Monday, August 11, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge

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Publication date: 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 342
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 14+

Nyx was raised to do two things: to marry the Gentle Lord and to kill him. For 900 years her country has been ruled over by the demon they call the Gentle Lord and, as her father had bargained her away, Nyx is chosen to be the woman to defeat him and free Arcadia. The only thing no one counted on was that she might fall in love with her husband.

I passed over this book many times before I actually decided to get it from the library. I was wary about another Beauty and the Beast retelling, especially after the last one I read. But after having seen it recommended several places, I finally bit the bullet and got it.

This is not your typical retelling of a familiar fairytale. Taking place in a parallel world where the Grecko-Roman empire was destroyed, save for the island of Arcadia, Hodge intertwines Greek mythology with fairytale, creating something I wouldn't have expected. This isn't a story about a beautiful girl taming a wild beast, but a story of revenge, complicated love, and bargains that harm more than they help.

Since I had such low expectations going into the book, I finished it surprised. It's a debut novel, and I expect that Hodge's writing will just continue to get better. Nyx's jealous and dark hearted nature was a little wearing at times (I find it hard to believe that twins could be so blind to each other's true nature for seventeen years), but the characters grow in change throughout the novel which is always good. A good book for anyone who wants a new kind of fairytale, but it's not exactly the first title that will come to my mind when someone asks me for a recommendation.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

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