Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted January 22, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 18 Comments

Cruel Beauty

by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

Expected Publishing Date: January 28, 2014
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
Amazon Purchase Page:Cruel Beauty
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the story morning glory

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.


I’m not 100% sure what I read, but I know I liked it! Cruel Beauty is like reading the story of Beauty and the Beast paired with classic mythology thrown into a blender and amped up to 100. It was a little crazy getting thrown into the story at first since I was not expecting the mythology angle. I actually find that quite a failure on the part of the marketing department to not reference mythology AT ALL in the blurb since this book plays on it a LOT.

But here’s where Cruel Beauty gets awesome: This is not your typical Beauty and the Beast stories. Remember the lovely Belle?


Yeah, that’s totally not Nyx, the main character in Cruel Beauty. Nope, Nyx has known since she was young that she was going to be married to the Demon Lord as part of her father’s bargain to one day have children. She’s been brought up to wed him and to defeat him so that Arcadia can go free. Ignifex, the Demon Lord, (mostly) controls the demons that run over the land as well as strikes deals when townspeople come to him, and Nyx plans on stopping him. She’s cruel and determined and I sort of love her for it. Once she reaches the castle, everything pretty much goes insane. And of course there’s lots of swooning and plotting to be had. My view towards Nyx is more like this:


The world of Arcadia is so fascinating. Piece by piece, readers learn along with Nyx the truth about her world. She knows some things, but as she explores the castle and learns about her new husband, she realizes just how little she actually knew. The truth has long been concealed from everyone, including Ignifex, and the main plot of this book is for Nyx and Ignifex to discover the truth and for Nyx to save the land as well. There’s a lot of secrecy and deception hidden within the pages of Cruel Beauty, which makes it difficult to review without giving anything away, but I was completely shocked by the end.

I’ve already sort of mentioned how much I love Nyx, but it’s true. Her perceptions of people around her changes with new information, but she stays fiercely loyal to saving the people of the land, even when she doesn’t want to, even when it means hurting people that she loves. She’s not without fears or angst(I mean, she’s pretty much been raised her entire life to sacrifice herself because of her father’s mistake, so I think she’s allowed some whining now and then), but she’s also fierce. Ignifex is quite villainous in a delightful way that made me root for him all the same. He starts out as this cold, sinister character and while that’s definitely part of him, as the story progresses we get to see another side into his past and how he came to be that way. The romance in the book was so sort of strange and weird but I couldn’t help but to love it anyway.

The setting is amazing. The castle in the book is basically half Beauty and the Beast castle and half of a dark sort of Hogwarts, with things changing randomly and things lurking in dark corridors. It may be weird to say the castle setting was my favorite part, but it totally was. Cruel Beauty definitely exceeded my expectations and I really liked this story. I do wish there had been more explained in the beginning because the first fifteen percent was super confusing–mainly because I wasn’t expecting sort of the focus on mythology–but once I sort of gained my footing in the story I was hooked.


I REALLY enjoyed this one. It took some pretty common themes–mythology retellings and fairytale retellings–and reworked them in this new fantastical and deeply dark way. This book definitely sort of appeals to the dark romantic side of weird things hiding in corridors and seriously messed up characters that you can’t help but to love. 4/5 cupcakes. 




4 Stars

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18 responses to “Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I did like a lot of it but I really just wanted more from everything…. the characters, the setting, the plot. It didn’t QUITE come together for me but I loved the basis of it all! 🙂

    • stormydawnc

      It was definitely unique and weird! I’m glad you liked a lot of it though, even if it wasn’t quite for you. I do wish the people who were in charge of marketing it had you know, TOLD readers about the mythology aspect.

  2. Seeing more and more reviews is making me want to read this more and more. I’m getting pretty excited for its release. I like how you mentioned all the different things to expect from this book, and I think that it would definitely be interesting to see how everything had been reworked into making Cruel Beauty.

    • stormydawnc

      I really loved it! I think if you’re okay with the mythology aspect(it’s pretty strong, and it’s been one of the turn-offs for some people), I’d definitely recommend it.

  3. I love the Gilmore Girls gif! It totally works in your review. Your review has definitely intrigued me to check Cruel Beauty out. I do love this twist on the old fairy tale.

    • stormydawnc

      Thank you! I hardly ever use gifs but that one was just too perfect. Cruel Beauty definitely has a fairy tale *feel* too, so I’d recommend it.

  4. LOL, yeah you can never be too sure of what exactly this book IS, but I’m so glad you liked it! And that gif for Nyx is SO PERFECT. Love it. And ugh, I ship Nyx and Ignifex so much. OTP OTP OTP

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, even months after reading, I’m still not sure how to classify this one, but it was good! I love twisted main characters.

  5. prettylreader

    I’ve been reading so many mixed reviews for this one, but the more I read, the more I’m sure I’ll love it! I love when a setting is so integral to the plot; it’s quickly becoming a favourite of mine.

    • stormydawnc

      Yes, I loved the castle in this one! It was so cool. Kinda like Hogwarts in the way things often moved around. I can see why reviews are so mixed–there’s something that sort of feels like insta-love, and Nyx is a pretty brutal main character to follow, but I really loved it.

  6. Oh good! While I’ve seen this one a good deal, I feel like I haven’t read any reviews of it. From your review this doesn’t sound ANYTHING like I was expecting – and I mean that in the best of ways! I must read this on ASAP! Great review!

    • stormydawnc

      It wasn’t anything like I expected either! It’s pretty hard to describe it, really. One of those things I can be like “It was great!”. . . but I don’t know how to describe it.

    • stormydawnc

      I think you’d like this one a lot then! It does start off kind of slow but once it starts it was perfection!

    • stormydawnc

      They really are. They’re so twisted and broken but so perfect together. It’s an amazing relationship, and I LOVE hate-to-love relationships, so it was wonderful.

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