Monday, December 30, 2013

Early Review ~ Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Series: standalone
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 352 (for hardcover)
Publication date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Goodreads Description: 
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. 
Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review. 

Cruel Beauty was a lot of things. A good book. A slice of frustration. A really cool read. A big ball of confusion. A creative retelling. Ultimately, though, it was a book that gave me the most mixed and most conflicted feelings I've ever had over a book. There were parts that made no sense and gave me the urge to rant. There were other parts that made me think I was reading something immensely cool and interesting. It was a book that was both amazing and so incredibly disappointing at the same time. I laughed. I ranted (mentally). I was thrilled. I felt a heavy cloud of disappointment hanging over me. I felt like a black sheep most of the time, despite the fact that I a) didn't hate the book nearly as much as a black sheep would, and b) apparently, I'm not the only person with mixed views of the book.

All of my reactions to the book may not . . . make sense, but don't worry, they do not make any sense to me either. That's why this book was one of the most confusing pieces of YA fiction that I've ever read.

There were three big things that stood out to me: two things that made the book amazing and one thing that made this book disappointing.

THE WORLD

My favorite part of this entire book was the world. It confused me half the time. I'm still not exactly sure about many of why's and how's of some pieces of the world and the things that occurred in it, but it was quite new, different, and overall, creative. It was really interesting, and I really liked the Greek mythology tie-ins and the twists the author made to them. If you're looking for a world different from the usual fantasy, you should definitely check this one out.

UNPREDICTABLE

This book was so unpredictable. I actually did see one of the biggest twists of the book a mile away (or, well, the moment Nyx met Ignifex), but as for the rest? Nada. I didn't expect the things that happened to take place, especially the ending. It's definitely . . . unique, and a little confusing as well. I really liked it, though. I like surprises, and I love clever endings.

Many of readers would enjoy the fact that this book isn't so predictable. A lot of readers complain of predictability, but that is something I don't see many people having a problem with when it comes to this book.

MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT

The romance. It killed the book for me.

I consider the kissing to be the root of all my issues with this book. I didn't understand why the characters did it and how it even happened. The kisses would just come out of no where—BAM—and I would just throw my hands up and say, "why are you kissing!?" Any lead up was lost on me. The connection, the chemistry, any smidgen of passion or love . . . it didn't sense it. It felt terribly dry, so every time something romantic happened, I didn't understand it. Instead I got really confused and, in one spot, it confused me so much that I had to put down the book and read a few other books to take a break. (It's a good thing I did that, by the way, or my rating may not be this high.) My heavy disappointment of this book stemmed from the lack of connection I felt in the characters' own connections with each other. I loved Ignifex and Nyx (not Shade, though—oh, how irritated he made me), but I just didn't see the feeling or the attraction that warranted the grand romance and "I-love-you's" of this book.

OVERALL

Do I recommend it? YES. Definitely. Why? It's interesting. It's unpredictable. It's unlike many books. It has an awesome heroine. It has a super amazing world that may confuse you at times, but will intrigue you at the same time. Cruel Beauty is worthy of at least an attempt at reading. Despite the fact that I hated the romance, and despite the fact that I was quite disappointed in the book, I still see it as a book many, many readers will enjoy. Don't let my personal issues with the romance deter you from giving this book a shot. You may love it! You just need to experience the book for yourself to figure out if it works for you or not.
My questions for you:

Have you ever read a Beauty and the Beast retelling?
What do you think of the cover of Cruel Beauty?
Have you ever read a book that confused you to the point where you didn't know if you loved or hated it?

18 comments:

  1. Okay...So I pretty much set a goal a long time ago to read all fairytale retelling novels that are in existence. Cruel Beauty is something I will not miss out on. Hopefully I can have better experience with it :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I really hope you have a better experience with it.

      Delete
  2. Haha I totally agree with you although the only thing I found confusing was the ending. For the romance, I loved it, but now that I read your thoughts on it, I agree with you. I think the reason why Nyx kisses Ignifex is because she's never had a guy (I'm assuming b/c in the book it doesn't say Nyx having relationship with anyone) look at her the way Ignifex does (sounds so cheesy) so maybe she fell in love with Ignifex too quickly and ya know, was dying to kiss him? LOL. Idk. But I really love Ignifex & Shade. What kind of bothered me also is when Nyx was trained to kill Ignifex and all she did was stab him with a fork. -____-. Like, dude, where's your bad ass skills that you've been trained to do since you were 9? Anyways, I still loved the book and I recommend it too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I would've loved to see some more action in the book. She was supposedly trained to kill him, but she didn't even do anything. I'm glad you loved the book, Leigh! Thanks for buddy reading it with me. :)

      Delete
  3. I was looking forward to read this book as I love the story of the Beauty and the Beast.And when I saw the line 'Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast',I knew I have to read it somehow.
    A lot of people are complaining about the romance.Normally the romance plays a huge part in my feelings for a book,so I had my doubts to go for this one.But maybe I should try it out.I am looking for a great unpredictable fantasy read,and this sounds like a perfect choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually don't get the Graceling reference . . . this book is not very similar to it. I still recommend trying it, though. I know a few people that liked the romance, so you may like it!

      Delete
  4. The Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favorites. The part about kissing really cracked me up, haha. I can imagine why it would be annoying though. Also, an unpredictable book is good, in my opinion - at least you don't get bored.

    Mada @ All Fantasy Worlds

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The kissing part also amused me. :D I usually do not explain the role it had in my views of the book.

      Delete
  5. Woah the cover certainly is eye-catching and really awesome. I hate those sort of books where you can't tell whether you loved it or hated it or it was just both. It sucks the romance ruined it though, I hate it when it overpowers the story too much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes me so sad. :( But I love the cover too! It's so pretty.

      Delete
  6. I'm not the only one! I feel like so many people were just raving about this book but I had the same views as you did: the romance wasn't all that great and I struggled a bit.

    Great review!

    Emma @ Spun With Words

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Do you know how good it feels that you had the same views as me? I'm glad I'm not alone. :) Thanks!

      Delete
  7. I'm currently reading this book and didn't know it was a standalone! i'm only on page 110 but i get what you mean about kissing being out of no where.. i really don't like things like that, but i like how different and weird this book is! it is my first beauty and the beast retelling. As for the cover.. it is OK.. nothing great or bad about it :)

    great review,
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, so I'm not the only one who feels that way about the kissing! That's a relief. :) I really like different and weird books. They're always so . . . well, different from everything else.

      Delete
  8. I am so excited for this one! Beauty and the Beast retelling? Count me in!
    I'm sorry you were disappointed with it. I've heard mixed things about this book, especially about the romance. But I can't wait to try it and see how I feel. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, try it! Like I said, you just need to experience it for yourself to figure out if it's for you or not.

      Delete
  9. I love fairy tale retellings and this one looks great!!! Never read a Beauty and Beast retelling before and I've read good reviews on GR for this book. I'm glad it's a standalone and how unpredictable the book is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is pretty nice that this is a standalone. It's fitting for the story.

      Delete

Hello potential commenter! Thank you for visiting my blog! Comments always brighten my day. :) I'll try to reply as soon as I can.