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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.

346 pages, Hardcover

First published January 28, 2014

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About the author

Rosamund Hodge

26 books4,749 followers
Catholic. Writer. Lay Dominican. I write books about gods & death & girls with knives. Latest: ENDLESS WATER, STARLESS SKY.

Goodreads policies: I do read messages. I seldom friend people. I never comment on reviews of my own work.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,341 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews291k followers
May 17, 2015
Well, I thought this was wonderful.

What is Cruel Beauty?

• It's a gorgeously written blend of Beauty and the Beast retelling and Greek mythology.
• It's at once a powerful, wonderful, heart-breaking love story and so so much more than that.
• It's a dark tale that stabs you in the heart at every turn and constantly throws all new levels of craziness into the mix.
• And it's the latest addition to my favourite YA of all time shelf.

Cruel Beauty shouldn't work. But somehow it does. It managed to have me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It shocked me. It creeped me out. I laughed. I cried. I'm still not sure I understand the ending but I am sure that it doesn't really matter. In short, I loved it. It was one of those rare books that literally glued my eyes to the page, had me devouring each sentence in a mad need to find out what the hell was going on and what would happen. It was a bizarrely beautiful little addiction and I only hope this signifies the start of a great year for young adult (after the last was so disappointing).

So... Nyx. The best books are held aloft by a great protagonist and Cruel Beauty is no exception. Nyx is exactly the kind of character I love. She's strong-willed, witty and brave. She's also angry, bitter and ferocious. She's lived her whole life being prepared as a weapon; and as a sacrifice. Her father made a deal with the Gentle Lord - the evil ruler of their kingdom - before Nyx and her twin sister were born. Their mother had been unable to conceive a child, so their father foolishly asked that the Lord grant them children and promised one of his daughters to the Lord in exchange. But he also lost his wife to childbirth in the bargain. The Gentle Lord's habit of cashing in double on his deals is well-known. Nyx, as the child her father loved less, has long-known her destiny to be the wife of the Gentle Lord. When the times comes, she goes with determination, fear and anger. She does not play by the Lord's rules. She is defiant. She tests his patience. I liked her instantly.

Then there is Ignifex, of course. The Lord that has terrorized their kingdom for centuries. The one who carries the blood of countless innocents on his hands. But, unsurprisingly, things are never quite that simple. What I liked best about Ignifex was his wicked sense of humour. There's nothing quite like a villain who is constantly witty and hilarious. The complex layers of each character in this book just blew my mind, no one is ever simple or cliche. The heroine does plenty of bad things and the evil villain... well, be careful you don't fall in love.

Cruel Beauty was just so unexpected. I thought I knew exactly what it was as soon as I glimpsed the cover, title and GR description. I thought I understood perfectly and I thought I'd probably read countless versions of the same book. How wrong I was. This is honestly quite unlike anything I've ever read before. I liked how everything about the book, the setting, the story and the characters was a bit like one of those Russian dolls. Something else within something else within something else. Then there's that whole haunting bittersweet tone that permeates this entire novel. I swear Ms Hodge has perfected the art of raising goosebumps with a perfectly-spun twist on an old Greek myth. And it just got better and better.

I think this review is more of an incoherent mess of feelings, so I'll stop now before the drooling starts. What I want to know is this: when is the author releasing another book?

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Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16k followers
July 2, 2015
I don’t know if Cruel Beauty truly deserved five stars on merit but goddamnit I’m awarding it all the points for enjoyability. All of them. I loved the hell out of this story. The passion. The intrigue. Ignifex. Nyx’s rage. Ignifex. All the kissing. Nyx.

This book kind of had it all for me. Plot, mystery, intrigue and a whole lot of making out. It’s almost like Hodge was trying to distract me from the crazy plotholes and loose story structure. It was fantastic! I haven’t been this entertained by a book in ages. I immediately went out and bought a copy (I got mine from the library).

So if you’re into mythology and kissing and just looking for something eminently, page-turningly good, then this is your book.

This is only a mini review as I wrote a guide to Beauty and the Beast retellings here.
September 6, 2016
If one of us had to die, it ought to be the one with poison in her heart.
Actual rating: 3.5

Maybe it's just me, but I've rarely encountered a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I haven't loved. Ok, except Beastly. That abomination was just horrible all the way around. And let's not even mention the movie. Some people just have the kind of face that just begs for an encounter with my fist, and pretty boy Pettyfer is one of them. But I digress.

This was a very enjoyable read, though not without its faults. It is supposed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I felt like it had hints of the fairy tales Rumpelstiltskin and Bluekbeard as well. I can go on for days about the plot, setting, grammatical structure blah blah blah, but let's be honest, what makes or breaks a book is its narrator. If you don't like the narrator, screw the rest of the book; I really liked this book's main character, Nyx.

I like my heroines flawed, strong, and strong-willed. I like it when they're angry. I like it when they're defiant. I like it when they lose control. I like it when they snap like a rubber band strung past its tautness. I like it when they see their own weakness. I love it when they fall apart. I love it when they hurt someone they love, while hating themselves for it because they are past their breaking point. Nyx is strong, but not to the point where her overwhelming bitchiness eclipse the book; she never, ever, ever comes off as bitchy.

I do have a few problems with Nyx, and my problem with her ties into the plot as well, my main complaint about this book is that it is just overwhelmingly romantic at times. "But Khanh!" you protest, "It's a romance novel, I mean, it's based off a fairy tale, what did you fucking expect?" Well, yes, my friends, it is a fairy-tale, but the premise promised me more than that. It promised me intrigue, it promised me a kick-ass heroine, one who is the savior of her people, one who will sacrifice herself and become a killer of an evil immortal. I didn't exactly get that.

I wanted bad-assery. I wanted more plotting. I wanted an assassin. Instead, I got not a lot of plotting, I got a lot of illicit kissing, I got a lot of falling in love. As beautiful as this book was, it felt to me that the MAIN plot of mayhem and murder got tossed aside for a love triangle. It wasn't exactly Throne of Glass bad, but it bothered me a lot the way Nyx skirted her mission for romance and dreams. In terms of plotting, the second half of the book was a big mess of confusion for me.

The Summary: Some people are born to a grand destiny, others have it forced upon them. Nyx was born to be a sacrifice. Demons have control of the country of Arcadia. There is no sun, there is only a parchment paper sky, painted with an artifice of the sun. Her country lives in fear. To gaze upon the demons is to lose your mind as the shadows prey upon your soul. For 900 years, this has been Arcadia's curse.

Nyx was intended by her father to be the savior of her people. It means she will most definitely die. Her father made a deal with the king of the demons, the Gentle Lord; in exchange, Nyx will be given in marriage to the Gentle Lord when she turns 17. In return, her beloved twin sister, Astraia, will be able to live a normal, happy life. Nyx truly loves her twin sister, the innocent, sweet Astraia, but it is so hard not to feel resentment at one who has been the recipient of all their father's love, while knowing that her happiness will come at the cost of your own, but she is determined to fulfil her mission:
I had broken my sister’s heart. I would never see her again, so I could never beg her forgiveness. I had let hatred fester in me so long, I didn’t think I could ever learn to love her properly, either. But I could make sure she lived free of the Gentle Lord, no longer afraid of his demons, with the true sun shining down upon her.
Nyx has been groomed half her life to be the Gentle Lord's bride, but her father and his secret society has other plans for her: she will marry him, she will seduce him, she will kill him. Nyx will save Arcadia from the demons.

