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Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty is a debut story that will keep you up at night and make it worth your while.

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Goodreads | Amazon | Rosamund Hodge’s Website

cruel beauty rosamund hodge book review

Title & Author: Cruel Beauty by Markus Zusak

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Retelling, Mythology

Release Date: January 28, 2014

Series: Stanalone

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

How I Got the Book: ARC via Publisher


“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.”

Mythology Mixology

A compelling combination of fantasy and mythology retelling, Cruel Beauty was a knockout read. I couldn’t stop reading the strange tale of Nyx, who hates and loves in extremes.

Told from birth that she would be forced to marry the ruler of Arcadia, aka Gentle Lord, aka Ignifex. Almost a millennia ago, a curse was placed over the kingdom. Nyx has been told by her father that she can break the curse, but she must seduce Ignifex and kill him (and probably herself) in order to do it.

Although Nyx aims to be the dutiful daughter and follow the plan, she gets caught up along the way…maybe due to Ignifex’s infuriatingly attractive arrogance and her slowly weakening will to end his life.

I loved the twist on Beauty and the Beast, and I loved the addition of unknown-to-me mythology. Nyx’s fiery demeanor and self-hatred was a new character development I haven’t read often. It was interesting to see her struggle against herself while making a bad decision anyway.

I also loved the mysterious castle setting and its Harry Potter-esque nature.

Standalone Stunner

A few other things that added to my overall love of Cruel Beauty:

  • The stanalone awesomess of it. At least, I’m pretty sure they aren’t any sequels
  • The greco-roman feel
  • The twists and turns that left me gasping out loud
  • The non-annoying-ish love triangle-ish
  • The super tingly moments


I loved this story. It was fun and refreshing and different. I love me some retellings, so two for the price of one was a total win. Please add Cruel Beauty to your TBR – I promise you’ll thank me later.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Lucia

    Interesting review! Thanks for sharing.

    Note: Above it states the author is Markus Zusak! Just pointing it out. Great blog.