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Release date: January 28th, 2014
Blazer & Bray
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.
Beauty and the Beast retelling. One of my favorites fairy tales was a story about young girl who gets to be offered to Beast by her father in exchange for a rose. If you think about this story, it is one of the weirdest fairy tales - I remember Jean Cocteau movie adaptation.
Beautiful and dark. This is not a typical young adult fantasy or paranormal romance. There is nothing light or fluffy as that cartoon adaptation some of us watched as kids. Cruel Beauty is different kind of story. Nyx is not damsel in distress - she is a girl who was raised to save everybody from a monster - no matter the price or what she has to. We are used by now to expect love story in this kind of books. I am not sure that everyone will be happy with that part - let me explain. You know how books like Captive in the Dark or Comfort Food are quite popular lately? (Maybe you even read them.) In those books love - if it can be called love - comes from a very dark place, capture-bonding relationship is main motif and the bad guy is represented as anti-hero we end up loving no matter his wicked ways. I'd say that Rosamund Hodge wrote lighter version of that premise. Something more appropriate for younger readers or for those who like strange characters and plot twists, but still are uncomfortable with extremes of that genre.
I love my stories a little bit darker so I enjoyed reading Cruel Beauty. Characters are... perfect. Author manages to avoid cliches and melodramatic situations, but still gives you something special and magical.
Standalone novel. One of the most refreshing things is that this book is not a first in the series. If you find this trend of writing sequels after sequels annoying - even after author tells that there would be no more books - this is a right pick for you. Gilded Ashes is a novella that is set in the same fictional world as Cruel Beauty and it will be published in April next year - but it is not sequel or continuation of Nyx's story.
Who should read it? Fans of original fairy tale. All of you who like a little bit darker fantasy. Everyone who read and loved Falling Under and Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes.
***Note! Copy of this book was provided by publisher, Blazer & Bray, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.***