Monday, 10 March 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: 28th January 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: 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

Cruel Beauty is dark, elegant and enticing.  Combining a wonderful mix of Greek myth and Beauty and the Beast, this slow seductive romance and its perfectly imperfect characters are riveting. Rosamund Hodge’s debut is everything it boasts to be. An intricate story about finding love in the darkest of places, when you least expect it. It’s a murderous love sort of a book and I loved every minute of the “I’m going to kill you but I love you aspect”.

Nyx’s future was inescapable the minute her father made a deal with the Demon Lord promising him wife. Nyx is the chosen one. She is chosen to be the evil rulers wife and tasked with the mission of killing him in order to obtain freedom for her people who have been oppressed by demons. However Ignifix, the Demon Lord is not who he seems and Nyx runs the risk of falling in love with him. The story and mythology are intricate. This isn’t a happy romantic story. it’s a story that walks the fine line between evil and good and black and white. 

The sitting is gothic and beautiful. The house of The Demon Lord keeps changing with rooms that can be beautiful or cruel. It truly captures your imagination. Cruel Beauty is filled with complex characters that are in my opinion imperfectly perfect. Nyx is not your typical heroine. She isn’t the supportive, loving and caring type. She is not a shining beacon of goodness. She’s more the antihero. Nyx is bitter, vengeful and mean. She has a bit of darkness in her and it’s easy to understand why.  She is basically put on a platter and handed to the devil but she learns to find happiness and love in the most unexpected place.

Nyx’s task of killing her husband and saving everyone is a big burden to carry and one she struggles with when her feelings for her husband and duty are tested. Nyx has to make a heartbreaking decision and you can’t but admire her for her strength.  Nyx was also a refreshing as she has no illusions about her situation and what she’s capable of. She acknowledges the worst parts of her and tries to be a better person. It’s her struggle of becoming the person she thinks she should be compared to who she really is that makes her relatable.

Ignifex is a mystery. Right from his introduction it is difficult to figure out who he is and what he wants. He has a bad side but is also cheeky and loving. I loved all the banter and the slow romance that develops between Nyx and Ignifex. These two are nothing but honest with each other. They never pretend to be something they are not. Nyx is always trying to kill him and defeat him. I loved all her plans to take him down; in fact there were some of my favourite scenes.  

Hodge also plays with perceptions. Perceptions of humanity and love are challenged. The book gives meaning to the old saying that things not always what they seem. Nyx falls in love with a demon who does not exactly act like a demon and trusts someone she should not trust. There is always more to the story. Hodge also discusses the consequences of one’s actions. As Nyx learns, no one person is to blame and there are always consequences, which are brilliantly discussed in the book’s mythology and stories about various deals made with demons. Nyx’s story is not black or white but complicated and painted with many shades of grey.

A dark romantic tale of true love. If you like Greek myth and Beauty and the Beast, then this book is worth checking out. 

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