Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty

3.66 (86,571 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.66 (86,571 ratings by Goodreads)
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If you're excited about the upcoming Disney film Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, don't miss Cruel Beauty.

The romance of Beauty and the Beast meets the adventure of Graceling in this dazzling fantasy novel about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Perfect for fans of bestselling An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses, this gorgeously written debut infuses the classic fairy tale with glittering magic, a feisty heroine, and a romance sure to take your breath away.

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is what she expected--particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy--who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 146 x 217 x 26mm | 420g
  • Balzer and Bray
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062224735
  • 9780062224736
  • 84,895

Back cover copy

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom--all because of a reckless bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.

Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not 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. But even if she can bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him?

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.
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Review quote

"A completely engrossing tale." -- Alex Flinn, New York Times bestselling author of BEASTLY and TOWERING

"A dazzling and clever retelling, CRUEL BEAUTY is delightfully dark, lushly romantic, and utterly spellbinding. I adored it, and can't wait to read Hodge's next novel!" -- Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series

"What a stunning debut. This is a book you will want to read as fast as you can for the intricate plot and as slowly as you can to savor the gorgeous world-building and the ravishing love story." -- Sherry Thomas, author of THE BURNING SKY

"An intricate and arresting tale well worth readers' time ... Hodge succeeds in creating a refreshingly human and real protagonist and love interest. They are both strong and flawed, and they--even more strikingly--embrace those qualities in themselves and each other. Engrossing." -- Kirkus Reviews

"The push and pull romance between Nyx and Ignifex is pure fairy tale, but the characters themselves are complex and genuinely human as they struggle with their own culpability in a situation that forces them to choose between selfishness and selflessness." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"An entertaining read for teens who enjoy romantic fantasy." -- School Library Journal

"Debut novelist Hodge has created a rich, complete world in this twist on 'Beauty and the Beast.'" -- Publishers Weekly

"Will have readers clutching the book and flying through the pages." -- Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

"[A] fast-paced romantic fantasy." -- Booklist
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Rating details

86,571 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 25% (22,065)
4 34% (29,052)
3 27% (23,023)
2 10% (8,894)
1 4% (3,537)

