Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Review Source: Edelweiss
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
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.
Cruel Beauty is a lush and dark book, featuring characters that are neither good nor bad. They’re deliciously human, actually, even with our 'Beast' being the Prince of Demons, and a Shade whose motivations you're never quite sure of. Our main character, Nyx, is also interesting. She's been raised as a sacrifice, feeling unloved and unappreciated. No one has truly known her and loved her, and she’s someone who is torn between her duty to save the world (no pressure, really) and her love and deepest desire (to be loved in return).
This is a twisty turny story with prophecies and history and myths. It’s a very descriptive book with a meandering pace, despite the urgent task Nyx has. I can't say it completely held my interest the whole time, but I can't say I disliked it either. The world building here is both incredibly complex and incredibly interesting, and I found myself wanting to delve into the castle to explore alongside Nyx.
I would definitely recommend Cruel Beauty for Beauty and the Beast fans, as well as general fans of fantasy and fairy tale re-tellings. This was a complex and interesting book: not something I fell in love with, but something that fascinated me nonetheless.
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository