by Rosamund Hodge
“If you start wondering how this house works, you’ll likely go mad. That could be amusing, I suppose. Especially if it’s the kind of madness that causes you to run naked through the hallways. Do feel free to indulge in that anytime.”
Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom all her life because of a foolish bargain her father struck before she was born. She has no choice but to see out her father’s deal. And on her 17th birthday Nyx must leave her family forever and enter the house of the all-powerful ruler, the immortal Ignifex. But she has a plan! To seduce him and destroy him, and break the curse that has kept her people encased with a dome. But Ignifex isn’t what she expected. Nyx must uncover the secrets hidden within the walls of the magical castle, but its not that straight forward as the walls are continuously shifting. Can she find a way to save the people from the curse without killing the Lord who she seems inexplicably drawn too?
I seem to be picking up all the Beauty and the Beast retellings recently. I don’t mind as it is easily my favourite fairy tale, who doesn’t want to find the broken and bitter man in a magical castle and slowly break down his defences to find a magnificent being underneath that just takes your breath away (plus raid his library which is obviously the best book collection EVER).
Anyway, I think as I have just read Dreams of God’s and Monsters by Laini Taylor and Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, I wasn’t as wowed by this one as I may have been, and this is obvious in my 4 star rating. But I did find this one very enjoyable. It’s dark and mysterious and I loved that both characters had realistic flaws in their characters.
“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”
I think one of the things about Cruel Beauty that I found less Wow worthy was the romance itself. I felt that there wasn’t enough time spent together for them to have bonded so quickly. It felt like Nyx spent much of her time on her own trying to destroy him and then suddenly she understood him. (But maybe a re-read is in order- perhaps I read it to quickly).
I loved the house. The details Rosamund includes were so meticulous that it was easy to believe you must have visited there yourself, once upon a time and I very much enjoyed the twists added to the classic format, even if some were a little predictable.
Overall, this was a well-developed, thought provoking retelling of my favourite fairy-tale. And as the description of this one, (like Stolen Songbird), also mentions Graceling, I will definitely be reading that as soon as possible.