Friday, May 9, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge {REVIEW}

Book Title: Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe)
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Publication Date:  January 28th 2014
                               by Balzer + Bray


[REVIEW COPY]

Blurb:

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.
PURCHASE/PRE-ORDER:
 
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Umm, I have, mixed feelings about this one. It can be compared to Nyx's feelings in the books. On moment I think I loved this book, but then in another, I can clearly see the things I usually don't like in a book. Rating it was a little difficult for me because I'm a big fan of fairytale and retelling. When I can't give more stars to a retelling book, it really hurts me, deep. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Nyx.

I love the name. It has a sort of chime-like sound to it. I would have loved almost everything about her. Almost. I know, love is weird, and complicated and all those heavy stuff. She was brought up with one ugly truth, that she has to marry The Gentle Lord, and if possible, destroy him for the betterment of her own people, even if it means her death in the process. So love was never a part of her plan. And very aptly, her relationship with Ignifex, starts out with hatred, at least on Nyx's part. Then there's a mysterious Shadow who seems to be the slave of this Gentle Lord, but can't say a word that may help Nyx succeed in her motive. That's pretty much it, without spoilers I mean.

Nyx feels sympathetic towards the Shadow and it's not really very long that we see Ignifex and Nyx sharing a connection as well. A girl can be confused. I get it. But that doesn't mean she has to keep flipping constantly. One moment Ignifex is the one that sets her hearts aflutter, the other moment all she could think of is where the Shadow is. It started giving me giddy feeling after a point. 

Ignifex. And the Shadow.

Defying common sense, I liked Ignifex, a lot LOT better than Shade. Ya, he was all good and stuff. But I kind of wanted to puke. I'm not saying it's the author's fault.Seriously, I just have a thing for such heroes (as in a phobia kind of thing), or supporting heroes. Well, not only in fictions but in real life too. I can't stand boys with overflowing emotions and tears ready to flood me away...it's just URRGHH!


Ignifex was way better and more likable because, well, he had a strong character build up and I must confess, when it comes to fictional boys, I'm a sucker for bad guys :D Somehow they appear wayyy  more hotter than bad guys are in real life! So yup - Ignifex 1,  Stupid Shade -0

Nyx and Ignifex.

Among all the Nyx-ian dilemmas, I loved the gradual developent in Nyx and Ignifex's relation. It's not like she started loving him instantly, or e started falling for her instantly, given their pasts, it was hard for both of them to let go and realize their feelings. The author did a great job there in showing their relationship in a step by step, trust and mistrust way.

Setting.

I loved the setting. Most of the story takes place in Ignifex's castle. Plus the book cover was a giant agent in making me visualize everything in front of my eyes. I felt like I could see the stairs, the mysterious rooms, the dining, everything. If I was to rate the based on the setting alone, I would probably give the book 5 out of 5.

The Ending.

One of the disappointments. I AM a big, fat sucker for happy endings. I won't say whether it's a happy ending or not, but I'm more than happy to see the author ending in such a way. I really wish, however, that it had been a little more precarious, tension filled- you know, the nail-biting kind of tension? It was good, but an pretty easy one. I even found myself wondering 'Really? That's it?'. Every author has her/his own way of re-telling a retelling, so I won't compare to the other retold versions. But if I put the very original one and this side by side, the latter appears a little faded to me. I would have really liked this book, if a. the characters' actions were a little more convincing, b. if it had not shown such weirdly built love-triangle and c. if the ending was achieved after a wee bit of more struggle.


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