Our customer reviews

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is the story of Nyx who's mother died as a result of her father making a deal with the Gentle Lord, the same deal that ended up with her betrothed to marry the Gentle Lord when she turned 17. As a result pretty much her whole life has been in training to kill her future husband, a mission that she is knows will probably claim her own life. The novel starts on the eve of Nyx's wedding, during which time we find out that Arcadia has been infected with demons and placed under, effectively, a papyrus dome by the Gentle Lord who controls everything. Only the desperate and greedy make deals with him, under the belief they can be smart enough to make bargains that play out exactly how they want them to, but no one can out wit the Gentle Lord and everyone loathes him. Nyx believes she is the only hope, something she has been told her whole life, and as a result that has twisted her perception of who she is. She believes she should be a martyr, kind and true to the end, but she can't help but be envious of her sister and hate her father for everything that she has to go through; not forgetting the fact that he's sleeping with his dead wife's sister and yet Nyx is expected to avenge the woman who her father seems happy to forget about when it suits him. Nyx spends so much of the novel believing that her anger makes her a horrible person, but never takes the time to think that maybe it just makes her human, something the novel keeps hinting at but never truly gives Nyx a chance to realise. Of course she should be angry, she has to sacrifice her life at 17 thanks to circumstances she never had a hand in. Ignifex on the other hand has a darkness to him but isn't truly evil either. He was probably my favourite character in the whole book. From the start his teasing nature endeared me to him in a way that I never felt towards Shade. The link between the two love interests I felt was fairly obvious if you just thought about it for a second but it was still an interesting plot device. Overall, I really enjoyed Cruel Beauty. It is set in a wonderfully different world based on Greek and Roman history & mythology, although at times the revealing of certain aspects felt a little info-dumpy. The romance definitely won the book for me, it was sweet, teasing and different from most other YA novels. It felt doomed but wonderful. At times I could see links with Beauty & the Beast, Bluebeard and a few other fairytales, but that felt like a crutch to market the book on and I think it could have just been it's own great story without selling it as a retelling, although maybe there would have been lest interest in the book as a result. I think this would appeal to fans of the Graceling series, and I think it's going to become a series in the same way as Graceling; all subsequent novels being set in the same world but not necessarily about the same more
by Iona
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) 17-year-old Nyx has been raised to marry a monster �???�??�?�¢�??�?�¢?�??�?�¬�??�?�¢?? the Gentle Lord who rules over the village where she lives. An old rhyme gives her twin sister hope that she will slay the beast on her wedding night and return to her, but Nyx has little faith that she will achieve this. What she doesn�???�??�?�¢�??�?�¢?�??�?�¬�??�?�¢?�??�?�¢t expect is to fall in love with the monster, and actually want to be married to him. Can Nyx break the enchantment over her village? And was the sky always the colour of parchment? This book was weird. Just weird. Nyx was such an odd character. She seemed to like causing other people pain, and would intentionally say things designed to hurt people, especially the people she loved. She also seemed to like inflicting pain on herself, why else would she fall in love with a monster? And not just any monster �???�??�?�¢�??�?�¢?�??�?�¬�??�?�¢?? a monster that she has sworn to kill, has been raised to kill! A monster who she claimed to hate, a monster who caused the death of her own mother! The storyline in this was also weird. We had aspects of beauty and the beast, we had a touch of Rumplestiltskin and other fairy tales mixed in, and we also had mythology in there, with stories about Pandora! The storyline was complicated and confusing, and while at times I enjoyed parts of it, at other points I was really bored. The romance was bizarre. After being sent to kill her new husband and failing, she claims to hate him, and then when something happens and all she needs to do is step back and watch him die, she saves him and decides that she loves him! I mean where did that come from? I just can�???�??�?�¢�??�?�¢?�??�?�¬�??�?�¢?�??�?�¢t fathom this one. At least in the Disney version of beauty and the beast the beast starts acting kindly toward Belle, and oh yes, she wasn�???�??�?�¢�??�?�¢?�??�?�¬�??�?�¢?�??�?�¢t sent there to kill him and free her village from a terrible enslavement. The ending to this was also weird and confusing, and I�???�??�?�¢�??�?�¢?�??�?�¬�??�?�¢?�??�?�¢m still not really sure what happened. The whole thing was just odd, and I�???�??�?�¢�??�?�¢?�??�?�¬�??�?�¢?�??�?�¢m really not sure what to think! Overall; weird and confusing. 6.5 out of more
by Sarah Elizabeth
I requested Cruel Beauty when available to request on Edelweiss because I love the disney beauty and the beast, and I had also seen some highly positive reviews from trusted bloggers and wanted to experience for myself. The beginning of the book wasn't what I expected, and I didn't really get fully into it until Nyx was married and in the castle of the Gentle Lord. It was more about gods and goddesses, and repetitive moanings about her and her sister as well as a rather tedious to me set up of the world. Another thing that was lost in the retelling that was a favorite part of the Beauty and the Beast original was how Beauty sacrificed willingly for her family, and here Nyx really had no choice and she complained about it. However, several of my blogger buddies dubbed this a favorite so I kept with it longer than I might have otherwise. However, I started liking the world and the story picked up when we met Ignifex and Shade. Both had qualities that made me want to know more about them and this is where I started being interested and invested in the story. I began to respect Nyx more and more because she is downright real. She has love for her sister, but also resents her because her father chose her sister as the one to fawn over and Nyx the one to sacrifice to the gentle Lord. But she doesn't just accept these feelings, she really tries to control and let the love win out. The love triangle in this one is great. I was especially falling for Shade, and had a few theories about him, but I won't say because it would be a spoiler either way. He could only say certain things, and couldn't betray Ignifex because he was bound to him, but his gentle and believing nature really drew me to him. He helped Nyx when he could and I really pitied but also admired him at the same time for staying strong and still having hope after being imprisoned for so long. Ignifex was an enigma. He was cruel lots of times, which wasn't a surprise since he is the ultimate deceiver but he also showed concern and care at times when I am sure that he didn't have to. In some ways I come to pity him knowing some of his backstory, but it is hard to keep feeling that when I am reminded of all he did, all the pain he's caused. The romance between the two always took me by surprise seeing his gentler side, but just like Nyx, I questioned it, and wondered what the outcome could possibly be. Nyx has quite some adventures in exploring Ignifex's house, looking for answers, and trying to make things right, to fulfill her purpose and to find herself freedom. The ending was perfect for the story. I was kinda confused at what exactly was going on from about 85% up to well, about 95% but still, I think that I know, or at least I pieced together enough that makes me good with the story. I think part of it may be my sickness haze, but I dunno. Also, the ending was perfect. It somehow wrapped everything I wanted for this story (even when it seemed to be in direct contradiction to each other) and gave Nyx and ending that I couldn't even have conjured up. It had plenty of action, lots of character development and was a satisfying and good read that I am glad I stuck through the slow beginning for. So, I will say that it was def worth the read, it had a slow (for me) beginning, I was confused at the resolution but it had an enthralling love triangle (that I was right about for once), a main character I came to love for her honesty and a heart-pounding and satisfying ending. Bottom Line: A fantasy that had me a bit confused at times, slow in the beginning, but made it totally and completely worth it with the most unique love triangle and resolution I've ever more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
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