Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: January 8th 2014
Genre: fantasy, young adult
ASIN : B00DB365MK
Rosamund Hodge gives a new twist to fan favorite Beauty and the Beast, in her début novel Cruel Beauty. Of all the versions of the tale that I have read or seen, this one is drastically different. And what makes it even more interesting is the mix of Greek Mythology in it.
Nyx Treskalion, has known from the age of 9, she is betrothed to be married to the Gentle Lord on her 17th birthday. The Gentle Lord being the prince of demons, who fulfills requests made by commoners, peasants and royals alike at a PRICE, of course. Though for the time being, each and every wish is fulfilled by the bargainer, the catch is the price, of course. Greed, envy, lust and even love lead people into making these bargains, but what truly is at the heart of each wish, every desire is one and the same thing – the idea that they deserve more, are meant for more and hence its their right to seek and acquire what has not been granted to them, what has been deprived to them, and it being a great injustice.
Nyx has to pay the price of a bargain her father made years ago with the Gentle Lord, when he granted her mother’ wish to bore children.Though her parents are blessed with Nyx and her younger twin sister, Astaria, the happiness is short lived, since Nyx’ mother dies in childbirth. Hence, the only two things Nyx has learned from a young age, is trained for from her childhood are both related to the Gentle Lord. One she is to marry him, and the second she is to destroy him, to avenge the death of her mother.
On her 17th birthday, Nyx is married off to the Gentle Lord and soon finds herself in his castle, a labyrinth in itself with its two residents – her husband who she is to address as either my darling lord or Ignifex and his servant Shade, his absolute lookalike and a shadow.
Slowly and steadily as Nyx tries to find ways to destroy her husband, she falls in love with him discovering the prince of demons is himself a captive in his ruined castle and so vastly different from what he is made out to be, so different from what she had imagined him to be.
First and foremost, I would just LOVE to give a big hug to the person who has designed and conceptualized the cover of this book, honestly its one of the most stunning and captivating covers I have ever seen. It scores an entire point in my ratings, frankly.
Hodge’ writing is definitely brilliant here. I like the originality of some of the things put in here despite this being a retelling.
What didn’t work for me much was the fact that not even 10% into the book and Nyx shares a kiss with Shade just because he helps her out. For a girl who is supposed to be this kick-ass heroine, who is made to believe she is a savior she finds herself thrown off kilter quite soon.
The greek mythology also gets a bit overwhelming at times, not to mention that I honestly found myself a bit cheated. Nyx is supposed to NOT fall for her husband but she does and that too without much resistance.
Had the plotting been more crisper, the mythology a little less I would have rated this book a bit higher.