The Gentle Lord is not what she expected. He tells her to call her Ignifex, but that's not his true name. Instead of ravishing her, he leaves her in a tenuous peace. He has but two rules for her (which are so reminiscent to me of Rumpelstiltskin and Blackbeard):
"One. Every night I will offer you the chance to guess my name. If you guess right, you have your freedom. If you guess wrong, you die.”

"Rule two. Most of the doors in this house are locked. This key will open all the rooms you are permitted to enter. Do not try to enter the other rooms or you will regret it dearly...though not for very long.”
Instead of someone unimaginably cruel, the stuff of nightmares, she finds him full of laughter, full of mockery, full of games. He likes her spirit, he likes her defiance.
I do like a wife with a little malice in her heart.
But Ignifex is also capable of unimaginable cruelty; he makes her shudder with fear. Unexpectedly, she finds an ally in his magical castle, one named Shade. One who is close to the Gentle Lord, but who can never betray him.

Who can Nyx trust?

The Setting: Interesting...but it didn't quite work for me. The setting is not the star here, and it's a rather vague alternative universe that is rather jarring at times. It is based off of an ancient Greco-Roman world, as far as I can tell, gods and goddesses in the Greek Pantheon such as Aphrodite and Hermes and Zeus are mentioned, and it seems as if they are part of the traditional belief system. There is a vague system of magic, alchemy of sort, called the Hermetic sciences. There is not much detail given about this world, short of the fact that it exists under a dome of parchment sky due to a demonic curse, and honestly...I just didn't get it. I never felt immersed in the actual setting. The names and places are strange, you have all these Grecian-based names like Damascus and Adamastos and all of a sudden...Lily Martin? What the fuck?

The castle itself and the setting are a lot more well done. This book truly runs very parallel to Beauty and the Beast in that regards. We have a magical shifting castle, we have wondrous ballrooms filled with sparkling water. We have ivy-covered libraries. We have a wondrous library, we have a magical wardrobe (I NEED ONE FOR CHRISTMAS), we have invisible hands conjuring up feasts and utensils (except without the singing and dancing, the best part!), we have a forbidden object.

But of course, all is not wondrous, and some corners of the castle is filled with horror.
My fingers found cloth, then something soft and cold.
I shuddered, but my mind refused to recognize it until I groped farther and my fingers slid past teeth into a cold, wet mouth.

With a scream, I bolted back against the door. I rubbed my hand viciously against my skirt, but the fabric could not wipe away the memory of touching the dead girl’s tongue.

The dead wife’s tongue. Because now my eyes were growing truly accustomed to the light, and I could see all eight of them, laid out on their stone blocks as if stored for future use.
Dead wives. Shadowy horrors that drives a person into madness. The castle is equally splendid and sinister.

The Characterization: I really liked Nyx. She was frustrating to me at times, but overall, I felt she was a really good, flawed character. Nyx is so, so very angry at the beginning of the novel, and I seethed with anger along with her. She has been dealt a crappy blow by the fates, and who can blame her for her bitterness? Nyx has been doomed since she was born, thanks to her parents' selfishness.
I hate you [Mother], I prayed silently. Father only bargained for your sake. If you had not been so weak, so desperate, I would not be doomed. I hate you, Mother, forever and ever.
I love a good depiction of sisterly relationships, and Nyx's relationship with her twin sister, Astraia, was so well done. There is absolutely no doubt that Nyx adores her sister while simultaneously hating her as well. Astraia has been adored by everyone since she was born, while her twin sister, Nyx, has been groomed to die. Nyx has lived her life in resentment, and who can blame her for that? Even so, she never, ever shows her bright, innocent sister any hate until she is overwhelmed by her emotions on the day of her wedding...which might as well have been a funeral.
I had thought the words so often, they felt like nothing in my mouth, like no more than a breath of air, and as easily as breathing I went on:
“The truth is, Mother died because of you, and now I have to die for your sake too. And neither one of us will ever forgive you.”
Then I shoved her aside and strode out of the room.
Nyx speaks her mind, regrets it immediately, and spends the rest of the book tortured by those final words to her beloved sister.

Nyx has spunk, she has fire. Instead of cowering to Ignifex, she turns against him, surprising him and herself...and earns his respect in the process. She hates Ignifex, but Nyx is not a person of absolute cruelty. Despite herself, she is a gentle person, she wants to be more than that girl with hatred in her heart. Despite knowing Ignifex is evil, she finds that she is unable to ignore someone when they are in pain. She is better than that. She wants to be better than that.
But I was a girl who had broken her sister’s heart and—for a moment—liked it. I had left somebody in torment and liked it.
I didn’t want to keep being that person.
The Romance: It was well done, but there were entirely way too fucking much of it. As I said above, there were too much romance at the expense of the actual plot. Once Nyx got into the castle, I expected her to plot, to finalize her plan to kill Ignifex. She didn't. She spends her time moping. She spends her time making googly eyes at Shade, then after resisting Ignifex (who is technically her husband), slowly lowers her resistance...then kisses Shade. Then kisses Shade some more. COME ON, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE PLOTTING TO KILL THE EVIL GUY. What pisses me off is that Nyx and her father has a plan to kill Ignifex using Hermetic sciences and she did not follow through except in the most halfhearted way. Instead, this is what we get:
It was nothing like kissing Shade. That had been like a dream that slowly enfolded me; this was like a battle or a dance. [Ignifex] took possession of my mouth and I took possession of his, and we held each other in a perilous, perfect balance like the circulation of the planets.
Less romance, more plot, please.

Thanks to the wonderful Faye for lending me this book.

I received this book as an Advance Review Copy; all quotes are taken from an uncorrected galley and is subject to change in the final edition.
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
July 1, 2018
For one moment, I felt like a river running down to his ocean.

i feel like i need to drop a few lines here about what, precisely, i felt was lacking in this story. i so rarely throw down a fewer-than-three-stars rating on here, i figure an explanation may be helpful. i'm not going to go into too much plot-detail, since there are a bazillion reviews of this book already on here - i just want to have a record of my own reaction, for the day when some stranger asks me WHYYYYYYYYYYYY i didn't like this.

there are a few reasons.

1) i am confused

on paper, the concept of fusing multiple fairytales with classical mythology is exciting and should make for a pleasantly dense story that is at once comfortably familiar but also studded with surprising AHA moments as the overlaps and contrasts begin to manifest. however - there wasn't a true marriage between the elements here. their presence was more decorative than functional, and while it occasionally meshed well, overall it was just too cluttered. it's like when you have a really delicious cupcake and it's already got a tasty frosting on top but then someone thinks "add gummy worms!" and it throws off the texture and the taste and you have to chew SO MUCH you forget about how tasty the cupcake was because you're so focused on not choking to death.

2) nyx, the heroine of this book and NOT the greek goddess of night (whose name is a bit problematic in a book that incorporates so many other aspects of greek mythology and in which darkness/shadows but not specifically nighttime are a preoccupation) anyway, her. she's meant to be the sacrifice and savior of her people, trained since she was a little girl in both fighting and magical arts and yet she is not at all a badass heroine. once she gets to the castle, she's completely directionless, which makes the book directionless. she's inconsistent, unstable, easily distracted, prone to violent and short-lived outbursts that simmer down into grumbling recriminations directed at multiple targets. it's emotional whiplash - with her sister, she is loving and resentful, protective and hurtful, with ignifex, she goes from attraction to attempted homicide and back again in the blink of an eye. the inconsistency makes it confusing and difficult to root for her to succeed, because it's hard to know what "success" would even look like, with all the cross-purposes and competing goals and obstacles.

