Cruel Beauty

by Rosamund Hodge



















Cover Beauty Score: 9 out of 10
Goodreads Score: 5 out of 5

Plot Blurb: We follow the story of a girl named Nyx who has been betrothed since birth to the evil demon lord that rules and controls their land. She resentfully takes her place as his bride and lives in his enchanted castle/house, but she has trained her whole life to take the evil lord down. Desperate to save her people, she fights against her attraction to her demonic husband and struggles to find a way to bring his rule to an end.

My Reaction: I'm not gonna lie. I thought this book was a bit slow at first. From the beginning, I disliked Nyx, the main character, and thought she was self centered and pretty bitchy to be a hero. I mean, she was totally unfair to her sister and unbelievably cruel when she finally left home! There was a lot of poison in her heart and I just can't admire that in a person! But then EVERYTHING CHANGED!

As soon as Nyx started really interacting with her new husband, Ignifex, it's like her character came alive! I could see the complexities of her character and how true love was able to change her and help her let go of her past hatred. Even if it was at the hands of a demonic evil lord, unconditional love taught Nyx how to love for the first time in her life. The interactions between Nyx and Ignifex jump right off the page and make you fall in love with their romance in a very real way. They are two characters that play off of one another and in so doing, they come alive as individuals.

Despite her love, Nyx has to make a decision that has haunted stories and mythology (something that Hodge obviously loves, as myths are alive and well and living in this book). She has to ultimately choose between her love and the fate of the world she knows. There is some deep shit that goes on here, and it is real and heartbreaking... I may or may not have cried.  

Is there a love triangle in the book? Yes, but not in the way you would think. I had an inkling early on that this would be the case... but no spoilers so you'll have to read for yourself!

So going beyond the complexities of the characters and their changes, the plot of this book is fabulous! A house that is magical and tricky and alive in and of itself? Yes, please! It felt like Alice in Wonderland mixed with Tim Burton, Doctor Who, and Howl's Moving Castle... rooms of water, rooms of beautiful sunshine filled fields, neverending spiraling staircases, moving doors and floors, and rooms full of darkness that you must never enter (but let's be honest. Do you really think any good heroine would listen to a "it is forbidden!" command? No. I didn't think so.).

Just when you think you have Ignifex's castle and Nyx's world figured out, BAM! Hodge throws you for a loop. There's nothing that I don't appreciate more than a well conceived and complex plot full of hints that you don't understand until you finally do!

Overall? Stick it out through the whiney beginning and you won't be disappointed. The writing is excellent, the characters are fabulous, the romance is intoxicating, and the story will confuse and delight your detective skills... Go out there and buy it right now!

(Did I mention that the cover art is GORGEOUS!?) Seriously folks... this is the book that I wish I had written. Just make it happen.

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