Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Published by Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 28th 2014
Pages: 346
Format: eBook
Buy the book: AmazonB&N



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.


My Review

I have read and enjoyed several Beauty and the Beast retellings so when I say this is one of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings I have ever read, I don’t make that statement lightly.


The author didn’t stick too closely to the source material. Nyx wasn’t exactly beautiful and Ingnifex wasn’t really a beast, but the author made sure to take several elements of the original story and give them a fresh twist. The result was something that was both familiar and brand new.


When the story begins, Nyx is about the marry the demon king Ingnifex because of a bargain her father made with him years ago. In exchange for allowing his wife to become pregnant with twin daughters, the demon king would be able to marry one of those daughters when they came of age.

Because her mother dies in childbirth, Nyx’s father feels that the demon king betrayed him and raises Nyx to become a weapon against the king, and he teaches her magic that she is supposed to use to kill Ignifex when she becomes his wife. There’s only one problem with this plan. In order to kill Ignifex she will have to kill herself in the process.


Needless to say, spending her entire life knowing that she was being trained to kill herself caused Nyx to feel resentment and anger towards those around her. She is angry with her father for not loving her and resents her twin sister because he does love her.

Nyx spend a lot of time struggling with her anger. She hates herself for feeling the way she does about her family and thinks that she is a bad person because of it. However, I never felt like she was bad. Sure she resented her sister, but she was never cruel to her, and she did everything she could to please her father. When I consider that she spent her entire childhood on death row, she was much kinder and gentler that most people would have been in her situation.


I was surprised by how romantic this book was. Her relationship with Ignifex is beyond complicated, but the interactions they shared were very simple and adorable. He would do cute, disarming things like lay his head in her lap, and he was constantly finding reasons to touch her or kiss her on the cheek and forehead. I wasn’t expecting him to be as affectionate and charming as he was, and it was a pleasant surprise.

I also liked that he wasn’t cruel to Nyx. She tried to kill him several times, but he never raised a hand or his voice to her. In fact, he only got angry with her when she endangered her own life. I got a little miffed when she kept betraying him, but he was a demon king who made tragic bargains that cost people their lives so I get why she wanted to stop him.

I can’t say Ignifex was a good guy but he also wasn’t evil. He was just as much a victim as anyone else in the book, he just had so much power that it was difficult to see how much pain he endured.


My one complaint about the story is that there were too many things crammed into the book. It read more like an epic fantasy that’s five or six hundred pages long So I got a little bogged down with all the world building and mythology crammed into such a small book.


This was very beautifully written and romantic. I can tell the author has a love of both fairy tales and Mythology and that enhanced my enjoyment of the story, but the thing that really makes this a five-star read is the passionate and timeless love that develops between the Nyx and Ignifex.


Because of language and mild sexual content, I would recommend this book for ages 14 and up. There were no detailed sex scenes, but they are married and do things that married people do.

5 Roses

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Author Biography

About Rosamund Hodge

When my older brother was thirteen, he started a writing club with his friends and wouldn’t let me join because I was only eight. I promptly swore that I would become a writer and make him sorry.

He still isn’t sorry. (I checked.) But in 2014 I got to publish my first novel with HarperCollins, so I guess everything worked out okay.

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