3) bizarre love triangle

this book is best categorized as a fantasy romance, but i was completely unmoved by the romance itself. which - yes, is a familiar feeling for me, since i'm not a fan of romances, so i'm an easy target for your accusations of not being the right audience. howevs, even when i read a romance that doesn't make me swoon or whatever, i can usually understand why it would work for other readers - i can see that the bones (heh) of the relationship are solid and why the two would fall for each other and why readers would cheer. but this one - this is such a perfunctory romance that exists only because we are told it exists. technically it's a love triangle, and it's at least an interesting version of a love triangle, but it's also the worst kind of instalove because it's unfounded, unearned, and circumstantially selfish.

those are the big three complaints, and all i can muster as a "review" right now. i still really want to read the second book in this standalone series. i think there's a great story underneath all this clutter and i am really rooting for it to manifest in the second installment. at the very least, i am excited because it's a love story between a monsterfighting girl and a boy with no hands. which is pretty hot.

my guess is that some joker broke into my digital copy of this and gleefully altered its contents; transforming it from the amazing, life-changing book everyone is raving about into some half-baked romance featuring a sloppy and confusing mythos-mashup and completely lacking in either emotional tension or a cohesive narrative.

this is either some sort of magic eye puzzle i'm just not equipped to "see" or i have forgotten how to read books.

maybe i'll review this further tomorrow, or maybe i'll take a nap.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
909 reviews13.8k followers
July 16, 2015
I loved the first 100 pages of this book so much that i was 99% sure it'd be a 4 or 5 star book. I loved the writing and the main character's sass, and the "Dark Lord" or whatever his title is was REALLY interesting. But holy moly, this book does a 180. It starts out strong but turns into trash. HORRID instalove, obnoxious and confusing love triangle (??????), and I was completely baffled by the world/magic system. I'm not sure if it's because I listened to it on audio, but i am SO confused by everything. It tries to incorporate both mythology and elemental magic, and it just did not work for me. I was so confused on who all the different magical entities were that controlled the world and none of it made sense to me whatsoever. I'm still roiling a bit on what just happened there at the end because it also starts to pull in time travle???? literaly??/ what ??????

I will not be continuing this series and I would not recommend this one.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,508 reviews31k followers
June 11, 2020
huh. im really quite shocked. this is the first ‘beauty and the beast’ retelling that i havent enjoyed. ive read and loved so many, so for me to not click with this is a major disappointment.

i appreciate the unique spin on a classic story, but i found the pacing to be slow, the writing to be dull and repetitious, the characters to be unlikable, and the world-building to be confusing and out of place. there really wasnt much that i liked about this, to be honest, and im super jealous of all the readers who fell head over heels for this.

maybe this authors particular storytelling/style just isnt for me. :/

2 stars
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
October 29, 2014
I have to give the narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, some credit here. She tried. She really, really tried to salvage this book by giving the main character tons of personality, but not even she could change the source material. The fact is that Cruel Beauty made absolutely no damn sense.

How does the magic work? I dunno.

Who are the real bad guys? I dunno.

Wait, what's the SECRET. Well, I dunno because Nyx learns it and then FORGETS it on the next page to conveniently keep the plot rolling. Awesome.

HUH? There's time travel? ....Maybe, but not really. It's a SECRET that you'll never find out and/or stop caring about.

Cruel Beauty was like a mixing pot of great ideas that didn't get mixed very well. The oil rose to the top and the cake fell flat. Also, I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, kinda like this book. But the narrator's voice was nice.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,809 reviews28.4k followers
July 22, 2019
3.25 - 3.5 Stars

Last night I got a bee up my ass and decided to count and see how many unread physical books I have on my home library shelves...and let’s just say the number was pretty shameful.

Thus, I decided it was time to cull the herd. So decided I would try the cliched booktube trend of reading first chapters of books that have been on my shelves awhile...unhauling anything that didn’t at least mildly capture my attention.

This book has been on my shelves the longest, so I grabbed it and figured I’d read one chapter and set it aside in the donate pile...342 pages later, I can proudly say I unhauled one fucking book. But it’s now a "read" book. So nanner nanner nanner.

I really enjoyed certain elements of this story and was (obviously) drawn in from the very first page. I thought the ending got a little dicey as far as plot details and general continuity is concerned...And I feel like the romance/love was never truly cemented enough for my tastes...but all in all a decent story I’m glad I read...

If only so I can say I read a book from my shelves I had started to think I never would get to. A truly satisfying feeling.
Profile Image for enqi ༄ؘ 。˚ ⋆♡.
321 reviews587 followers
July 13, 2022
They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense. But now I knew that every mad word was true. For Ignifex was still himself, still mocking and wild and inhuman, terrible as a legion arrayed for war; but in my arms he became gentle, and his kisses were sweeter than wine.

I've realised you see things very differently when you're 18 and when you're 22. This book is proof of that. I was utterly enchanted and in love with this book 4 years ago but after rereading it, I no longer have any clue what I loved so much about it. Maybe my standards have just risen 🤡🤡

"If one of us had to die, it ought to be the one with poison in her heart."

CRUEL BEAUTY only somewhat improved in the last part, after Ignifex decided to send Nyx home to visit her family and there were suddenly higher stakes in the story (as expected of a traditional Beauty and the Beast retelling, because this is where the heroine makes the inevitable choice whether to return or not). Otherwise here are all the cons:

➡️ Rosamund Hodge tried to make Nyx a complex heroine. Since birth she has been betrothed to the evil ruler of their kingdom, and she has been trained since young to be the perfect assassin: to do her duty, kill Ignifex, save Arcadia, and die in the process. Yet, Nyx has a tangle of emotions: resentment and bitterness and love and admiration for her sister, who has been spared from her fate since birth. Hatred for her family, who have only ever seen her as a weapon and not a daughter. And don't get me wrong, I LOVE morally grey characters — if their origin story is well fleshed out and heartache-inducing. Hodge tried to model Nyx after morally grey heroines such as Adelina Amouteru, but I could see nothing that made me want to root for her. If anything, this supposed hatred and bitterness that drives her disappears once she meets someone who is kind to her, and she just seemed desperate for attention and fickle-minded throughout the story.

➡️ The attempt at a love triangle fell horribly short, and only made Nyx seem indecisive and unreliable.

➡️ She starts liking Shade because he's KIND to her and she falls in love with Ignifex because he loves her for who she is. ("I wanted to hit him again. I wanted to cry. Most of all, I wanted to forget my mission and lose myself in the embrace of the one person who had ever seen my heart and claimed to love me after.") Girl both of those are not reasons for love...... 😮‍💨😮‍💨

➡️ She spends SO MUCH time flip-flopping between Ignifex and Shade, ONLY TO HAVE US BE TOLD THEY'RE (KIND OF) THE SAME PERSON. Like what in the world???

➡️ Honestly what kind of names are Ignifex and Shade anyway?

➡️ The world-building was SO badly done. It was sketchy and had huge gaps and I completely couldn't connect to the characters. I had to skim parts of the book because the transitions were disjointed and abrupt or the story was simply yawn-worthy and confusing. I wish there had been more information about the Resurgandi and the Hermetic workings they invented. How do these workings or sigils relate to the Kindly Ones? How can a user channel their power? It's like Rosamund Hodge tried to incorporate so many elements of Greek mythology that she stymied her own story, because everything when thrown together barely makes any sense.

➡️ It seems that all Nyx does is explore rooms in the house and debate on whether she should act on her attraction to Ignifex. Because of this, the pace of the book was unbearably slow and most of the time I just kept asking myself why I should care about anything she was doing. Apart from kissing her captor and having feelings for his servant, she basically did nothing.

➡️ I did not understand the ending at all. AT ALL!!!

