BOOKISH MUSINGS | Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Published: January 28th 2014
Genres & Keywords: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retellings
Books From Author: Cruel Beauty Universe and Crimson Bound

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Goodreads

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



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.


✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 4 stars

The Verdict: Cruel Beauty was a solid, enjoyable read. There were some things that felt rushed and could have been better explained but overall, I liked it. It was a very creative retelling that kept me entertained from start to finish.



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