June 30, 2014
— Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge
2 out of 5 stars ✰✰
Cruel Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Seventeen year old Nyx is betrothed to a wicked prince of her realm due to a careless bargain made by her father before her birth. She has been trained by her father her entire life to marry and assassinate the Gentle Prince. However, after getting to know him she falls in love with him. Will she betray her husband and love of her life? Or will she break her promise to her father?
This story sound pretty epic, right? Wrong. This story has mountains of potential to be breathtaking and inspiring, yet it left me bored and confused.
So, take the story of Beauty and the beast, then add some demons, hermetic magic (whatever that is), a mansion from a Lewis Carol novel (except exponentially darker), shake it all up and the outcome is this novel.
So basically, Nyx is cold and self-centered and is betrothed to the evil demon prince of her realm (of whom is also, egocentric). Why is she betrothed to such a villain? Because her father is unbelievably selfish as well. Seeing a theme? So Nyx marries Ignifex (the evil demon prince) and she falls in love with him. Does he have any underlying redeeming qualities? No, he is evil to the very core of his being and yes she falls in love with him. Then she is also in love with this other guy in the castle. Well, she was for a while, then she wasn’t. Then there is this incredibly crazy mansion with hundreds of doors and just as many mysteries behind them. Finally, there is something about hermetic magic, which I am still not entirely sure what that is because the book never fully explains it. All I know is it has something to do with the four elements: water, earth, air, and fire.
I wanted to like this book, I really did, but I just couldn’t. The characters were all overbearing and selfish, even the protagonist. I didn’t feel connected to the story line at all. Furthermore, all the house weirdness, and hermetic magic just made the novel confusing and difficult to follow. The romance was lacking any kind of real chemistry. I didn’t feel like they loved each other even in the end. One of the things that bothered me most was the prince. In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast was rough around the edges, but he was loving and kind underneath. In this tale, the prince is evil, end of story. He doesn’t apologize for it, nor does he try to be anything better.
I gave this book two stars for potential and creativity.