The stakes are not high, there is barely any action, the main characters are one-dimensional, the world-building is lacking at best, and the only redeeming quality that deserves 2 stars is the swoon-worthy quotes Ignifex says to Nyx and the gradual development of their romance.

“You seem to be recovered,” he said.

"I hope you aren’t planning to order me back to bed."

"No, you have far too much crockery at your disposal.”He sat down beside me and started piling apples into a tower.

"You are losing your ability to terrify me,” I observed after his apple tower had fallen twice.

Also I will not admit it but this quote might have made my heart ache:

Ignifex touched my cheek very gently, as if I were a bird that might be startled into flight. Finally I met his eyes.

"And,” I said. “I suppose I do love you.” Then he pulled me into his arms.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,572 followers
August 12, 2017
One of the Best, Angriest, Cruelest, Beautiful Retellings..

Not just a different retelling of a 'story as old of time',

But it also mixed with as many of ancient Greek Myths.

And by the end you'll feel that it's came so, Original.

الجميلة والوحش هي قصة قديمة كالزمن، لكن في أعادة الحكي القاسية، الغاضبة، الجميلة تلك الأمر مختلفا
فهي لم تكتفي بأعادة حكيها وإنما أيضا مزجتها بأساطير أغريقية عتيقة...وببناء عالم مختلف وسماء من ورق

وبمشاعر 'بشرية' أكثر واقعية، بقسوة
قصة تلاعبت بالزمن لتنتج بعض الجمال
Even if you hated it, got angry by the middle of it.. you'll appreciate the ending..that will make amends..makes you see the whole picture better...with the tricks of time.

***** الجـمال القـاسي *****

كان ياما كان في مملكة بعيدة نساها الزمان ، لها سماء شبيهة بالورق معزولة عن العالم بسبب لعنة
يحكمها "اللورد اللطيف"، هو سبب اللعنة..اللعنة التي استمرت لتسع قرون حتي الان
لكن لا تدع إسمه يخدعك، ولا تدع وسامته تبهرك ولا حلو كلامه يجذبك
هو ليس وحشا...هو يبعد ملائكة الجحيم عن المملكة -لكنهم مازالوا يصيبوا أهلها باللعنات- ، هو يحقق لمن يطلب الامنيات
لكن ان طلبت منه فاعلم ان الأمنيات لها ثمنا باهظا...أعلم أن الأمنيات لن تتحقق بالضبط كما تتمني، وإنما كما طلبت
لن تعرف الفرق الا متأخرا

إذا كان هذا هذا وصف المفترض أنه "الوحش" في قصتنا، ماذا عن "الجميلة" إذن؟

الجميلة هي الاخت التؤام المقدر لها أن تتزوج "اللورد اللطيف" بناء علي اتفاق والدها معه كي ينجب من الاساس
والدتها ماتت اثناء الولادة، ابيها يخون ذكري أمها مع أختها...ويفضل الأخت التؤام الاكثر جمالا ورقة ومثالية عن "جميلة"، القاسية، الغاضبة دائما
جميلة، المقدر لها الزواج من الوحش

لكن ابيها لديه خطة، خطة خيميائية عجيبة يجب أن تنجح فيها "جميلة" لتحرير مملكتهم من تلك اللعنة أن تهدم قلعة "الوحش" من الداخل

نعم من المرجح ألا تنجو الجميلة اذا ما نجحت الخطة بالطبع، وبالتأكيد ايضا لن تنجو ان فشلت الخطة
لذا يمكنك ان تدرك لما تشعر الجميلة في قصتنا تلك بالغضب الدائم

وﻻنها قصة شبابية حديثة، بالطبع ستقع في حب "اللورد اللطيف"، ولكن المشكلة هنا أنها ايضا ستشعر بمشاعر تجاه تابعه المسكين "الظل"، والذي هو مجرد خيال للورد اللطيف
ستشعر انه هو من سيساعدها لتحرير المملكة وفك اللعنة ، والانتقام لمن كان السبب في موت امها

لكن لا شئ ابدا ينتهي كما ابتدي


القصة بدايتها -التي حكيتها تلك مجرد ملخص ربعها الاول- عبقري ومبتكر
ولكن سرعان ما تحولت معي لقصة مملة ومضجرة
ربما هي رغبة البطلة هنا في "البصق" علي كل من تقابله وغضبها وضجرها الدائم اصابني بالعدوي فلم احتمل البطء في منتصف الاحداث
ربما هو الحب المبالغ به في وصفه -كعادة الروايات الشبابية
والذي حولها من بطلة غاضبة قاسية الي بطلة غاضبة قاسية بلهاء ومملة بالاخص بعلاقة الحب الثلاثية المعتادة

لكني لا انكر ان الجزء الممل بالمنتصف وحتي قبل الربع الاخير كان به الكثير من الايجابيات، المزج الساحر للميثولوجيا الاغريقية كصندوق بندورا، كيوبيد وتوم الوحيد وغيرها جعل الامر مثيرا

ولكني ظللت بسبب التطويل هنا أشعر انها رواية متوسطة، نجمتان ونصف علي الاكثر

ثم جاء الربع الاخير
والذي بدأ ببعض اللمحات من التشابهة بين احداث القصة وقصة "الجميلة والوحش" التي جاءت بذكاء بشكل مختلف عن الاصل متشابه في الهيكل فقط ايضا كان ممتعا
ثم انقلبت القصة بمفاجأت وتلاعب بديع بالزمن لتتحول لقصة مختلفة تماما

والتي كما قالت من رشحت لي الرواية بذكاء أنها مفتاح الرواية
المفتاح الذي قد يجعل لكل الاحداث التي قد تكون مملة احيانا ، لكل الغضب مستمر، لكل قصة حب لها قيمة ولها معني

قصة يتضافر فيها الحب، والقسوة والتضحية بشكل ممتاز بل ويظهر "مورال" الحكاية بشكل واضح ولكن غير مباشر بنفس الوقت

بالربع الاخير ستدرك أن الطبيعة البشرية بها الجمال وبها القسوة لاسباب
هي قصة المتناقضات البشرية..الحب والواجب، القسوة والتعاطف
طبيعة البشر في الامنيات..الامنيات التي لا نعرف ثمنها الا عندما تتحقق

لم اتخيل ابدا تلك النهاية الساحرة، ولا مدي قسوتي علي الفكرة الرائعة للرواية
نعم مازلت اري ان يعيبها التطويل بمنتصفها لكن يكفي انتقاص نجمة واحدة لهذا

إعادة حكي تستحق القراءة

قبل اعادة فيلم الجميلة والوحش قريبا

Mini English Review

Well, I loved the beginning...promising of Dark, Cruel Beauty and the Beast retelling..
mind the spitful, cruel, protagonist that in need for a serious 'Anger Management'..

-not the beast, nope..the girl actually made me really angry most of the time-
Oh and don't expect that since she's the cruel angry one here she'd marry a gentle-beast..nooo, he's like Lucifer himself.

Well, this 'angry' bride, full of hatred.. is destined since she was very young to marry a monster.
And as most YAs...she will fall in love with him..., and again, as most YAs, she have feelings for his servant, his Shadow, Shade.

So..the story after the strong introduction and good setting, turned fast to feminine dull slow rant...with Love Triangle.., It was as boring as Uprooted, and bit of A Thousand Nights's dryness..
But it was only adorned with Greek mythology every now and then that made me feel better.. some real myths like Pandora's Box myth, and some strange as Nanny-Anna and Tom-Alone..

But still , I felt bored in the middle many times... wanna spit as the protagonist having the same urge to spit on everyone.

But the concept of the myth of "Kindly One", and the wishes, the barging of the Gentle lord is amazing..
That was an interesting plot here, people can't understand actually what they wish for...
That their wishes has a price..

