Blurb from Goodreads
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
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.
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
language edition: English
series: Cruel Beauty Universe
genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
So this book has a very pretty cover, one of the most beautiful cover in YA books I’ve ever read. Seriously, I feel like I can’t stop staring at it. It also has intriguing title and blurb that scream to me to read it. Add it with Beauty and the Beast retelling and from what I read on other reviews, it also has Greek mythology. I so love Greek mythology but most of YA books with Greek mythology didn’t work well for me or only has a little bit of it. With all of those good things, it seems too good to be true for me. That’s why at first I was kind of hesitated to read this book.First couple of chapters were quite surprising me, in a not-so-good way. I was confused with many things in this book. The worldbuilding and setting, it was hard for me to imagine it. It was quite complicated world I have to read carefully to understand and then picture it in my mind. Add it with the words choice that the author used. I found that there were unfamiliar vocabularies (at least for me) here and since English is not my first language, in a way I have limited vocabulary, I have to keep looking at the dictionary to know what it means. I also didn’t know and never heard of Hermetic which is one of the important thing in this book. So I have to rely on Google to know what it is. Long short story, I was confused!
On the other hand, the characters captivated me since they were introduced. I felt sorry for Nyx, the main character in this book, mad to her father, her aunt and her twin sister Astraia, and couldn’t believe how come her father has a heart to sacrifice her to the demon lord to pay his bargain. And I was so curious of the demon lord himself, Ignifex.The more I read, more curious I become. Hence, it was easier for me to read it once I got the main picture. And then my confusion turned into curiosity that kept me reading it. Since it’s a retelling I can guess where the story will go. But I also keep wondering and questioning whether my guesses were right and all the while the what, why and how keep swirling in my head. And I just love that feeling when I keep questioning and wondering the story I read. In some part it made me forget that it is a retelling. I felt this is a refreshing story, an unoriginal yet feel original story, if you know what I mean. And there is also one thing that I love from this book, Greek mythology as subplot.
So here I got Beauty and the Beast retelling blended perfectly with Greek mythology, though I have to say it also has so much more. In first part of the story, it was quite slow since Nyx needs to describe her world and its complexity but it’s written beautifully I can’t help to not love it. I’m glad I give this book a try because in the end I love love love it. After 23 books, I finally found my first five-stars worthy reading for this year!
“Love—the kind that was holy to Aphrodite—was not something I had ever allowed myself to think about much. If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?”
“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”
“They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense.
But now I knew that every mad word was true.”
“Knowing the truth is not always a kindness.”
Result: 5 out of 5 stars