's got a wicked sense of humor.

Ignifex - the 'beast' - is not at all what I expected. First of all, he's not described as being beastly in the slightest. The only thing about him that would set him apart from a human man, albeit a very gorgeous human man, is his red, slit-pupil eyes. (Which, to some of us, just made him all the hotter sounding.) Ignifex is a strange mix of arrogance and vulnerability - sometimes at the same moment. I was really happy how he wasn't one of those grade A jerkass types that are so popular in young adult fiction.

I also loved the world that was created. In short, I'll just say that this was a fantasy type setting that had a strong mythological basis and I loved the way it worked.

This book did something that I had been searching for for a long time. It gave me an emotional connection to the people. I felt for them, sympathized with what they were going through. Sometimes I was grinning like crazy - other times, I felt like someone was trying to rip my heart out through my throat.

I also loved the way the relationship built between the characters. Romance has always impressed me the most when there's a verbal aspect to it. And these two characters had a very push-pull dynamic and were always having some of the wittiest conversations. (And arguments.)