AND then comes the strong last few chapters and the end.. and what an ending... ONE OF THE BEST ENDINGS I've ever read.
Where the moral of this Cruel Story, the contradictions of human nature, how the cruelty is compassion and how we never understand what we wish for..
How there's no pure good...no pure evil.

God, I just loved the ending...and appreciate the story much more than I expected..

It's a retelling that worth the reading really.

Mohanmed Arabey
From 14 Feb. 2017
To 17 Feb. 2017

illustrator of the art at the beginning of the review
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,403 reviews9,536 followers
July 3, 2020
*Reread...um, I was going to add something but I forgot! 🤨 The Audio is great though!

When I first started the book I was disappointed and thought I would not like it because it seemed to drag for me. It took a few chapters for me to get interested, pretty much when Nyx got to her wonderful husband's home, the evil Ignifex.


She is supposed to be killed by her husband at some point in time, how is that for a honeymoon! But, and there is always a but, Ignifex is not what he seems. Yes, he has the corpses of his eight other brides in a dungeon all laid out, but I digress. He seems to be under some kind of evil spell and he's not like I said what he seems to be.

I love the hell out of Nyx snarky attitude, she is great and doesn't take any lip from Ignifex, which he finds divine and doesn't seem to want to kill her. They have this wonderful banter together, he kisses her, she threatens his life, that kind of stuff :)

I do not know why, BUT, I didn't like her sister Astraia at all. Why? I don't know, I just said that, she just rubbed me the wrong way throughout the book. She can suck it and go on down the road.

So, Nyx has to find out all of these clues to try to save her world. I'm not going to go into all of that, you can read the book, or read another review. :) She is finding... that she wants to save Ignifex because she knows he's really good inside. How does she know? She just does!

There are creepy demon shades roaming around in the book along with some other weirdness. Nyx gives her all to save Ignifex and in the end it all pays off.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,386 reviews11.8k followers
January 26, 2023

Liked it less this time around. Still think it would have been better as a smutty adult romance because there is just not enough world building for this to be a good fantasy novel. Often, I felt as if characters existed in a vacuum.
3.5 stars

This book, I would have preferred to read written for adults. It is mostly a romance, with a lot of talk of virginity, ravishing, tearing off dresses, etc. But because it's YA, despite being quite sensuous, it doesn't go further than kissing. Too bad really, I don't come across many good adult romances, and setup of "Cruel Beauty" is perfect for creating all kinds of convenient excuses to facilitate sexy times.

I enjoyed mythology/fairy tale mix as well, although I got lost a little in it all by the end.
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books74.3k followers
March 23, 2017
I'm not sure of what to think of this book... I really loved it... but at the same time I didn´t? Let me try to arrange my thoughts...

I was very excited about this book, so I was a little dissappointed because I wasn't really digging it and I was already at page 100... but after that it really became really really good! I started to like the characters and I kinda fell in love with the Gentle Lord, Ignifex <3.

I think that I wasn't liking it at the begining because Nyx is always changing her mind and I wanted to slap her sometimes, but also because the world in this book is really confusing! At first I didn't understand a thing about the "Hermetic" laws and the elemental hearts, then it became clearer, but we also had demons, gods, "kindly ones", shadows, mithology, fantasy, and so much more that I don't think I fully understood the world at the end of the book, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it, on the contrary, I found it very interesting!

I decided to give this book 4 stars because of the slow begining and because of what I said in the paragraph above, but those were the only things I didn't really like... I just loved Ignifex so much, the way he loved and trusted Nyx <3. Also, I thought his back story was amazing! A true mistery and at the end when we learn what really happened it blew my mind!

Really, I devoured the second half of this book! And I nearly cried because of the destiny of Nyx and Ignifex :(. It was so unfair! UGH. About the ending... I'm kinda torn. I didn't expected it and I like that, also, I think it was sweet and overall, a good ending, but I don't know, I feel like I didn't fully understood what happened (again, because the world and the demons and the gods were so confusing)...

I'm satisfied with it, that's for sure, and I got a little book hangover! That was also unexpected! When I finished the book I couldn't stop thinking about Nyx and Ignifex and the magical world of Arcadia.

OH, and I can't go without saying that one of the things I loved the most of this book was THE CASTLE. I LOVED IT COMPLETELY.
319 reviews1,892 followers
December 27, 2013
Let me say it now: Cruel Beauty is one fantastic, gorgeously written, spectacularly dark debut. Many of its aspects may not appeal to some readers, and I understand that; although I really loved how the romance in Cruel Beauty and the "love triangle" (note the quotation marks--don't run off) played out, I do understand why some other readers, a handful of my friends amongst them, take issue with much of this novel.

But honestly, it's been over a week since I've finished Cruel Beauty, and I have truly nothing negative to say about it, other than the fact that the world-building and terminology may be a bit overwhelming at first. However, when I got accustomed to the world in Cruel Beauty, and got a grasp on where Hodge was going with the story around fifty pages in, I was absolute putty in this book's hand.

Cruel Beauty is a very ambitious novel, and it's one that will likely throw some readers off in how odd it is; it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling, with some Greek mythology thrown in, a whole lot of fantasy, a maybe even a hint of dystopian aspects, and trust me when I say it's all handled really, really well. What could have easily been a convoluted and silly novel instead incorporated each and every one of those aforementioned plot points seamlessly.

Nyx is a strong willed character, and is at times a bit frustrating, but she is also one of the most realistic characters I've read about this year. After all the things she goes through in the novel, she's understandably angry and fickle regarding whom she truly loves, and why. In reality, I think anyone would react similar to how Nyx reacted if they were placed in the same situation as her. As well as being an authentic character, she does eventually grow past the anger that was so evidently boiling up inside her in the beginning of the novel, but she never truly gets past it, much like anyone wouldn't. And that's why I love her character arc and development: you may be just as frustrated as Nyx is with her anger and fickleness, but you can't deny that her emotions are real, and you'd react the same. In any other novel, with any other character, Nyx's actions may just have annoyed me. I'm aware of this; but in Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge creates a character in Nyx that is, while not always likable, wholly relatable, and that is a great feat in my eyes.

And then there's Ignifex, who is one charming little bastard, and I'll leave it at that. There are much more things for me to touch upon in regards to the romance in this novel, all of which are spoilers. So I'm just going to let the readers of this unravel the mysteries of this romance on their own. (And trust me, it's something you'll want to discover on your own. The romance is something you'll either love or hate (see below), but it is definitely intriguing and original.) But yes, Ignifex--awesome, complex character, with a unique and surprising backstory...yes. Yes, yes, yes. Lovers of Cole from the Everneath series by Brodi Ashton, this guy's for you.

I think Cruel Beauty is a novel that will have some pretty contrasting opinions once it's published. Although some think its romance is insta-love (which I disagree with since it was said that five months passed before any 'love' thoughts occurred, but I digress) with an unnecessary love triangle (which I also respectfully disagree with because of reasons, but you all know how I feel about love triangles), I found Cruel Beauty to be a truly beautiful and stunningly original debut. With it, Rosamund Hodge has taken some aspects from Beauty and the Beast that manage to make the novel stand out as an adaptation, but she also introduces so many new concepts of her own to make the ageless tale as old as time we all love even lovelier.
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
422 reviews1,623 followers
April 18, 2018
2 Stars

Mini-review since it's been like a month since I read this whoops.


