I finished Cruel Beauty last night and I decided to review it while I have the free time! You can buy it on Amazon here, and read the official synopsis on Goodreads here. Also, stare at the beautiful cover with the picture I took and posted on my Instagram:
Thank you, once again, to Allison, one of the sweetest people on the Internet for recommending this book to me! <333 (You can look at her Instagram here.)
I think it’s pretty obvious, but Cruel Beauty is the retelling of Beauty and the Beast with Greek mythology incorporated into it. Although I haven’t read many retellings, I really do enjoy them, and I was especially intrigued by this one because I am a HUGE fan of Greek mythology. Luckily, this did not disappoint.
The plot follows a girl named Nyx who is trained all of her life to be married to a monster, the Gentle Lord. The “Gentle Lord” is basically the evil ruler of their land, Arcadia, and Nyx has to marry him because of a bargain her father made with him years ago. But while she is planned to marry him, she is also in charge of finding a way to kill him so that she can free her country.
In the beginning of the novel, Nyx is married off to this “monster,” and her job is to seduce him so that she can plan his death (or the plans that she made beforehand with her father, but I won’t get into that because of spoilers.) But as she lives more in the castle, she realizes that not everything is as it may seem and she begins to fall in love with the “monster”, Ignifex.
That’s the summary that I can give you without any spoilers. Now let’s discuss the characters, writing, and my thoughts on it.
Although this book is slated as fantasy, I thought it had more of a romantic side. Most of the novel was romance, so if you aren’t a big fan, you might not enjoy it as much. I really did enjoy the romance in this book, however, I wish it had been more thoroughly paced. Don’t get me wrong, there was no instalove or all of that crap, but I just enjoy romances that are more developed.
This book was much darker than I thought it would be. I know it wouldn’t be all sunshines and smiles, but it had a lot of mystery and intrigue, too. This was probably the part that I enjoyed most about the story.
This book was also much, much more confusing than I thought it would be. Since I do not want to spoil anyone, I won’t get into why I thought it was confusing, but sometimes the writing led me off. There were also many plot twists, which I also very much enjoyed, but a lot of the time, I didn’t get what was going on. Either I’m really stupid, or the book was confusing. There was so much terminology to get used to, so many foreign names, that sometimes I had to reread chapters. In the end this wasn’t a problem, but I wish the author had made it a bit more clear.
As for the characters, most of them were annoying (not too much) but they did get on my nerves sometimes. Although Nyx isn’t one of my favorite protagonists, she was definitely interesting to read from. She was tough, and sometimes acted bitchy, but I can understand because of the circumstances. Ignifex also made me really curious, though I was sometimes creeped out by him because of his red eyes.
Overall, (for the non-spoilery section of this review), this was a solid fantasy/romance retelling. Although it was confusing at times, and I didn’t completely fall in love with the characters, I highly recommend you pick it up because it was a very enjoyable, unique read. Plus, it’s a standalone!
I WILL NOW BE GETTING INTO SPOILERS SO PLEASE LEAVE IF YOU HAVEN’T YET READ THIS BOOK.
Okay. Phew. I really thought this book was going to end bad, because the last 50 pages were hectic. As I said above, I didn’t know what was going on. I mean, I understood, but I was still confused. First of all, I still don’t fully understand the deal with the box and the house and Arcadia.
(If you got it could you explain it to me? I’d really appreciate it.) What I understood, in the end, was that Nyx could not follow her original plan of collapsing the house onto itself because all of Arcadia was in the box/house. Or, the model of Arcadia was actually THE Arcadia–something along those lines but I still don’t get it. I feel stupid, I swear.
I knew that there was something up with Shade all along, since he just seemed too nice to be real, but I didn’t suspect that he was only half of Ignifex/Lux. This is another part that I am confused about. I get that the bargain Shade/Ignifex made 900 years ago with the Kindly Ones was to take the evil from his heart and not be alone in Pandora’s box but also save Arcadia, but I don’t get how he split into two. Well I do, but not exactly.
See, that was my biggest problem with it. I didn’t really understand the logic behind all of the mythology, and that’s saying something because I know my Greek mythology.
I was also confused when Nyx went back to her “new life” because I didn’t know what exactly was going on (again). Luckily, it made sense when it all came back to her, but I felt like the ending was a bit rushed when she remembered all of a sudden. I enjoyed the last 50 or so pages, but I wish it was more thoroughly paced out. Anyways, since my hands are tired of typing, this is going to be it for this review, but I hope you enjoyed it! I can’t wait to read Rosamund’s other books, and it would really help if someone clarified what was going on with the deal Shade made with the Kindly Ones with the box/Arcadia/house stuff. Thank you!
How did you enjoy this book? Did you like it, or not? Let me know in the comments!
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