Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My Blog | Twitter
I adored this book. It was a really quick read, partly because it was quite short and partly because I devoured it with an unmatched ferocity. Part Greek mythology, part Beauty and the Beast, this book was the perfect blend of traditional tales and new stories.
Nyx is definitely up there on my list of favourite YA heroines. I like that she is aware of the cruelty and selfishness in her heart, and although she tries to apologise for it, she eventually accepts that is a part of who she is. I prefer realistic heroines even in unrealistic worlds, and I think that Nyx's willingness to do things that are less than moral to satisfy both her selfish desires and her sense of duty was just about as real as you can get. Nyx is cruel and twisted, and why wouldn't she be? She's basically a lamb raised for slaughter, with nobody to mourn her. Having said this, she was still witty and sincere enough for me to love her. Nyx was the perfect anti-heroine to Ignifex's perfect anti-hero.
Speaking of Ignifex - I loved him. He was one part evil, one part good and all parts hilarious. I liked that he never really apologised for his cruel actions - he was the bad guy, and not worth saving (in his own words). But as he and Nyx grew to love one another, they both softened their hard edges and showed each other true kindness in their own way. Learning the truth behind Ignifex's character is bittersweet to say the least.
Perhaps my favourite part of this novel was that it wasn't obvious. I find myself guessing the endings of a lot of novels quite easily, and Cruel Beauty's story line and ending was so far from what I expected. If I could say anything about this novel, it would be that it is entirely and utterly unique - which is hard to do when you are writing a retelling. Hodge made me love her characters, her world and her story - I was enthralled from start to finish, and I'm not sure that I'll ever read a book quite like this one ever again.
Overall, I think Cruel Beauty used the best of traditional stories while adding its own unique twist, with its best quality being its three-dimensional characters, who you both love and hate. I would recommend this book to anyone who longs for something a little different after reading a tide of YA novels that are one in the same. The only thing that upsets me is that there won't be a sequel!
View all my reviews