- engrossing writing style
- Audiobook narrator with the voice of a goddess
- A fun combination of Greek mythology and Beauty and the Beast retelling
- Main character who's allowed flaws and to be complex


- In the quest to make the MC complex they made her indecisive and fickle. (she seriously couldn't make up her mind about anything for more than two pages)
- None of the characters have a real conversation ever. They talk about love and connections on the first "date"
- The ending makes no sense
- Pointless love triangle was pointless
- There's literally like a magical god bird who explains everything, but then MC conveniently forgets so that the story can drag on for a few more chapters

In Conclusion:
The definition of wasted potential. The first like three chapters are excellent and then it steadily declines
Profile Image for ♛ may.
805 reviews3,774 followers
July 6, 2017
I don’t get what the point of this book is?

It’s supposed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but we got one hell of a desnse-uninteresting-FRIVOLOUS-beauty and one hell of a not-so-beastly-beast.

- description

Not to mention, the insta-love, the love triangle, the my-determined-will-is-broken-by-a-single-kiss, the exhausting amount of lust, it’s all M E S S.

So, this girl, Nxy, is supposed to save her kingdom by being wedded to the Gentle Lord. She and her father devised a plan to kill him to free their land yada yada. Now when this kid gets there, she’s all defiant but it takes less than four dinners for her to realize she’s actually in love with the beast


But she be kissing every guy she lays eyes on.

Okay, I seriously don’t get why she kisses Shade one minute and then goes on to make out with the Gentle Lord the next??????? WHAT THE HECK

“You fought and fought to keep all the cruelty locked up in your head, and for what? None of them ever loved you, because none of them ever knew you”
^^Oh but im sure you know her soooooooooo well after like 6 days

So, she’s supposed to be this bada*s princess, nobelwoman kinda thing but the only thing im getting from her is a big NOPE.

She’s confused, she’s rude as hell, she’s arrogant, she’s SO DUMB, and she has like ZERO will. I SWEAR, one minute she’s plotting his death and finding happiness in this pain and the next second she’s stroking his hair and watching him sleep.

R E A L L Y ????

Also, the writing. The writing is so dull. Gahhh, it’s monotone and Nyx and is a v terrible narrator. Plz, keep your day job.
The mythology aspect was pretty cool. I’ll admit that. I enjoyed that more than the characters, the nonexistent plot, and the weird as hell ending.

I’m just –
Is it that hard to deliver?

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”

1 star

758 reviews2,350 followers
June 7, 2017
3.9ish stars

This was so so so good and I loved it way more than I was expecting to. I did have some small issues which is why I didn't give it full five stars.

Rtc after my exams,

Buddy read with Inej dominating Kaz who i ditched lmao
Profile Image for Regan.
366 reviews109k followers
February 21, 2014
This book really surprised me.

When I was first reading this book I was not really digging it, I thought I had a handle on where the story was going, and therefore I thought it was too predictable. However, this story did not follow the stereotypical path that I thought it would. I still guessed the ending halfway in, but I enjoyed the ride nonetheless. The amount of predictability that may or may not be present in this book is not the important part, no, the important part is the story. The story is what really kept me so interested, it was beautiful and unique, and the delivery could not be ignored. The world combined well known ancient lore with (made up?) reinterpretations that added a wonderful level of fantasy. It was whimsical, and I really fell in love with the characters. I enjoyed throughly that they recognized their flaws and accepted them. The last 30 pages or so is what made me write this whole review because I LOVED the ending. So much. This book delivered something I did not expect, so for that I tip my hat to it.

Also, it's a standalone. Score.
Profile Image for Samantha.
409 reviews16.7k followers
February 11, 2016
3.5 stars. Everyone was telling me I would hate this book, and I did not! While it did have its faults, I enjoyed what it was trying to do and the general theme, even if the execution failed at times. It is a Beauty and the Beast/Hades & Persephone hybrid with some folklore mixed in. I cannot hate it.

A review to come when I've fully collected my thoughts!
Profile Image for Yun.
509 reviews19k followers
February 8, 2020
In Cruel Beauty, Nyx has been trained since birth to be an assassin so that she can fulfill her father's bargain to marry the demon lord, with the ultimately goal of killing him and bringing about the end of a 900-year-old curse that he had unleashed upon her town. Sounds promising, right? I love a good fairy tale retelling as much as the next person. But unfortunately, this story left me mostly confused.

When a girl is advertised to be an assassin, I expect a badass slaying demons left and right with swords and words. But Nyx is only trained to be a glorified diagram tracer, and that doesn't even play a part in the final battles. Her words also don't slay so much as annoy. She keeps saying how she's cruel, but really she's whiny and complains constantly. But "Whiny Beauty" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

There's a really weird love triangle in here. Our heroine insta-loves not just one guy, but two simultaneously. With guy #1, Nyx kisses him within a few minutes of meeting him. With guy #2, Nyx cycles between fearing him, slapping him, shouting at him, and kissing him. Any time he says something she doesn't like, she slaps him. That seems to be her preferred way of handling disagreements.

The dialog between characters feels so odd and stilted to me. Often when two people are talking, what each is saying individually makes sense, but not in the context of what the other is saying. It's like the author wrote one person's lines independent of the other, and then wove them together without making any edits. The odd dialog makes certain parts of this story really hard to follow, and I walk away from this not really sure I understood the crucial plot points.

I thought this would be a book of action, but it's actually a book of inaction. Nyx spends the majority of time thinking about what she needs to do and her feelings of hate and inadequacy, but almost no time actually doing anything relevant to achieve her goals. The majority of the book is spent with her walking down hallways, opening doors, and entering different rooms, while ruminating about kissing guys and how much she loves/hates her sister.

So many people wrote raving reviews about this book, so no one's sadder than me that it turned out to be a disappointment. In the end, no matter how hard I tried, it was just too hard to like a story that I couldn't quite follow and where I was often left befuddled by what the heroine was doing and thinking.
Profile Image for Katie.
522 reviews421 followers
December 10, 2015
I realize that this book doesn't come out for quite a while, but as soon as it downloaded on my Kindle, I started reading it right away, and once I'd finished it, there was no holding back the feels.

This book is amazering.

It's half:

And another half:

And considering Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies/fairy tales and the Cupid and Psyche myth is probably my favorite in the entire Greek mythology canon...

This book has some of the coolest worldbuilding I've seen in a YA novel. Originally, I thought the book was going to be high fantasy, but now I'm not so sure. It almost feels like "low," or "second world" fantasy, as the setting is a world that was settled by the Greeks and then cut off from the rest of the world. For that reason, the people believe in Greek gods, and the demons that the blurb refers to are supposed to have originated in Tartarus.

The mythology spin on the story was a total surprise, as the blurb doesn't mention it, and I found myself even more excited in the first couple chapters because of it. I also saw an interview with Rosamund Hodge on Epic Reads, where she said that her story is based just as much on the Cupid and Psyche myth as it is on Beauty and the Beast (if not more), so I'm not sure why the myth bit isn't in the blurb. It should be, IMHO.

Okay, so let's talk about characters. Holy shiz. These characters are so crazy and dark and totally different than most other YA protagonists. Nyx is what I wanted Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy to be - BA and mean, with an iron will, but so broken that you couldn't help but love her. I loved how her family relationships pushed her into her feelings for Ignifex. Her character motivation and development flowed really well, I thought.

Ignifex is also pretty amazing. He reminded me of all those Victorian anti-heroes that are more wicked than good, like Heathcliff. Or maybe like the selfish gods of mythology that have to learn compassion. Either way, I enjoyed his development a lot too, and although I figured out early on the big twist about his identity, just like with Cinder by Marissa Meyer, I didn't care.

I was totally absorbed in this book. I couldn't put it down. Basically, this was me and Cruel Beauty:

And when people tried to talk to me:

Okay, and the end.


