"You are the hope of our people."
So, I may not be the best indicator as to how well this particular new series by Rosamund Hodge will turn out. I mean, while I loved the unique world building, writing style, and the fact that it contains a whole lot of Greek Mythology mixed with Demonology, Romance, and a main protagonist who is more than a bit bitter, angry, cruel hearted, hateful, stubborn, and perhaps a bit too eager to find a way to please her father, I'm wondering how the rest of the series is going to progress after THAT ending. Will we continue to see Nyx, or will we read about new characters? Will the next book be about Astraea,or someone else?
"Duty is bitter to taste but sweet to drink."
Let's get to the point. Seventeen year old Nyx Triskelion lives in a time where the Gentle Lord has had Arcadia under his thumb for the past Nine Hundred years. He is the Lord of Bargains, and therefore, nearly everyone suffers because of it. Thanks to a bargain that Nyk's father made with the Gentle Lord, Nyx lost her mother during childbirth and now her father is expected to give up one daughter to HIM when she turns Seventeen to be married.
Since she was Nine years old, Nyx has known that the only reason she exists is so that she can take revenge on the Gentle Lord by killing him and releasing his hold over Arcadia. Nyx has been trained to do NOTHING more than that. Forget about the fact that her father prefers her sister Astraia over Nyx because SHE looks like her mother. Forget about Nyx ever finding real romance, love, marrying, and having a future of her own. Forget that your father is bedding your aunt who is his long dead wife's sister in her absence. Nyx's only goal is to turn Seventeen, marry the Lord, and then take her revenge for her mother's death. In other words, she is EXPECTED TO DIE, and nothing more.
Supposedly, Cruel Beauty is based on Beauty and the Beast but I'm not sure what the correlation is and I haven't read Graceling so perhaps someone a bit more tuned into fairy tales and that book can be a better judge of this story than I am. I think perhaps the choice of words is the key factor here. It is BASED LOOSELY on Beauty and the Beast, but has absolutely NOTHING to do with the original story.
I will say that this story is predictable in many ways. The obvious villain of the story is Ignifex who along with his "Shadow" are immortal and have had their fingers in every pie while making obscenely awful bargains. When Nyx arrives at Ignifex's home full of spit and fire, she IMMEDIATELY falls for the Shadow and KISSES HIM! Talk about an immediate WTF moment for me.
I believe that readers, if they pay attention, will immediately get the relationship between Nyx's two love interests and come to the same conclusion that I did, and that you are eventually led to. I would find it hard to imagine that anyone would NOT get it after it is laid out for you like a map to the biggest pot of gold you have ever seen in your entire life.
In the end, you will have to take your time and be willing to read through the slow parts to get to the meat and potatoes of the story and mystery since the story is well written and perhaps a bit descriptive at times. You will have to travel through a land of a twisted romance that will leave you wondering if Nyx has any common sense whatsoever or was her choices and decisions based on the fact that her entire life has been geared towards her NOT surviving or finding happiness and when she finally does stand up for herself, the outcome is the only thing that matters.
08/27/2013 - Recvd via Edelweiss - Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Balzer & Bray
Author - Rosamund Hodge
Title - Cruel Beauty
Published by Balzer & Bray
Releases January 28, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Recvd via Edelweiss/Publisher