Publication: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
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.
Cruel Beauty is a re-telling of Beauty and Beast. It revolves around Nyx and how she is trained to kill the Gentle Lord (aka Ignifex). Who happens to be the man she is supposed to marry thanks to a deal her father made in order to save her mother. It turns out that when someone makes a deal with Ignifex, there always seems to be a twist to it and things never really work out the way they hope.
Nyx is resentful of having to be the one to make this kind of sacrifice. She knows that she may never come back home. Once she meets Ignifex, she finds him intriguing, but knows that her job is to kill him.
But there is more to Ignifex than she thought. And the castle they live in is ever-changing...literally. So figuring out the answers she needs in order to rid the village of the Gentle Lord is more challenging than she anticipated. And for all of her training, she did not expect to fall for him. So her heart is conflicted….
Nyx was an interesting character to get to know. She is smart and strong, but not without some flaws. When I started the book, I wasn’t sure that I was going to like her even a little bit. I thought she was going to be super whiny, but it turned out that she wasn’t and I ended up liking her character a lot.
I really enjoyed reading this story. Ever since ACOTAR, I have been on a fairy tale retelling kick. Apart from that one, Uprooted is my second favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling. But where that book lacked in the romance I was looking for, Cruel Beauty more than made up for it. Though it would have been nice if there had been a little more plotting, and a little more action in the story. Either way, I did like it. It started off a little slowly for me, but the writing was well done, and I liked the world building. I never got bored with the story and it kept my interest from beginning to end.
“We'll both be foolish," I said, "and vicious and cruel. We will never be safe with each other."
"Don't try too hard to be cheerful." His fingers threaded through mine.
"But we'll pretend we know how to love." I smiled at him. "And someday we'll learn."
RATING: 4 out of 5.
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