*shakes computer*

Loved it, loved it!

I won't say anything else.

Just know.

It's amazing.

I know it's terribly CRUEL of me (see what I did there?) to tell you all these lovely things about this book when it doesn't release until January. I'm very sorry. But go ahead and add it to your Goodreads TBR list now, because YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE! It's dark and twisted and original and wonderful. There's fabulous worldbuilding, seriously messed up characters that Rosamund Hodge makes you love, and some really vivid imagery that I didn't talk about before but is also really great.

Profile Image for Simona B.
887 reviews2,972 followers
February 10, 2017

"Why wasn’t my hatred simple anymore?"

I'm going to start this review doing a thing I usually find useless and infuriating, but which I am nonetheless sure every reader does, at least from time to time: a comparison. And a random enough comparison at that.
Not that many days ago I finished another ya novel that all of you probably know, and that is Angelfall by Susan Ee. You see, I thought I needed to mention it because of this curious question that popped up in my mind as soon as I turned the last page of Cruel Beauty: if I feel that I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed Angelfall, why then did I rate that one four stars without a second thought, while I just can't bring myself to do the same with this?

This review is the answer to that question.

Nyx Triskelion and I are not right for each other, this much is apparent. I saw many similarities between her and Penryn (protagonist of Angelfall), which is probably part of the reason why I fel the comparison was necessary; anyway, many were the differences as well. Both heroines are flawed and know it, but while Penryn fights along with her faults making strengths out of them, Nyx's attitude is more ambiguous and, I believe, hypocritical. She never denies having, as she dutifully remind us every now and then, "poison in her heart", but she fluctuates between thinking of herself as the most despicable person on Earth and easily rolling with it, even relishing it. It basically depends on her mood of the moment. I personally prefer the latter case, which is a pity since we see more of the former. Nyx is so volatile that she can convincingly assert she in love with Ignifex and be firm in her purpose to kill him, which she can express with determination and willingness one minute and with nothing but frustrated reluctance the next. She does not seem torn: she seems bipolar. The fact that she simultaneously falls in love with two men () does not help me getting rid of the impression, actually it reinforces it: she does not know what she wants, she's indecisive, flighty, erratic, and she remains so for the whole story, never growing up and never deciding until she had but a path to take, so it's not as if she finally did take a real decision.
In brief: Penryn knew she was acting selfishly and kept doing so in spite of everything, and I loved it; Nyx knew she was a tool in The Greater Good hands and resented it profoundly, and never, not even once, she thought she could find another way, resulting in her (and us) never understanding which side she was on. And I hated it.

The romance: well, as I said, there is a love triangle seasoned with more than a pinch of insta-love, so it goes without saying that it was kind of doomed from the start. Besides, while it is perfectly clear that calling "insta-love" what Nyx has with Shade is being overly generous, I hoped that her relationship with Ignifex would make up for that at least a little. In fact, more than a month passes before Nyx develops actual feelings, but, since their interactions are very limited both in duration and in variety, it feels like insta-love all the same. This is serious. Seriously bad. I didn't feel like shipping them but faintly.

The house, for which I demand a standing ovation: it is a house of horrors and wonders, a house that changes and has secrets to hide, and, as a setting, it confers on the story such a wonderful air of mystery that the reader cannot help soaking up and being bewitched by.
And speaking of the house, the matrioska thing: all the stars. It blew my mind away. Like, it was there and then it wasn't. Generally speaking, I liked very much both the world-building and the ending, which has an unusual rhythm and hit the mark, at least for me, precisely for this reason.

➽ Don't take me wrong: the novel is highly, highly enjoyable, and although many readers lamented its slowness, I actually didn't perceive it and devoured book in a little less than a day. The most difficult feat was to bear with the protagonist, but the setting is so enticing that Nyx won't bother you too much. If you are interested in a new take on The Beauty and the Beast and romance is your thing, you should give it a chance.
Profile Image for Nicole.
718 reviews1,785 followers
December 30, 2020
“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”

4.5 stars

I honestly expected to hate Cruel Beauty. I don't read many books with an average rating of under 4 on GR because so far, I only ended up liking 3 or so. So you can only imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying this book. I heard many negative things about Cruel Beauty and I was waiting for something terrible. I decided to read it because I was in this fairy tale retelling mood and I'm glad I did!

I liked how Nyx was a gray character. She's flawed. And she knew it and embraced it. She hated her family and it's normal to not like them considering how she was raised. I understand her controversy because it's still her family she can't help loving them but a the same time hating them for giving her sister everything and sealing her own fate to death.

While I wasn't a big fan of the love-triangle, I kinda got it. That's all I can say without saying any spoiler.

I loved Ignifex. A lot. I loved his sarcasm and how he grew to care about her. I loved their relationship because both have their dark side and they made a very cute couple. While Nyx was attracted to him, it didn't let this stop her from accomplishing her mission. She kissed him and stole what she wants. So I couldn't help but root for them.

This book is not exactly light. I had some problems with the world-building which I felt it lacking and underdeveloped. I wish we had more books in the series (not about Nyx and Ignifex but maybe another story set in the SAME world) since the world seemed to be very vast and interesting, especially since it has more than a Greek mythology touch. Many times while reading though I found myself completely lost. This book made me want to read more fairy tales not just of the beauty and the beast but everything. so it kinda became special. I never read many because I don't know, I thought they'd be silly or something.

While I understand why many might not like it, I'd still recommend it if you're looking for an enjoyable retelling loosely based on the Beauty and the Beast. But then again, I'm no expert in this genre since I'm a newbie and all yet, I know that I loved it.

I saw these 2 pictures and found so relatable to Nyx and Ignifex

Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews504 followers
December 8, 2015

I found a rose garden under a glass dome; the roses formed a labyrinth in which I always got lost . . .

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 have to admit, I picked up this book because of the cover *wears cone of shame*
The reviews were looking kind of iffy and I wasn't sure I would like this book. All I can say is thank god I went all googly-eyes for the cover because, if not, I would have missed out on a really good book.

I loved the complexity of the story, the twists, and surprises. This is a slow burn kind of story; it develops slowly, but still manages to hold your interests.
I was raised to marry a monster.

The author creates incredibly dynamic characters that aren't quite black and aren't quite white, which made them all the more realistic. Not everything was clear cut and pretty for us.

The world-building, the writing, it was all wonderful. I thought it was a really well-done retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It wasn't exactly the same but had undertones of the story.
"I still might kill you," I told him, much later.
He traced a finger along my skin. "Who wouldn't."

Why did I rate this 4 stars instead of 5? I felt the romance was a bit to rushed. At first, it was going along perfectly . . . they bantered and insulted each other, all mostly good-natured (I use that word loosely) . . . and then it was like a fire was lit under their asses. I was left there like, O.o Whoa guys, I'm not ready for this. Don't get me wrong, part of me loved all that lovey-dovey stuff. I would have felt cheated if there wasn't any romance, but it just happened too quickly for my taste.

I also felt like some things could have been better explained. I had to go back a few times and slowly read over things in order to grasp what going on later in the book. I felt like the author was going for a mysterious and enigmatic vibe (which mostly worked) and some clarity was lost with that.

All in all, this was a solid, enjoyable read :)
Profile Image for Eliza.
593 reviews1,380 followers
July 10, 2017

I HATE finishing a book that I absolutely adored reading - it makes me walk around in a depressed state as I come to realization that I might not hear from the characters again, that I might not find such a wonderful book again ... This is how I feel right now: Torn. Thrilled. Depressed. Jovial.

