Published: January 20, 2014
Number of pages: 342
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: fantasy, romance, mystery, Greek mythology
Verdict: 3 owl hoots out of 5
Nyx has been destined to marry the Demon Lord who rules over her world since the day she was born, but she has a mission: to seduce and destroy him to end the curse. Betrayed by her family, Nyx faces her fate determined to kill the Demon Lord, Ignifex. However he’s not what she anticipated. Charmed by her husband and enthralled by his castle, Nyx has a hard time to fulfill her mission. So can she really do her duty of destroying him or does she choose to surrender to her feelings and stay with him instead?
I’ve become weary of reading talked about books. You hear people saying how great the story is and how it became everyone’s favorite, but after reading the book you’re slightly disappointed about the story because it’s not what you anticipated. Cruel Beauty falls under that category as I got the book for the same reason: everyone kept talking about and I wanted to know what the buzz was all about. But just to be clear, I didn’t hate the book. The story had an interesting concept so I like the book but I didn’t love it like everyone else.
A dark and twisted retelling of Beauty and the Beast with references to Greek mythology comes a rich story about love and desire. Nyx is a strong female character but she can be hard and difficult to be around because of her short temper and restlessness. I admire Nyx’s determination and courage, but when she falls in love with Ignifex and Shade she becomes this wishy-washy character who can’t decide who she wants to be with. Which takes me to the romance in the story.
First of all, I was annoyed at how Nyx threw herself to Ignifex and seduce him by revealing her chest (the first time she rips out her bodice on purpose). And I’m still unconvinced of the love between her and Ignifex, I get their relationship is built from desire but I honestly didn’t see the love between them. I admired our heroine and how she develops into a kind and caring young woman, but there were times when I was frustrated with her for being too wishy-washy.
I also thought the plot developed pretty well but there were parts that are too busy and there were some detailed Greek references the story could do without. I particularly found the history behind Ignifex intriguing and I was shocked how Nyx found out his true identity. The mystery behind the Demon Lord’s past was the only part of the story that was a page-turner and the love triangle romance I found dull.
Rosamund Hodge gives us a richly detailed description of the Arcadia world with references to Greek gods and myths, which I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s so much world building in the story, and although I liked reading the mystery behind the Demon Lord and the history of Arcadia, I did not like how the story ended as it left me hanging on what happens next for our characters. Overall, this was a good story but I don’t think I’ll reread the book again.