Aleya Reviews Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

I was supposed to be studying for a test yesterday and instead I made the mistake of starting this book… and finishing it. So, now that the test is over with and I’ve written a paper for one of my classes, I decided to take a break and do a review for the book.

Overall my rating of the book is a 4.5 out of 5. The following review will have no spoilers, so don’t worry.

For those not familiar with the book it’s fantasy version of Beauty and the Beast. The main character Nyx was born and raised to kill the so called “Gentle Lord”, a demon who rules over their lands with an iron fist, what makes this even better, she’s also set to marry him. She marries him and plans to destroy his castle and free her people from his rule. Of course things don’t always go according to plan. She starts to love the demon and has to try and come up with something to make everyone happy, never an easy feat when your family wants your husband dead. It’s especially painful when you’ve fallen in love with the monster.

First off, let’s look at the cover because it’s a beauty (pun intended):

What’s fantastic about the cover is how it pulls in the story with the tale of Beauty and the Beast. We all know the significance of a rose in Beauty and the Beast, but the stairs woven into this rose has stairs woven between the petals. For those who haven’t read the book yet, you should know how significant the house is within the story. In Beauty and the Beast the house was important because it’s where the curse occurred and there were dancing and singing dishes and such, but in this novel the house is more focused on because it changes. You read that right, it changes. Instead of dancing furniture and dishes, this house has changing rooms, walls and such. The house in this novel really reminded me of Howl’s Moving Castle, especially the doors and how they could go different places. For those that haven’t seen Howl’s Moving Castle, go watch it, especially if you’ve read this book because it makes it a little more enjoyable I think. Anyways, back to the cover. We also have Nyx on the cover, descending the stairs in her red gown, which is important to the story. I love finishing books and looking at the cover (especially if it’s a good cover), you get to bring your knowledge of the book to interpret the images and it makes life so much more interesting.

And moving on to the plot… cause that’s pretty important when you’re reviewing I’ve heard.

The plot in this story is pretty good. When you start the novel you sorta have an idea to where it’s going to go but you’re not exactly sure how it’s going to get there. This novel you have that big time because it’s based off Beauty and the Beast which we all know. Where this novel shines though is how the basic plot points are altered to fit in the designed world. The world is one of the coolest things I think. It reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Jackson Pearce and her fairy tale re-tellings. There’s some basic things within the book that you know will come back in other novels, the use of the demons for instance and the world of worshiping Greek Gods. In terms of world building, it was well done. I really enjoyed the world it was in. I loved the whole use of the Greek Gods and that kinda thing, that’s always fun and interesting. Back to plot… I’m not the greatest when it comes to judging plot. This one wasn’t too predictable which was a plus (especially considering it’s based on a fairy tale we all know), but I think the world Rosamund Hodge built helped with that big time. It wasn’t too slow or fast paced, I feel like it was just right.

Now, for characters…

I love fantasy series because the names are fantastic. Nyx and Astraia are the two sisters (I forgot to mention Nyx is a twin… but you learn that in the very beginning of the novel so hush). Nyx for those that don’t know is the goddess of night in Greek mythology. Astraia is the daughter of innocence and sometimes justice. I feel like these two names are perfect for our characters because Nyx spends much of the novel in darkness, she marries a demon after all, plus she does a lot of sleuth work, at night… Anyways, Astraia is fitting because she’s the perfect innocent sister who just wants to help her sister kill the “Gentle Lord” in redemption for a loss they share. Such strong and fitting names, love them. Nyx is so strong and so real. She has hatred in her heart so she’s not the ideal character you think would parallel Belle from Beauty and the Beast, but she does pull it off. I love her attitude with her husband, it’s so wonderful.

The “Gentle Lord” goes by the name Ignifex, which has no meaning that I could find, but it’s cool as hell. When I first started the novel I was super excited to see what the ‘beast’ would be like, I was already a little in love with him honestly. Then when we meet him I just melted. Granted he’s a demon but he’s awesome and adorable and his wit is spot on, as is his mocking of Nyx… which isn’t good I know, but it’s just so wonderful.

There was also the character Shade who you’re introduced to around the same time as the “Gentle Lord”, he’s definitely interesting. I didn’t like him so much as I did Ignifex oddly enough. I came to like him in the end but he just didn’t set right with me throughout most of the book.

Other characters… Her father, I care not to remember his name cause he was a douche, as was her Aunt. They can both go drown in a puddle.

Overall the novel was pretty good. It’s not a 5 star in my opinion though. There were some things I wish that would have been built on a little more. It was good enough that I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I just wish there would have been a little more to the ending. It was a good one, but not the greatest. That’s the only part I felt was lacking. Regardless I very much enjoyed this book and had a blast staying up until 2 in the morning reading it. I sure have missed those days.

Here’s the cover for the next book. I’m pretty excited to unpack this one.

I’ve already started the second book which is a retelling of Cinderella set in the same world. I can tell you that there are demons and Greek mythology involved in this one as well, which is awesome. I really like this world and I’m glad I decided to read this book. It was a good one to get me going again. I’ve got 10 more books to read before the end of the year to reach my goal. I’ve totally got this. I actually only picked Cruel Beauty cause it was the shortest on my Kindle, I’m glad it was a good one.

Hope you guys found the review nice and useful… Also, for those interested in the novel, it’s on sale for $1.99 on Kindle through Amazon, so get that while it lasts. Until next time Chaos Seekers!

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