Putting aside my momentary depression, I read Crimson Bound first and loved Hodge's world building and writing - so naturally, I picked this book up and was not disappointed. If anything, I loved this book more than the other.

From the first chapter, I loved Nyx. She is probably one of my favorite characters now. Her fearless attitude, snarky comments, and random moments of punching someone in the face had me laughing nearly every chapter. Not only that, but she had very real thoughts of hatred and annoyance towards her family that were refreshing to read (they were not nice people). Overall, she was just a believable character since not everyone is so "pure-hearted" in life, and I'm getting really tired of all the goody-goody main characters I come across all the freaking time. I really enjoyed reading from a dark POV. It was intense, to say the least.

Okay okay, lastly, let me just add that the first scene with Nyx and the Gentle Lord made me burst out laughing, and I don't mean that fake laughter where someone says they're laughing and they're not. I mean I was actually laughing and crying at 3 in the morning - holding this book to my chest because I knew I was going to freaking love it.

Wow ... I had to pause for a few moments since I can't write a proper review right now. I'm so upset to have finished this book - but so thrilled to have read it. THIS WAS AMAZING, OKAY.

Um. So, I'll probably come back and fix this review later because it sucks - but just because my review sucks doesn't mean you shouldn't read it! OKAY? Trust me and get this book!
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews234 followers
September 25, 2018
I love twisted fairy tale retellings, and “Cruel Beauty” definitely hits the mark for me. This is more than a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” though. It is a story on its own, with hints of a familiar tale yet completely new.

Nyx has been trained from an early age to marry Ignifex, aka the Gentle Lord, then kill him and free her kingdom. He is beautiful, wicked, seductive, and with a really ugly side. When her wedding day comes and she is suddenly married and trapped in his beguiling house -- she discovers that nothing, including her husband, is what she expected.

The setting is fascinating. Based on Greek mythology, this world is in many ways a creation all its own. Almost every fantasy element has some place in mythology, so they might not all make sense to those going in with no knowledge of them. But those who do may enjoy catching the references. I know I missed some but I enjoyed the ones I caught because it gave the story added layers. The island of Arcadia resides within what, from the inside, looks like a parchment paper dome, protected from the outside world but also separate from it. No one knows exactly what happened 900 years ago when the Sundering began, but Nyx's father believes that she can break it when she destroys the Gentle Lord. Of course as is the case in all stories, nothing is as simple as it seems, and that's when the wonder of this book unfolds.

I find the main characters interesting, and I liked that their interactions were fiery and vivid. I love how Rosamund Hodge played with the original tale, especially in the complexity of the main characters. There is much less of a focus on Ignifex's physical appearance, and more on the evil and darkness that surrounds his character. Whether or not the perceptions about him are true, no one would presume to call him a good guy. Nyx is also not an innocent beauty. She is driven, starved of love, and recognizes the darkness that lives in her own heart. I think some people may find the main characters too dark and self-centered to enjoy their story, and at times it was edging on a little too much for me. There is some terrible violence and pain in the story, and the characters didn’t always respond the way I wanted them to (though I usually understood why they did). Anyway, I didn’t mind this too much because they interested me, and I did come to like them.

Both Nyx and Ignifex have been forced to live lives not of their own choosing and both have become bitter and resentful. Though they are enemies and their role is to destroy one another, their flawed, lonely lives are fulfilled by one another. They are not the lovely, perfect, and incredibly-kind-despite-it-all couple but they matched each other in anger and passion. The romance develops slowly and is lovely to watch, and it would have been perfect if not for the forced love triangle. The good news is that in the second half of the book, the love triangle becomes a non-issue.

The book was moving. It is beautifully written, and it was so easy to get lost in. Even the use of my all time least favorite plot device in the last part turned into a favorable climactic ending. Without spoilers, it's hard to be specific, but when that portion of the story started I almost stopped reading because of how much I hate stories that end the way it was seeming to go. Yet I was so enthralled that I had to finish, crossing my fingers (without much hope) that I wasn't going to be let down in the last pages of an incredible story. And to my surprise, it was fabulous!

Despite some flaws, I definitely enjoyed “Cruel Beauty”. I think this is a great gothic fantasy! The characters have dark personalities that you have to accept. It was refreshing to see true humanity, and in ways inhumanity, in the protagonists. In the end I was sad it was over yet there was nothing left to ask for. It is so incredibly and beautifully written, that it left me feeling wholly satisfied.
September 24, 2022

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CRUEL BEAUTY was our October book of the month in the Unapologetic Romance Readers group - in fact, it won by a massive landslide. Not that I was surprised. CRUEL BEAUTY made quite a stir when it was first released; it seemed like everybody was singing its praises and mooning over Ignifex. On the surface, it sounded like a great story - love and death, revenge, magic, fairy-tales, demon lovers. That's Nenia to a T. But it was also YA. And I've been burned by the YA genre more times than I care to count. My heart couldn't take any more disappointment. So anyway, we started reading CRUEL BEAUTY in URR, and I was defensive and hopeful all at once as I prepared myself for the inevitable let-down...

Only to fall in love with the book.

I couldn't put it down. I think I read 40% of the book the first day. I finished it as soon as I got home from work the next day. Nyx isn't like other heroines. She isn't perfect and good - she's angry and vengeful and bitter, and rightfully so. Her family sucks, man. Because of a bargain her father made with some demons, her mother died in childbirth and he selected her to be the sacrifice so he can keep the sister who resembles the mom while boinking the aunt under their own roof. How messed up is that?

But Nyx doesn't just have the responsibility of avenging her family. She lives in this Greco-Roman city called Arcadia that's been frozen in time for almost 1,000 years because of a curse. They have a parchment sky and a demon lord, called the Gentle Lord, who makes Faustian bargains that always end in curses and tragedy. To fulfill the bargain made by her father, she has to marry him. To fulfill the prophecy handed down by their alchemists through centuries, she has to kill him.

There's a lot of Roman mythology in here, but it also borrows heavily from European fairy tales and folklore, notably Bluebeard's Castle (one of my favorites), Faust, Rumpelstiltskin, and, of course, Beauty and the Beast. It should have felt clunky, but I felt that the author blended everything seamlessly. I liked the alchemic magic system and how it fit into the world. The descriptions of Ignifex's magic house were amazing - I could easily picture the Heart of Water and the Heart of Air, but I'd like to see it on the big-screen. Maybe not even by actors...maybe animated, by Studio Ghibli, like they did with HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE. That would be appropriate, I think. Especially since there's more than just a dash of HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE in here, too.

And can we talk about the feels?


"I suppose gods as well as men become stupid when they have a chance to get everything they want."

Oh, yes. CRUEL BEAUTY is a stunning, beautiful book that definitely lives up to the hype.

I will be reading that sequel.

4.5 stars!
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,014 reviews1,051 followers
February 28, 2017

Maybe 2.5 stars?

The first 100 pages are really enjoyable and very intriguing. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough because of the promising plot-Nyx marrying with the intention of assassinating Ignifex, a demon/monster to save the land of Arcadia. But soon she learns that her husband isn’t what people thought he’d be. Her first few attempts at killing him were just so hilarious and I was really convinced I’m going to love the book.

But then a few chapters later, things just got weirder and weirder including the crazy love triangle, Nyx becoming so fickle in her emotions that she’s starting to become annoying and the plot becoming a huge blur and soon I found myself disconnected and disoriented. I’d like to tell more but it’s all a muddle up there in my head. It ended happily though, so I guess that’s a yay! It suffices to say that I think I’m done with Beauty and the Beast retellings for now. I’ll just wait for Emma Watson’s movie. Sorry about the Cruel with no Beauty review. ^^
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