Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss (thank you HarperCollins!)

Summary from Goodreads:
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

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.


Nyx was raised to marry a monster to repay a debt that her father had made before her birth.
"He had killed countless people, including my mother. He had tyrannized my country for nine hundred years, using his demons to keep my people in terror. And he had destroyed my life."
She was prepared to do whatever it took to kill him and save her country.
"I had a house to explore, a husband to defeat, and no time to waste at all."
She never expected to love him.
"I hated his eyes, his laugh, his mocking smile. I hated that he could kiss me, kill me, or lock me up with perfect ease. Most of all, I hated that he had made me want him."
Cruel Beauty is a gripping and romantic tale set in a world that feels both familiar and utterly unique. From the moment Nyx stepped inside the Gentle Lord's castle I felt like I was under a spell. I was transfixed. Every encounter with the Gentle Lord made me want to see him again. Every glimpse of the house, which was magical and ever-changing, made me want to continue exploring. The story was filled with discovery and mystery and precious moments with him. 
"Ours eyes met, and for a moment there was nothing buy shared glee between us - between me and my enemy."
There was layer after layer to this story. Each turn of the page brought something new. It's one of those stories that you don't understand the magnitude of until it's revealed to you. It's not just a story about a girl who falls in love with the monster she is supposed to kill. Although that part is lovely on its own. There is a larger story about the Lords of Bargains and a debt that goes deeper than the one even Nyx is asked to pay. It is puzzling and complex but utterly addicting.
"They avenge the wronged, when it suits them. Strike bargains with the desperate, when it suits them. They love to mock. To leave answers at the edges, where anyone could see them but nobody does. To tell the truth when it is too late to save anyone. And they are always fair."
Look at that beautiful prose!

Nyx... oh, Nyx. She was so angry at the world for the unfairness of it all. But so much was expected of her, at no choice of hers. I think she had every right to be angry. But she beat herself up about it when she should have given herself more credit. She was so torn between her own selfish desires and her duty. As for the Gentle Lord himself... so mystifying. He was merciless and cold yet so tender and vulnerable. I couldn't get enough of him. How wonderful a pair of characters for this story. 

"The Gentle Lord was the most evil creature besides Typhon, and the most powerful after the gods. Everyone knew it.
Everyone was wrong."
I just adored this book. I know some have remarked that it is slow in pace but the writing swept me away that pace was the last thing on my mind. Cruel Beauty is beautiful and cruel and everything in between. I highly recommend it. Not to mention it would be a stunning addition to anyone's shelves (gorgeous cover alert!) 
"One night awaits us all; therefore, beloved, wait for me."
Copyright © 2014 The Quiet Concert
Template and Design by New Chapter Designs