Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart.
I don’t remember exactly where I heard about Cruel Beauty, but I’ve wanted to read it for a long time and finally got around to it.
I love retellings, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. This book combined both the beloved fairytale and Greek mythology, which I’ve loved since I was eight years old.
This book was really, really good, but I had a couple of issues with it. I’ll get the negative out of the way and then talk about what I loved.
The world-building is a little difficult to follow- the world is really complex, and combined with the large amount of mythology, it’s a little bit too complicated. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, it’s not too bad, but if you’re not I can see it getting really confusing at times.
My other issue was the ending. I liked the way it ended; I thought it was sweet, but it all felt very rushed and fast-paced compared to the rest of the book. The book isn’t fast-paced at all (but in the best way) until you get to the ending. It was a little annoying but didn’t ruin the overall book for me.
Onto the things I loved!
Nyx is honestly amazing. She’s not a sweet little thing at all, and I kinda love that. It was a breath of fresh air. She was really well developed and Rosamund did a great job of telling us about how she became so bitter and angry at the world. And the way she changes over the course of the novel is really well done. She grows in a lot of ways and we get to see that clearly.
Ignifex is quite charming, in a bit of an odd way, I guess? I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I loved him. He was quite hilarious at times and also just a generally interesting person to read about.
Shade was one I didn’t like, but I don’t think I’m supposed to, if you know what I mean.
And I completely LOVED the relationship between Nyx and Ignifex. Their romance is amazing and there’s a little bit of banter. Banter is one of my favorite things ever. (Side note, if you like a lot of banter, you absolutely need to read A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. Just do yourself a favor and read it.) The romance is one of the main parts of Cruel Beauty. It works well and is such a fun relationship to read.
I like the plot. It’s Beauty and the Beast, of course, but I also feel like it was a bit of a Cupid and Psyche retelling as well, especially with Astraia (Nyx’s sister) and all the mythology references. A part of me does feel like the plot could have worked better as a novella or novelette, but regardless, it was a good one.
As a whole, I rated this book 4 stars, because while I very much enjoyed most of it, I had a couple issues.
I would definitely recommend this to people who love retellings, mythology, and antiheroes.
Have you read Cruel Beauty? What did you think?
P.S. Lady Gwen is in formatting at the moment and I’m proofing an ebook this week. We’re getting close to releasing it!