Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

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.

I went into Cruel Beauty expecting great things. It’s been talked about all over the blogosphere. Every time I go onto Twitter people are fangirling over it, and recommending it to others. I was expecting a wonderfully dark story with Beauty and the Beast connections. Instead, all I got was a confusing novel that almost seemed nonsensical at times.


The beginning of the novel was very intriguing. I quickly became invested in the world that Hodge created, with the mythological tie-ins and the deals that had been struck with demons. The first fifty or so pages were fantastic, and I cannot fault them. Unfortunately, after those fifty pages, the book takes a nosedive.


Once Nyx goes to the ‘Beast’s’ castle and meets Ignifex is when everything essentially goes to shit. A love triangle is introduced, there is instalove concerning all parties (although mostly when it comes to Nyx), the story becomes confusing and weird, and very little of it makes sense.


One moment Nyx is trying to kill Ignifex, the next they’re shagging and wanting to marry. I don’t know about you, but I think it was a bit farfetched. Maybe if the book had been longer, we could have had a lot more build up over the months that Nyx was in the castle. Instead it felt very rushed, and I didn’t feel any chemistry between the characters at all.


I didn’t find Ignifex hot, either, which surprised me. Normally I like the dark, broken, sarcastic characters, but Ignifex and I just didn’t hit it off. I found him boring, and also a bit of an arsehole. I don’t understand why Nyx was attracted to him in the first place. I was actually kind of hoping that she would end up killing him like she set out to do.


I did, however, enjoy the mythology that was entwined with the story. I wasn’t expecting it, and it came as a nice surprise. I love me some Greek mythology! It worked very well with the world building, and it gave the story a nice edge.


Cruel Beauty was an unexpectedly disappointing read, and I wish I could have loved it like everyone else did so I could join in with the fangirling. There was a lot of potential there, but I think the stupid instalove and the somewhat confusing backstory are what ruined it for me.

26 comments on “Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  1. Alexa A 06/02/2014 2:58 pm

    I felt a lot like you, a little cheated because everyone’s been really loving this book. I admit that I did like it, mostly because of all the mythlogical aspects that, even though they seemed (and were) really thrown together and messy, I still really enjoyed it because I simply love mythology too, and I could overlook the messiness. Otherwise, I totally agree with you on everything else, Cruel Beauty was quite disappointing. I still liked it, but.. disappointing nonetheless.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 07/02/2014 8:33 am

      I so wish I had enjoyed it more! I agree, some of the mythology was rather messy at times, and I had some trouble following it, although not enough to make it a big deal.

  2. Natalie Crown 06/02/2014 4:12 pm

    Interesting to see a different take on this. As you said, everyone else seems to be gushing over this one!

    I’m sure I’ll give it a go eventually. I like the idea that none of the protagonists are heroes in the typical sense. That said…the fact that you think it’s rushed probably means I’ll feel the same way.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 07/02/2014 8:34 am

      I hope you enjoy it more than I did, although the rushed plot and romance are annoying. Perhaps if the build up had been slower, I would have felt more of a connection to it.

  3. Carina Olsen 06/02/2014 5:27 pm

    Aw, I’m so sorry that you didn’t enjoy this book 🙁 But thank you so much for being honest. <3 We can’t all love the same books all the time ;p Hope your next read will be better. <3
    Thank you for commenting on my blog. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina’s Books

  4. The Avid Reader 06/02/2014 6:39 pm

    Oh no, I’ve been excited about this one – I love fairy tale retellings and I’ve always especially loved Beauty and the Beast. It drives me crazy when a book feels rushed and I’m usually not a fan of instalove, so I’ll try to adjust my expectations of this one.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 07/02/2014 8:35 am

      It’s annoying because in Beauty and the Beast (the movie) there was no instalove, and there was actual build up and a connection between the characters. It could have worked so well here, but instead the author rushes through it.

  5. Ange 06/02/2014 8:11 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t enjoy this one. I read about 20% and had to put it down because I was forcing myself to read it and I hate that.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 07/02/2014 8:36 am

      I was so alone! Haha. It doesn’t get any better, so putting the book down was probably a good idea. Forcing yourself to read something you’re not enjoying is a horrible feeling.

  6. Kelly 06/02/2014 11:03 pm

    Not connecting with the romance OR the romantic interest is almost always a buzz kill for me, regardless of what else is going right. I love the sounds of the mythology and the worldbuilding, but I’ll go in to this with a little more trepidation about the romance.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 07/02/2014 8:37 am

      I agree, especially when it’s in a love story or a retelling where the romance is a key element.

  7. Zoe N. 07/02/2014 12:34 am

    Uh oh…! I’ve heard only great things about Cruel Beauty, but that stinks you didn’t enjoy it – especially when you really expected it to be great. 🙁 I can definitely see where you’re coming from though – not being able to connect to the romance definitely is never fun; but I can imagine it would be 10x worse in a story like this. Thanks for sharing though, and, as always, brilliant review! 😀 Hopefully your next read will be better!

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 07/02/2014 8:41 am

      Aw, thank you so much Zoe! I’m reading Fangirl, and am really enjoying it, so it’s a huge step up. Hopefully the romance in this one will be miles better 😀

  8. Sana 07/02/2014 8:02 am

    Well, this is everything I feel about Cruel Beauty as well. SIGH.

  9. Kara_Malinczak 07/02/2014 7:35 pm

    I had an issue with the characters too, Amber. I found them all completely flat. I still gave this 3 stars because I appreciated the originality and parts of the story, but most of it didn’t work for me, unfortunately. It felt so scattered, repetitive, and disjointed. Meh.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 08/02/2014 12:41 pm

      The mythology and world building was really good, and had so much potential! I totally agree about it being repetitive. I remember thinking “Is she ever going to stop running around this bloody castle?”

  10. Mel@Thedailyprophecy 07/02/2014 8:40 pm

    🙁 I’m sorry you couldn’t enjoy it as much as I did. The romance worked for me, I connected with the characters and I enjoyed the plot – but if you fail with any of these aspects, it’s not strange you don’t like it. I hope your next book is better!

    • Amber (Books of Amber) 08/02/2014 12:41 pm

      Romance rarely works for me, so this is nothing new haha. I’m glad you really liked it though!

  11. littlebookstar 08/02/2014 11:15 pm

    Aw sorry Cruel Beauty was a disappointment for you. I really loved this book, and yes, the world building was fantastic! I loved the greek mythology too. fI think the reason why I liked the love triangle is because it came together at the end. I also liked it because of the mystery and plot twists throughout the book. The only problem I had was that Nyx didn’t even try to kill Ignifex. That fork scene def. doesn’t count! Like, really? A fork? -__- But overall I loved it. Hopefully your next read will be a good one!

  12. Ashley 09/02/2014 9:11 pm

    I am a bit worried about starting this one since so many people just love it, even my co-blogger really loved so I am hoping I do too. I am not the biggest fan of insta-love so that worries me some.

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  13. Lisa Schensted 10/02/2014 4:35 am

    I love to see less than glowing reviews for books everyone is all up in. Thank you for bringing some balance into the mix! And for lowering my expectations a titch.

  14. Judith 15/02/2014 6:26 pm


    I agree with you on a lot of things (the romance was ridic, though I did like Nyx and Ignifex. Shade was a creep tbh, and the world building was pretty good, esp mixed with mythology). I loved Nyx’s cruelty, because it makes her a unique character in the YA world. All in all, this was a damn confusing book that I liked but also felt lukewarm about. Idek.

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